Customer Stories / B2B Marketplace / Dubai
Tradeling Builds Scalable, Secure B2B Marketplace Using AWS
Tradeling is the dominant e-marketplace focused on business-to-business (B2B) transactions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Tradeling is the dominant e-marketplace focused on business-to-business (B2B) transactions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It connects international companies that want to buy and supply goods to other businesses in the region. Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Tradeling’s mission is to digitally transform the B2B marketplace and provide businesses with the same high-quality experience that people have come to expect in the business-to-consumer (B2C) world.
Tradeling’s platform is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This means the company can focus on developing its services and spend minimal time managing infrastructure. In addition to logistical challenges around imports, certification, and customs clearance, business customers typically look for a broader range of payment terms and credit than consumers. Freed from server maintenance and using services such as Amazon API Gateway, Tradeling can meet these challenges and create a compelling user experience.
Opportunity | Driving Excellence in B2B Sales
Tradeling aims to deliver an excellent customer experience in its online B2B marketplace. The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is digital entrepreneur Marius Ciavola.
Creating a compelling online marketplace for businesses can be more challenging than it is for consumers. This is because bulk commercial imports and transactions need to undergo multiple official procedures such as certification, registration, customs clearance, and import services. With more than 15 years of ecommerce experience, Ciavola recognized that building a B2B marketplace offered great opportunities, despite the difficulties. “The B2B buying experience has been lagging behind B2C—and yet B2B orders are bulk purchases and can potentially deliver much higher returns,” he says.
Tradeling’s platform is built on AWS to reduce the time its staff spent managing infrastructure and increase innovation through cloud services to deliver the best possible customer experience. Ciavola says the diverse range of services on AWS allows Tradeling to differentiate its platform. “Every AWS service is an innovation opportunity,” he says. “An opportunity for us to save money and time, improve security, and add features—and for our customers to get a better experience.”
Within 3 years of launching its marketplace on AWS, Tradeling has over 200,000 registered business customers. Its infrastructure is secure, compliant, and can scale to meet demand, handling about 3 million requests a day and serving 2 million page views a month. In line with Ciavola’s vision, the company is continuously creating new features for its customers and expanding its list of partners and products.
Every AWS service is an innovation opportunity. An opportunity for us to save money and time, improve security, and add new features—and for our customers to get a better experience.”
Chief Executive Officer, Tradeling
Solution | Customer Experience Built on Scalable, Secure, and Compliant Infrastructure
As a foundation for a compelling user experience, the Tradeling platform needed to be secure, always available, and able to scale to meet demand. To achieve this, the company chose to build its infrastructure on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload.
Tradeling uses multiple AWS Availability Zones (AZs) to minimize downtime. Each AZ has independent power, cooling, and physical security—and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. “Tradeling has to be available 24/7 and that is only possible due to the high reliability of our infrastructure using AWS, and features like multiple AZs and failover mechanisms,” says Ahmed Moawad, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Tradeling.
As Tradeling processes a large number of payments, it needs to be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant. AWS is certified under numerous certification programs and is certified as a PCI DSS Level 1 service provider, the highest level of assessment. This means Tradeling can rely on AWS’s PCI DSS compliance certification.
The company must also comply with the UAE’s developing data protection regulations. Similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the country will require customer data to be stored in specific geographic regions. Tradeling can comply by using the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region data center to store its customers’ data locally. “The regional data center was crucial for us to comply with the UAE’s GDPR equivalent,” says Ciavola. Tradeling uses AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS), which lets customers create and control keys used to encrypt or digitally sign data. It also uses AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM), which securely manages identities and access to AWS resources. “It’s simple to fulfill our compliance requirements using services such as AWS KMS and AWS IAM,” says Moawad.
For security, Tradeling uses Amazon GuardDuty to provide intelligent threat detection. “Using Amazon GuardDuty, we can continuously monitor our infrastructure and workloads for malicious activity,” says Moawad. “We also follow AWS cloud security best practices.”
In addition to a scalable, secure, and compliant infrastructure, Tradeling needs a flexible payment and credit or finance system. Business customers in the UAE have traditionally paid for products using cash-on-delivery or a credit card, but Ciavola wanted Tradeling to offer its own credit. The company integrated its PCI-compliant infrastructure with several credit and insurance organizations to directly offer credit to new customers. “We have already extended millions of dollars to hundreds of customers that have never previously had access to this kind of finance,” Ciavola says.
The company also uses AWS to improve the user experience. Finding products is a challenge in a marketplace as large as Tradeling, which has about 1.3 million items in its catalog. To reduce latency and provide the fastest possible searching experience, the company uses Amazon OpenSearch Service, a real-time search, data monitoring, and data analysis solution, and Amazon ElastiCache, a scalable in-memory caching service.
Ciavola says these two services combine to provide Tradeling’s customers with real-time access to the full product catalog. This means they can find and purchase what they need quickly, regardless of location or how many other customers are using the platform.
One of the biggest differences between B2C and B2B commerce is that instead of simply wanting to buy a product, B2B customers are looking to create relationships with reliable sellers that can supply products. This challenge has been turned into an opportunity by Tradeling. The company publishes APIs to open its marketplace to a broad audience. This allows it to build trusted relationships with new suppliers, and then connect them with its customers. To manage these connections, Tradeling uses Amazon API Gateway, which helps create, maintain, and secure APIs at any scale. “With Amazon API Gateway, we can handle millions of requests a day, while also reducing the actual load on the infrastructure,” says Moawad.
Given its focus on driving innovation and wanting to create a marketplace for the future, Tradeling embarked on the Supercharge Tomorrow program led by AWS and AWS partner Futureworld. This gave Ciavola and his management team access to thought leaders and digital innovation experts, who spent time helping to envision and design the company’s future business. “We’ve been so obsessed with building teams and putting the right processes and platforms in place that we didn’t have time to consider that the world is changing and there are forces shaping a different future,” says Ciavola. “That’s why we joined Supercharge Tomorrow. To pause and think about what the Tradeling of tomorrow will look like.”
Outcome | A Thriving B2B Marketplace with Room to Grow and Innovate
Within 3 years, Tradeling has emerged as a leading B2B online marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa. It now has 200,000 registered business customers and has used its flexible, secure, and scalable infrastructure to build close ties with suppliers all over the world. This is something its CEO attributes to using AWS.
Ciavola says AWS was always Tradeling’s first choice of cloud provider. “Using AWS we don’t have to worry about infrastructure, reliability, limitations, and upgrades,” he says. “AWS watches our back while we focus on our customers and applications. We’re privileged to benefit from its obsession with customer service.”
Tradeling is a leading online marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa focused on business-to-business (B2B) transactions.
AWS Services Used
Secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload.
AWS Key Management
Create and control keys used to encrypt or digitally sign your data.
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AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Securely manage identities and access to AWS services and resources.
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Protect your AWS accounts with intelligent threat detection.
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