Quality 'in focus' for a leading photo services company | ValueLabs
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Business Snapshot

226 Million

Consumers fulfilled/ Satisfied

40 Billion

Photos

718

Orders per minute

Overview

Founded in 1999, our client has thrived through the dotcom bust of the early 2000s, the financial crash of 2008, six changes in ownership, and countless technology evolutions. Through all of these changes, ValueLabs has been the one constant in their growth from a start-up to a global star.

From small beginnings to a successful, 20-year collaboration

Back in 1999, our client engaged five testers to provide remote quality assurance (QA) for its fledgling e-commerce site. That small beginning grew into a continuous, 20-year relationship that has deepened each year.

Today, a 300-strong ValueLabs team works on a OneCompany® model with the client, handling everything from product management, software development, and QA to marketing and tech operations and customer support.

Services Involved

Product
Development
DevSecOps
Modernisation
Quality
Engineering
Data
Business
Intelligence
AI/ML
Chatbots
User
Experience
Digital
Marketing

Business Impact

Over the course of the relationship, ValueLabs has not only supported the client to grow its customer base from 20 million to 226 million but also completed technical integrations to over 100 order fulfillment partners. We white-labeled the client’s e-commerce platform for major retailers, including Walgreens, CVS, and Amazon. And our journey didn’t end there. We helped our client go global with 21 regional websites in eight languages with each one reflecting local currency and taxation.


A modernized platform using micro-services and multi-tenancy

The first transformation saw ValueLabs re-engineer the client’s e-commerce platform to be more flexible, scalable, and manageable.

The original 1.0 platform was a monolithic entity composed of more than one million lines of code. It worked as intended, but adding new features required long testing cycles to ensure the new code wouldn’t break anything in production. The platform was also built on a legacy home-grown framework, making it progressively harder to find people with the skills to work on it.

What’s more, every time a retailer wanted to white-label the platform, the whole code base would have to be replicated for that partner. That could take up 6-8 months, and meant that each retailer’s platform had to be managed separately.

ValueLabs worked with the client to modernize and re-architect the entire platform, breaking it down into self-contained services and micro-services that can be implemented and updated independently, using a multi-tenant architecture and modern, open-source tools.


The resulting platform 2.0 is far easier to manage, and retail partners can pick and choose the functionality they want, rather than having to take it all.

6 weeks to <1 week

Software release cycle accelerated

4 hours to 10 mins

Deployment time reduced

6 months to 6 weeks

Partner onboarding time reduced

One of the world’s first large-scale Agile transformations

A second transformation enabled new digital services and platform features to be deployed faster while ensuring they deliver maximum business value.
In 2008, ValueLabs evolved its approach to software delivery for the client from Waterfall to Agile. One of the first large-scale Agile transformations in the world, the move saw ValueLabs introduce shorter planning and development cycles to enable new features to be delivered faster.

Yearly and quarterly plans are broken down into short development sprints conducted by ValueLabs Scrum teams. Feedback from the client is sought at regular intervals to ensure user needs are being met, and retrospectives ensure that any learnings are taken forward into the next development cycle, creating a culture of continuous improvement.



The Agile transformation that we proposed has created a faster, better software delivery cycle, even given the 12-hour time difference between Hyderabad and San Francisco,”

Mr. Krishna Munagala, Senior Vice President, Global Delivery, ValueLabs.

90%

CSAT maintained even during peak shopping period

400%

Increase in quality of software released to production

50%

Improvement in defect
leakage

The transition to DevOps has reduced software release cycles from weeks to days or even hours, with ValueLabs now able to deploy 139 new releases every quarter, using a blue/green approach to ensure no site downtime.

At the same time, test automation allows more code to be tested, resulting in a 400% increase in software quality that translates into an optimum online shopping experience for our client’s customers. For the client, meanwhile, this highly efficient and automated process has resulted in over 35% reduction in the operational costs associated with new software releases.

35%

Reduced operational cost of new software releases

93%

Automation in place

99.95%

Platform availability

 

Any time releases

OneCompany® model continues to support growth and meet demand

With deep levels of trust built up over two decades of partnership, our client has entrusted an ever-greater proportion of its core operations to us. Today, in addition to managing and evolving the client’s platform, we also handle outbound marketing communications, manage relationships with third-parties like fulfillment companies, and provide first, second, and third-line customer support from a dedicated contact center in Cebu, Philippines.



Enabling continuous business improvement with dashboards and predictive analytics

Handling the client’s platform and customer support operations means we have access to huge amounts of operational data. So when the client asked us to report on factors affecting business performance, we were able to run statistical analyses and visualize the results in an intuitive dashboard interface.

Aligning the dashboards with C-suite priorities, we provide ongoing actionable insights into areas including customer churn, shipment delays, coupon effectiveness, and customer lifetime value. The dashboards make trends and root causes immediately understandable for senior teams, enabling rapid decision-making for continuous business improvement.

Additionally, we applied predictive analytics to forecast volumes of inbound inquiries to the contact center. Our forecasts were accurate to within a single-digit percentage, enabling the client to optimize staffing levels – thus reducing costs while maintaining an exceptional customer experience.



Driving increased revenue, savings and customer loyalty with chatbots and mobile

User experience is a key factor driving loyalty and lifetime value. Our client’s customers often seek help with post-purchase issues including delivery times, order status, and products damaged in transit. To help customers get answers faster, and to improve contact center efficiency, we analyzed post-purchase inquiries to understand which could be automated through the use of chatbots.

We uncovered a range of inquiries that could be answered by a Q&A chatbot on the website, with the option to talk to an agent if needed. The first iteration of the chatbot was a great success, achieving a 19% deflection rate—well above the client’s target of 10%.

We continue to evolve the chatbot, learning from the way customers use it. Future iterations will aim to improve the user experience still further, by allowing customers to complete actions directly in the chatbot, upload photos of damaged products, and ask questions in natural language.

We’ve also designed and delivered a slick mobile app for photo canvas purchases, mapping the complete customer journey and developing features including animated guides, augmented reality (AR) overlays to visualize products in situ, and integration to wallets and other payment methods.



A partnership ready for every eventuality—now and into the future

Partnering with us has left the client free to focus on executing its growth and diversification strategy, safe in the knowledge that its e-commerce platform and operations can scale accordingly.

With ValueLabs handling site reliability, partner integration and customer support, even seasonal peaks are handled with ease. Over the 2019 holiday season, the modernized e-commerce platform comfortably accommodated 15,000 concurrent users, 15 million daily photo uploads, and 718 orders every minute. And all the while, customer satisfaction (CSAT) levels remained at 90% and over.

It’s a testament to how well the OneCompany model can work—even with the client based in the United States and ValueLabs in India and the Philippines. The events of 2020 further underscored the strength and value of the remote partnership. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, ValueLabs and the client were able to continue our remote collaboration with no hesitation or disruption.

“Our 20-year partnership shows how the OneCompany model can support and enable growth even in challenging circumstances,” says Mr. Sandeep Alva, Senior Vice President, Sales, ValueLabs. “As it has grown, our client has often had the option of working with other, more well-known consulting firms. Yet it has always chosen to stay with ValueLabs. There’s no better testament to our knowledge of the client, the strength of our relationship, or the value that we deliver.

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