Building a Successful Ecommerce Startup With a Real Estate Innovator
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.
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.
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.
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
Responsive website design that would be accessible from desktop, tablet, and mobile browsers
Allow new users to register and login using social profiles such as Facebook
Support secure sign-up for custom sign-ups on penguinpickup.com
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
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
Planning & Scope Definition
Complete Website Architecture
Sitemap & Use Cases
Complete Solution Architecture
Store Inventory Management Solution
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.
Complete Persona Identification, Wireframes & User Flows
Mock-ups, HTML5 & CSS3 Designs
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:
Microsoft Azure to host a responsive mobile website and SQL databases
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 Testing & Validation
Mobile Device & Cross-browser Compatibility 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.
“We have been very pleased working with TechBlocks. TechBlocks is able to deliver high-quality go-to-market solutions within a very short time frame and they are competitively priced. Most importantly, the dedication of the TechBlocks team to our success is unrivaled. They offer excellent advisory and customer service and continue to be a valued partner of SmartCentres. In fact, we are currently partnering with them in additional areas of our IT portfolio.”Egil Moller Nielsen SVP SmartCentres
“TechBlocks ability to deliver such a customized solution within an extremely aggressive deadline was a huge contributor to the success of PenguinPickup. Partnering with them meant the SmartCentres’ IT department didn’t have to re-prioritize our workload or manage any of the challenges which came up during the build and allowed the business to focus on the other requirements to bring PenguinPickup to the market.”Elliott de Launay Manager, IT Business Analysis