ALDO Uses AWS AppSync to Improve Shopping Experience of Footwear Customers
More than 50,000 footwear shoppers walk into ALDO stores across North America and the UK every day. When they ask to try on a specific shoe model or size, a store associate uses a mobile app to quickly send a request to a backroom employee. That employee receives the request on a mobile phone, views an updated stock list, and retrieves the specific shoe before bringing it to the customer—usually in under a minute. If the shoe is not in stock, the application recommends alternatives for the customer.
However, the mobile app’s API and database layers used different technologies, and system outages sometimes resulted in application downtime and frustrated customers. “We had customers requesting shoes and then the app would freeze because one of the APIs wasn’t responding,” says Kapies Vallipuram, director of software development at ALDO Group. “That meant the customer would wait too long for shoes to come out, and in some cases the customer would just leave. Because we had multiple APIs, we didn’t know which one was failing, so it took a while to fix the app in that store. We had to solve this problem because it was leading to lost sales opportunities.”
Time is so valuable for consumers today. If they choose to give their time to us, we need to make sure we deliver the best possible experience. We can do that using AWS."
Director of Software Development, ALDO Group
Using AWS AppSync to Streamline Development
ALDO migrated from its previous mobile development platform to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to address its challenges. “AWS is the cloud leader. For us to have an advantage in the retail space, we felt we needed to choose the company that had the biggest advantage in the cloud technology space,” says Vallipuram.
The ALDO development team uses AWS AppSync, a service that simplifies application development by enabling the creation of a flexible API in order to securely access and combine data from multiple sources. AWS AppSync relies on GraphQL, an API query language, to make it easy for applications to get the data they require. “We needed real-time capabilities for our mobile in-store app, and AWS AppSync enabled that,” says Vallipuram. AWS AppSync also works seamlessly with AWS CloudFormation, which ALDO developers use to automatically deploy new features via templates.
Using AWS AppSync, ALDO quickly created a GraphQL API layer and standardized a data schema for use across the in-store mobile app and other newly developed applications.
Giving Shoe Shoppers a Better In-Store Experience
Running on AWS, the ALDO mobile app now has stronger performance, with no outages and a real-time workflow that allows customers and associates to instantly communicate try-on requests. “There’s no question our mobile app is more reliable because of AWS AppSync, and that is critical for our business,” says Vallipuram.
Now, ALDO customers no longer need to wait for inventory to be checked and shoes to be retrieved from the stock room. “Time is so valuable for consumers today. If they choose to give their time to us, we need to make sure we deliver the best possible experience. We can do that using AWS,” Vallipuram says.
Delivering New Applications in Less Than Half the Time
The GraphQL API layer gives ALDO developers a more seamless development experience. “GraphQL integrates everything into a single access point, so we don’t have to integrate services that push data from the backend to the client,” says Vallipuram. “As a result, we can focus more on implementing features instead of managing the system and monitoring things. AWS AppSync gives us more velocity, which is what we need to deliver high-quality code and new features.”
By taking advantage of the capabilities of AppSync, ALDO developers can build applications faster than before. “Our time-to-market has definitely accelerated using AWS AppSync. We can create new applications in less than three months instead of the 6–12 months it would have taken previously using multiple APIs,” says Vallipuram. For example, developers built and deployed a mobile app enhancement that enables inventory requests to other stores, as well as a new application that manages inventory control from different warehouses across the ALDO supply chain. ALDO developers also recently launched a mobile app for store associates that makes it more efficient for online shoppers to pick up their orders at their local ALDO store. “We would not have been able to build these new applications as quickly as we did without AWS AppSync,” says Vallipuram. “Our entire process is much more streamlined now.”
ALDO is now moving additional workloads to the AWS Cloud because of the success it has had with AWS AppSync. “We are currently migrating our client-facing website, an ecommerce system, and a database to AWS,” says Vallipuram. “AWS gives us the reliability and scalability we need to move the business forward.”
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/appsync.
About ALDO Group
The ALDO Group is a Canadian retailer that owns and operates a global chain of footwear and accessory stores. The company currently has 3,000 stores in more than 100 countries.
Benefits of AWS
- Eliminates application outages to create a better in-store experience for shoppers
- Develops and deploys new applications in 3 months instead of 6–12 months
- Integrates real-time data capabilities into mobile applications
AWS Services Used
AWS AppSync simplifies application development by letting you create a flexible API to securely access, manipulate, and combine data from one or more data sources. AppSync is a managed service that uses GraphQL to make it easy for applications to get exactly the data they need.
AWS CloudFormation provides a common language for you to model and provision AWS and third party application resources in your cloud environment. AWS CloudFormation allows you to use programming languages or a simple text file to model and provision, in an automated and secure manner, all the resources needed for your applications across all regions and accounts. This gives you a single source of truth for your AWS and third party resources.
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