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Building a Successful Ecommerce Startup With a Real Estate Innovator

Building A Successful E-Commerce Start Up With A Real Estate Innovator

Project Overview

PenguinPickUp – From Concept to Consumer in 12 Weeks 

When Canada’s largest developer and operator of shopping centers, SmartCentres, first approached TechBlocks, they were looking for an agile IT solutions firm that could deliver a highly customized system in a very short turnaround. SmartCentres had identified a real need in the marketplace for a new type of service that would revolutionize how consumers shop online. 

project Overview new

The Results

10 K


1500 K

Packages Annually

20 +


This new service would disrupt the traditional supply chain and provide traditional retailers and e-commerce stores with a solution to reduce delivery costs, improve customer experience, and help SmartCentres create a new revenue stream simultaneously. This became PenguinPickup. 

1st dashboard
1st dashboard

With their IT department occupied managing the infrastructure and applications of their existing line of businesses, they could not commit the time and effort required to build the solution this new pilot project would require. The solution would have to be highly customized and include a data warehouse, web application, POS scanners, and a new website. After a meeting with TechBlocks, SmartCentres was confident that not only did they find a consulting firm that could build and deliver the solution required in an aggressive time frame but also a reliable technology and business partner to provide guidance and advice at every stage of the process. 

Deliverable Duration

Solution Definition

SmartCentres worked with TechBlocks to define the business model and the solution required to support their needs. Based on the business model of PenguinPickup, TechBlocks identified the need for two separate solutions, and they needed it ready to go live in 10 weeks. 

Front End Website for Customers 

Front End Website for Customers
Desktop Tablet and Mobile

Responsive website design that would be accessible from desktop, tablet, and mobile browsers

New Users

Allow new users to register and login using social profiles such as Facebook

Core Platform Development

Support secure sign-up for custom sign-ups on

User experience

Send email or text notifications to customers when packages are received


Role-based access to site content based on user profiles and login details


Generate unique address codes for users for the PenguinPickUp location they selected

We Deliver

Receive packages and update the system with the package status


Auto-update the inventory database with data from the e-sign tablet for package pick up

Application for Back Office & Operations 

Application for Back Office and Operations

Planning & Scope Definition


Complete Website Architecture


Sitemap & Use Cases


Complete Solution Architecture


Store Inventory Management Solution

Retail & E-commerce

API specifications, allowing retailers to add PenguinPickup to their ecommerce sites easily

Focus on Customer Experience

Techblocks defined the user experience for both customers and PenguinPickup employees. 

Focus on Customer Experience

Complete Persona Identification, Wireframes & User Flows

Quality Engineering Planning

Mock-ups, HTML5 & CSS3 Designs

Customer Support

PenguinPickUp User Experience

Prototype & Validate

The goal of developing the prototype was to validate the solution architecture as well as verify that all devices and systems were working together. The performance and stability that needed to be validated were: 

Prototype & Validate
Custom Software Development

Microsoft Azure to host a responsive mobile website and SQL databases

Single Sign

Twilio for SMS for notifications to customers


3Scale to build the API allowing retailers to add PenguinPickUp as a delivery address easily

Testing the Solutions in the Real World

It was time to take the developed applications for a real-world simulation test under the harshest possible conditions. The TechBlocks and SmartCenters teams worked together to ensure rigorous testing of the solutions before the anticipated release in two weeks. 

User experience

User Experience Testing & Validation

Performance Testing

Functional Testing

Full-Service Mobile App

Performance Testing

Mobile App Development

Mobile Device & Cross-browser Compatibility Testing


Security Testing



TechBlocks employed an agile delivery method from beginning to end, allowing for a highly collaborative, loyal partnership. Not only was TechBlocks able to meet the aggressive target of building the solution within 10 weeks, but they were also able to deliver the project under budget. 


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