Managed IT Services Enable a Non-profit Online Marketplace to Improve Performance of the E-commerce Site and Hit $1 Billion in Online Sales

April 4, 2022 - by Synoptek

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Customer: A non-profit e-commerce marketplace Profile: The multi-tenant non-profit marketplace that provides educational and workforce-related services to over 135 chapters
Industry: Retail
Services: Managed IT Services and Application Modernization and Mobile Application

Business Need

The non-profit e-commerce marketplace was rapidly growing, achieving almost $1 million in sales per day. Yet, their e-commerce system was over 15 years old, and the organization was supported by a small, 3-person team. This led to several challenges in evolving the design and functionality of the platform to keep up with the pace of the business.

Although the client was growing rapidly, the technology infrastructure was not scaling at the same pace. They did not have the required skills in-house to evolve their platform, and the absence of a modern mobile application made matters worse. Looking at the future growth perspective, the e-commerce client was seeking opportunities to modernize their website, ensure scalability and usability, increase performance, and reach new markets.

With this motivation, the client connected with Synoptek to achieve 5 key objectives:

  • Provide a sustainable platform for 135 chapters using the current website
  • Address the growing needs of the community, from a Mission and Commerce perspective
  • Be relevant in an increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape
  • Address ADA/WCAG compliance and delivering a seamless and consistent user experience to people with disabilities
  • Drive operational excellence with a DevOps model for Development and Operations Support
  • Build a mobile e-commerce application

Solution and Approach

Since the beginning of the engagement, Synoptek spent valuable time engaging with the e-commerce team to analyze the marketplace and understand existing code to arrive at the most accurate level of effort required to meet their objectives as well as to allow them to scale and modernize their current platform. We also curated a 5x5x5 vision for the client, which meant 5x revenue over 5 years executing 5 key strategies, which included:

  1. Achieve a more customer-centric culture
  2. Capitalize on demand for second-hand markets
  3. Reach new customer segments through digital transformation
  4. Leverage technology advancements in Business and Artificial Intelligence
  5. Leverage the existing brand and community
Since the e-commerce website had millions of unique SKUs, with a massive number getting added every single day, what they needed was a carefully curated, re-sale-specific, multi-tenant marketplace. To help keep up with the pace of growth, Synoptek had two options at hand: to rebuild the existing website from the ground up or to modernize it to ensure it remains competitive in the resell e-commerce landscape. The detailed analysis conducted by Synoptek led to a Request for Proposal to move forward with upgrading the current application stack rather than migrating it to a third-party e-commerce platform, such as Magento or Salesforce Commerce.

  • E-commerce platform modernization (Buyer Portal)
    • Rearchitect, feature add, and modernize on Azure (Azure SQL, DevOps, Repos, Build Pipeline, App Service, WAF)
    • Add Azure analytics for insight and drive commerce performance
  • Seller site upgrade and modernization
    • Upgrade Admin and Seller’s site to the latest .Net Core technologies
    • Migrate on-prem reporting to and interactive dashboards (Azure Data Factory, Azure SQL, Power BI)
    • Add/Enhanced features
    • Enhanced UI and enable ADA/WCAG compliance
  • New Mobile application development for buyers
  • Managed IT services: 24x7x365 Azure infrastructure, application, and mobile support

After only 9 months, the new platform was launched. The impact was dynamic and immediate. Using the platform, seller employees were learning digital skills and using simple yet powerful templated interfaces that allowed them to merchandise items and post to the site with ease.

Business Benefits

The delivery of technical and non-technical strategies by Synoptek helped in elevating the performance and functionality of the client’s website, both in terms of revenue and community impact.

Our integrated, best-of-breed approach has helped the e-commerce client to re-architect the existing site, move to a more advanced development stack, and redesign the entire look and feel. They could build on their website, enable seamless integration with major search engines, and leverage external systems and capabilities to meet specific needs – in just a matter of 9 months. Today, buyers are able to enjoy an improved shopping experience and sellers are able to easily list their items.

Thanks to the complete redesign and modernization of their existing website, the delivery of Managed Azure Cloud Services, and the implementation of the Azure analytics reporting platform, the client is growing 40-50% per year.

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