Why Jimmy Brings tapped a Dutch tech company and composable commerce to transform digital experiences

Australian liquor delivery provider has overhauled its commerce platform to drive better flexibility, scale and experiences for customers. We find out more

Being able to scale and flex digital, marketing, commerce and services capability responsively and with minimal development work has become a reality for alcohol delivery services player, Jimmy Brings, after adopting a composable commerce approach.

The Australian business partnered with Dutch-based Deity as part of a full-scale overhaul of its digital management and commerce systems, pushing a whole new composable commerce architecture and multi-vendor platform stack live in October.

Jimmy Brings head of engineering, Adam Watt, likened the startup’s former software approach to the wild west, relying on development teams in India and cobbled together capabilities that were restrictive, onerous and limiting business growth.

“We couldn’t scale, making changes extremely hard to do. There was a lot of manual testing work, and that was limiting the way we grew as a business in terms of adding new functionality and supporting customers with new experiences,” Watt told CMO.

Knowing it was high time for a rethink, Watt and Jimmy Brings’ head of product, Elliot Krass, sat down and asked: What are we doing wrong?

“We asked ourselves why are we trying to build a shopping cart or referral platforms, or discounts into the system? If we just bought these things individually, such as adding to the shopping journey, through SaaS products, that would allow us to get to market quicker and avoid us having to have all of that infrastructure,” he said. “We started formulating a plan to look at SaaS products and how we joined them together.”

Composable approach

That’s how Deity and its composable commerce architecture came into the picture. Initially, Jimmy Brings partnered with Deity 18 months ago for its composable commerce architecture. Over the last 10 months, it’s leant heavily into Deity’s burgeoning professional services to help deliver the ambitious project over time.

And it has been one ambitious project. “We talked for a long time about integrating our current platform via Deity into these SaaS products. It became clear doing that would take more time and effort. So we decided to rebuild the whole stack, then migrate our data set over and go live,” Watt said.

With Deity as the core composer, Jimmy Brings has built an agile, enterprise, future-ready platform across the entire ecommerce journey. It allows the business to integrate new technologies in as they’re needed while ensuring integrated data orchestration and a more engaging shopping experience. Jimmy Brings also migrated from multiple Web and app channels to one unified, easy to maintain progressive Web application (PWA).   

Today, the best-of-breed stack integrated connected through Deity’s composer includes promotions engine, Talon.One; commerce platform, BigCommerce; content management tool, Contentful; search optimisation platform, Algolia; and Stripe and WPay for payments; plus Gladly and Twilio on the customer service and communications front.

The complete overhaul meant running three ecommerce stacks while developing the new all-connected suite. “Each new feature we had to add to market during this time, such as meeting government regulations or changes to company policy, had to be added into new systems as well,” Watt explained.  

But Jimmy Brings celebrated as each platform milestone was reached and it ticked each box. Watt nominated the moment when card payments were achieved with integrations into different products such as BigCommerce, Stripe, Talon.One, as one such milestone. In-house configurations were also part of the mix, and the team had to configure Deity to talk to a number of microservices powering stock on-hand availability, order drop-off and processing.

“As a concept, there are a lot of moving parts and how to make them all play nicely is a big challenge,” Watt admitted. “There were times when we went back to the drawing board and rethought elements of what we were doing. But it turned out well.”

Integration was a notably hefty challenge. “Each platform has certain ‘rules of the game’. You have to tweak things. That’s where the power of Deity came into it,” Watt said. “You can tweak in that middleware layer to make the joins between Talon.One, BigCommerce or anything without a built-in integrations sync.”  

Making the leap

The new-look stack officially went live on 5 October. “We couldn’t leave 20 per cent on the old app or just convert Web traffic, 100 per cent had to go,” Watt said. “It required a lot of change management with customers and internal staff. But it went fairly smoothly.”

And Jimmy Brings is already seeing shifts in the way customers interact with the site. “For example, we have a driver tip option. When we changed the UX, we saw an increase of 140 per cent come through to drivers from that simple tweak,” he said.

“So reception has been good. But I don’t think our customers know what is going on in the background. When you select products from us, you’re talking to BigCommerce, Algolia, our internal microservices and Contentful – there are five calls happening in the background and the customer sees one. So it’s pretty seamless and we’re really happy with the speed and responsiveness.”

One strategic ROI and driver for the project was to build a platform for scale. “Everything is now scalable as traffic grows, which is fantastic to see,” Watt said.

“On our first Friday and Saturday nights, peak times for us, we met demand with ease. It’s also about flexibility. Jimmy Brings has a great vision of things we want to do in the near future. This gives us a platform to do interesting things to the site without having to redesign a lot of the work we would have done in the past.

“For example, better promotions based on wine selections, different purchases and loyalty, or in-cart suggestions for next items, or better search results based off what people are eating for dinner. Now they’re all no-code solutions. Having providers fit into the platform that are flexible means we can build and tweak without having to go through a full code test or wait 1-2 weeks for something simple to be put into market. We just test in dev environments, make the changes to the SaaS product in production and we’re good to go.”   

As the leader of an engineering team, Watt said this also puts the company at the forefront of where people want to work. “Now we have this cool stack with best-in-breed tech that reacts as a front end,” he said.

Across customer service team and with dispatches, the team has refreshed tools, providing auto searching and non-reloading pages allowing staff to interact with lots of the SaaS products to do their job.

“We have built an intermediary customer service hub. But longer term, we want to utilise Gladly as a support desk with interactions into our other provides as well,” Watt said. “So when a customer calls in, the agent immediately has all this information in front of them and can provide more asynchronous style help.”  

Digital marketing benefits

Additionally, the stack overhaul has begun transforming digital marketing. One thing Jimmy Brings can now do is now offer customers buying any three white wines, or wines from a particular supplier, a percentage off their purchase.

“We talked about building this in the old stack, but it was a nightmare to do that. Tie that in to being able to go out with EDMs via Mo Engage is a big advantage,” Watt said. “We can segment customers, create vouchers in Talon.One, that will then tell MoEngage [our email marketing platform] people are now available for this offer. We can then send an offer and track conversions, engagement and so on. We have upped the entire stack to the point where we should see what works a lot better across our customer base.”  

A next focus is A/B testing with search results partner, Algolia. The platform is used to house all menus for every suburb Jimmy Brings services.

“What we can start to do and plan to test in early 2023, once we have enough data in the system to get good outputs, is whether people are shopping differently in different suburbs,” Watt said. This could lead to adjusting merchandising and product promotions that provide both personalisation while driving better gross profits.

Having also been the first time Jimmy Brings has forced customer logout in two-and-a-half years, Watt was delighted to confirm consumers had converted seamlessly over next couple of days following the platform’s live launch.

“About 400000 customers have migrated across to this platform, which was a major milestone,” he added.  

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