Who is the Company

A leading American clothing omnichannel retailer.

The Challenge

The company operates two enterprise applications. One caters to customer clothing rentals or purchases, and the other allows customers to customize purchased or rented items. The company developed its primary mobile apps more than ten years ago using Objective C as the coding language. However, they faced challenges in the latest operating systems due to deprecated libraries and code. Additionally, the company needed a new mobile app specifically for a recently launched brand.

In brief, the company needed to:

  • Modernize its mobile apps codebase: Objective C is a conventional coding language leading to several deprecated features and limited availability of updates.
  • Improve the customer experience: Lack of awareness regarding clothing measurements resulted in accuracy issues. Customers often had to return to the store for refitting, resulting in frustration and loss of return business.
  • Coupons and discounts integration: To elevate the store user experience, the company wanted to integrate coupons and discounts seamlessly into the sales process.
  • Enhance app performance observability: Previously, no system was in place to monitor the application's performance. The company wanted the ability to spot and proactively respond to performance issues quickly.
  • Enhance app performance observability: Previously, no system was in place to monitor the application's performance. The company wanted the ability to spot and proactively respond to performance issues quickly.
  • Get a handle on crashes: The company encountered difficulties identifying app problems. They needed a way to track and resolve mobile app crashes.
  • Update the data exchange format: The company used to interact with their Tibco data platform through its SOAP APIs to retrieve customer-related data. However, the company planned to migrate to REST and wanted to update its data exchange format to ensure proper communications.
  • Migrate to Google Cloud Platform: The company initially opted for Red Hat OpenShift but offered limited control over the platform. As a result, they decided to transition to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and were looking for a partner to assist in the migration.
  • Enhance its mobile app UI: In 2018, the iOS Dark Mode was introduced, but the company had not implemented it for its apps. The company sought assistance in enhancing its UI to incorporate this feature.

    The Solution

    Our engineers updated the underlying code infrastructure in a sweeping series of enhancements that vastly reduced the time it took to get app updates out to its users. The new solution involved two primary areas of focus: mobile app and backend. The Mobility team handled mobile app improvements and our Application Development team took care of backend enhancements.

    After the Application Development team completed the GCP migration, they upgraded the API communications process. Our mobility team was then able to incorporate advanced analytics, UI enhancements, and new features, to round out the expanded range of offerings.

    Here are some key points from the solution put into place by our Mobility team:

    • Updated the underlying application code infrastructure: We migrated the entire codebase of the current application to Swift. 
    • Automatic dimensions generation: We implemented a third-party solution allowing users to input their basic details like height, weight, and waist size, automatically generating their clothing dimensions.
    • Enhanced observability: We successfully implemented Firebase Analytics to track various metrics such as screen events, button click events, API success rate, and response time. This integration dramatically assists the company in monitoring the performance of the application.
    • Crash tracking: Firebase Crashlytics inclusion helps track all crashes in the company's main applications.
    • UI improvement: We seamlessly integrated Dark Mode support and swiftly launched it in company stores, resulting in a significant UI enhancement.

    Our Application Development team implemented important backend enhancements, including:

    • Data communications upgrade: Following the successful app migration, we migrated the legacy XML-based Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) communications components to REST.
    • Cloud platform shift enables database switch: The company switched from Red Hat OpenShift to GCP. This transition allowed us to take complete control and make all the necessary changes ourselves. As a part of this migration, we successfully transferred the database from Oracle to PostgreSQL.

    One of the most extensive areas of impact on the company’s business was a smoother customer experience. The Firebase Analytics integration lets the company actively track customer events. Whenever they identify performance-related issues, we promptly address them to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for their customers.

    Also, after integrating Crashlytics, we identified and resolved four previously unknown crashes. With the help of Crashlytics, we obtained detailed information about the flow and specific line numbers where the crashes occurred. This enabled us to address these issues and quickly release more stable production builds.

    Business Impact

    • Compliance with industry standards improving bottom line: Due to the code base migration to Swift, all application code is now fully compliant with industry standards, ensuring that no lines of code are deprecated. This saves the company from ongoing maintenance costs, increasing the company’s return on investment in its apps and improving its profitability.
    • Increased customer satisfaction and lower return rate: Customers are delighted with the app’s ability to provide accurate dimensions automatically. This enhanced customer retention and lowered the number of refittings.
    • Coupon and discount functionality drives business: Introducing these features generated excitement among customers and directly contributed to business growth. 
    • API performance boost: The legacy SOAP technology incurred tremendous overhead. The new system APIs use REST technology, geometrically boosting API performance and reliability.
    • Unparalleled management and control: The company's native application is now securely hosted on GCP, offering seamless control and management.
    • Improved in-store experience: Stores can now use the application in Dark Mode, enhancing in-store user experience.
    • Reduced time-to-market for updates: We introduced efficiency changes in both the frontend and backend deployment process to publish updates within a short timeframe. This increased efficiency gives the company a competitive advantage.

    Technologies Used

    Firebase Analytics
    Firebase Crashlytics
    PostgreSQL Objective-C

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