How to Build a Microservices Architecture for Retail with Infosys Equinox
Ecommerce is Becoming Ever More Important
According to this Forbes article from April 2021, global ecommerce sales were expected to reach $4.2 trillion, and “surveys of consumers in the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States showed online shopping is becoming the preferred method of grocery shopping for a growing number of consumers.” While that point just refers to grocery shopping, it’s safe to assume that consumers have shifted to preferring ecommerce for all kinds of other products as well.
This dramatic shift in consumer behaviors – primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic – has forced many retailers to focus heavily on digital commerce. However, many retailers simply have a monolithic ecommerce website in place. Moreover, there are many digital touchpoints with which consumers can engage with retailers today, in addition to shopper expectations for a consistent omnichannel user experience across voice, stores, web, social media, and other channels. Therefore, a monolithic website doesn’t let retailers quickly expand their ecommerce business.
With this in mind, we’ll discuss the key factors for creating a modern ecommerce platform that utilizes flexible microservices and how AWS Retail Competency Partner Infosys Equinox can support retailers as they transition from a monolithic website to a microservices architecture.
The Importance of a Microservices Architecture
We mentioned microservices above. In case you’re not familiar with the technology, it’s a cloud-native architecture that uses self-contained, discrete business functionality that can be invoked over a network using widely available protocols. The different functionality components can be reused across channels because they are separated from the user interface (UI). Separating the ecommerce functionality from the UI is often referred to as headless commerce, and it’s one type of microservices architecture. A microservices architecture is the basis of a flexible, scalable ecommerce platform. For more information on headless commerce architectures and microservices, read How to Deliver Headless Commerce in Retail and Transforming Retail in the Cloud: A CIO’s Handbook.
While a flexible microservices architecture is the ideal end state for an ecommerce platform, many retailers have an existing monolithic ecommerce website. A wholesale, big bang re-platform can be costly, time consuming, and risky to your overall business. To ease the transition, you can take a more measured approach by consuming microservices in a phased manner. Creating and following a strategic roadmap will let you retire existing legacy services over time, and replace them with cloud-native microservices. An integration layer that supports APIs, flat files, batch feeds, and event notifications lets you connect existing internal and third-party on-premises systems as the migration progresses. Overall, this measured approach is more manageable and less risky to your business.
Key Considerations for a Modern Ecommerce Platform
Now that we’ve given you a quick primer on the importance of a modern cloud ecommerce architecture, let’s investigate selecting an ecommerce platform. As a baseline, retailers need a future-proof architecture, such as a cloud-native, microservices-based headless commerce platform that we described above, which can support emerging and evolving technologies, as well as provide agility, flexibility, reliability, and scalability. Considering those capabilities, here are other key points for you to consider as you select an ecommerce platform:
- Rich out-of-the-box capabilities
- Flexibility to quickly deploy new features and functionality
- Seamless integration with existing internal and third-party applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain, inventory management, payment systems, and the like, to provide a unified shopping experience
- On-demand scalability to expand and contract as customer demand ebbs and flows
Equinox Ecommerce Platform from Infosys
Infosys is a global leader in next-generation digital services and serves multiple industries, including retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG), manufacturing, and telco. The Infosys Equinox ecommerce solution is a headless, AWS cloud-native, microservices-based solution that lets retailers rapidly build, deploy, and manage omnichannel capabilities.
The headless architecture of the platform means that it works seamlessly with multiple digital touchpoints to provide an integrated omnichannel experience across stores, social media platforms, IoT devices, and customer care. In addition, it integrates well with emerging capabilities, such as voice and conversational commerce and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).
The following image depicts an AWS deployment architecture for the Infosys Equinox solution.
The Infosys Equinox solution on AWS offers the following ecommerce microservices capabilities:
- Cart and checkout—for seamless purchasing.
- Digital catalogues—to create and manage rich, transaction-ready, multiple hierarchical catalogues.
- Promotions—to create and deliver targeted offers and pricing incentives.
- Merchandising—to manage product presentations on your storefront with drag-and-drop tools.
- Pricing—to create and manage multiple price lists.
- Inventory—to support multiple fulfillment sources, manage inventory in different distribution centers, as well as integrate real-time inventory and fulfill capabilities from physical stores.
- Customers—to create and manage business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) customer information.
- Notifications—to send SMS text messages and emails.
- Payment gateway—to support multiple payment providers and currencies.
- Recommendations—to personalize product suggestions based on shopper preferences and create top seller categories.
- Lists—so shoppers can create and manage wish lists, favorites, and save-for-later lists.
- Tax interface—to integrate with leading online tax providers.
Implement-anywhere Flexibility with Infosys Equinox on AWS
Equinox can be part of multiple implementation types, such as B2B, B2C, B2B2C, online marketplaces, digital malls, branded websites, catalogue syndications, contactless stores, and endless aisles.
The solution offers various features for B2B use cases, including contract-based pricing and catalogues, shared carts, subscriptions and recurring orders, cross sell and upsell functionality, spending limits, approval workflows, role-based access controls, invoicing, account management with reporting and analytics, CPQ integrations, credit payment, one-click reorders, multiple bill-to and ship-to scenarios, as well as predefined shopping lists.
In the B2C space, use cases include multi-level catalogues, omnichannel shopping carts, pricing, recurring orders and subscriptions, cross sell and upsell capabilities, BOPIS, ROPIS, loyalty engine, multiple payment options, one-click reorders, split shipments, as well as a wide range of shopping lists.
AWS Cloud-native Equinox Architecture
Equinox has been running on AWS since day one, and it has leveraged many core AWS services to provide an agile, flexible, and scalable architecture. The following list outlines some of the AWS services used in the current generation of the Infosys Equinox solution:
- Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) clusters—for running scalable microservices.
- Amazon Aurora—a data store to leverage the benefits of serverless architectures and multiple replications.
- Mongo DB—so the open-source NoSQL database can run on EC2 clusters.
- Redis—the database cache layer.
- RabbitMQ—the messaging layer running on auto-scaling EC2 clusters.
- Apache Solr—the open-source search tool running on auto-scaling EC2 clusters.
- Apache Zookeeper—for configuration management on EC2 clusters.
- Amazon API Gateway, AWS Shield, and AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF)—for end-point security.
- Amazon CloudFront—for a global content delivery network.
- AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM)—for granular access controls.
- AWS Secrets Manager—to store encryption keys.
- Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail—for the management and governance layer, as well as for monitoring and auditing.
- Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR)—to store container images.
Get Started on Your Ecommerce Modernization Journey Today
Infosys Equinox is a feature-rich, out-of-the-box ecommerce platform that’s built for retailers who want to enhance and grow their ecommerce business. Moreover, with AWS Professional Services, seasoned retail technology professionals can help your company develop and implement a transition plan to migrate from a legacy monolithic ecommerce website to a modern, flexible microservices digital commerce presence – all with minimal risk to your business.
If your company is exploring cloud-native ecommerce solution, and you want to know more about Infosys Equinox on AWS, then you can reach out to Vijay or Jignesh by leaving a comment on this post. To request a demo, click here. If you’re ready to get started on a project, then contact your AWS account team today.