A fast and easy method of getting the current promotions and maintaining a shopping list – those were the goals of Bilka for their app when work started in 2013.
The retail business is a tough trade, where any head start can mean a lot. Bilka wanted their customers to have an app, which would help making the shopping experience as pleasant as possible.
“We really appreciate the professionalism of Trifork, their insight in the mobile platform and the way they are able to challenge our ideas for the greater good”
One of the keystones of the Bilka app is the constant focus on only providing a few services, but then doing those to perfection. Therefore the entire shopping list is build around the concept of searching, where the search results are shown according to their use. This ensures that the customer will be able to find the most bought things faster. The inclusion of the digital catalog would help the customers looking for promotions, to easily add promotions to their shopping list.
Being able to share shopping list with the family members was important, as Bilka wanted this app to be used for all shopping needs. Therefore the user has the possibility of either sharing a read-only shopping list or to have an actual synchronized list.
Even though the setup might sound simple, a lot of hours have gone into making the maintenance of the promotions in the back-end as simple as possible for the Bilka employees. This includes having the back-end do “best guesses” as to which category a certain products belong, thereby only making it necessary to do a cursory scan of the list of products in an offer catalog.
To urge the user to shop in Bilka, the back-end needs to be able to match the promotions from the leaflets to what the user writes on the shopping list, to be able to ask the user if they want the current promotion added to their list instead of the general term typed in.
To ensure a short time-to-market and because the actual load on the back-end was unknown (dependent on how widespread the app would become), the choice was made to run the back-end in the Microsoft Azure cloud. This quickly enables scaling of the solution based on the needs from the business.