GoDataDriven | Part of Xebia
Wehkamp is a Dutch online retail store founded in1952 by Herman Wehkamp in the small Dutch town of Slagharen. Originally called Wehkamp’s Fabriekskantoor, the company started off as a mail-order business before fully switching to the e-commerce space in 2006, making it the first webshop in the Netherlands and a pioneer in the Dutch e-commerce industry.
Now considered a household name, Wehkamp boasts a wide range of 180,000 products including everything from men’s, women’s, and children's clothing, electronics, household, garden, beauty, leisure, and sporting goods. Its main distribution center is located in the Dutch city of Zwolle.
Always Stay Ahead of the Curve
Wehkamp strives for excellent and efficient service including same-day delivery. Its previous platform was monolithic, making it hard to evolve or add functionality let alone meet Wehkamp’s ambitious goals for market delivery. Under Xebia’s guidance, Wehkamp could redesign its e-commerce platform with faster market delivery and closer team collaboration in mind. “[Wehkamp] is a pure online player,” explains Jan Toebes, a full-stack developer at Xebia. “It’s a utopia to think that each team is fully independent. That is impossible.” Wehkamp needed to overhaul its platform, to be leaner and agile, and work together to meet the changing demands of an online world.
As a forerunner in the Dutch digital commerce sphere, Wehkamp had outgrown its existing platform. It was the perfect time for an update — one that would fulfill the needs of the modern consumer as well as simplify things on the back end. “With Xebia’s expertise, a game plan was launched,” said Paul Nieuwenhuis, full stack developer at Wehkamp. “We were able to turn our old IT architecture, slowed by excess code and lacking in the spirit of collaboration, into a more flexible microservice model.” This resulted in a faster turnaround using Agile as its framework. No longer were marketing and DevOps teams operating separately with a myriad of approaches. Now they worked in concert to streamline the Wehkamp shopping experience.
Small Functionality: Back to Better Basics
Wehkamp’s upgraded platform took a bold step. Where monolithic platforms were the norm, the Xebia-designed platform proved the vanguard. It provides more meaningful updates and more effective testing, including A/B testing and both front- and back-end for quality assurance.
All this was achieved using a microservices architecture — modules with a single function — allowing for an Agile environment with continuous, specific testing that serves customer behaviors more accurately.
It also means if one thing fails, the whole system doesn’t go down with it. Toebes explains: “It’s easier for us to add and replace services. If there’s a campaign, we can easily scale up the website without scaling up the order handling system. Now we have independent deployment.”