The Record - Issue 9: Summer 2018

126 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E U K-based online fashion retailer Asos aims to become the world’s number one shopping destination for ‘fashion-loving 20-somethings’. If 2017 figures are anything to go by, the company is certainly well on its way to achieving that goal. Each week it added 4,500 new products to its website (there are 85,000 available at any one time) and a total of 15.4 mil- lion customers from around 240 countries gen- erated almost 1.9 billion sales (a rise of 34% from 2016), while Asos’s website received more than 1.6 billion visits and its social media platforms amassed just over 20 million followers. What’s the secret behind its success? Asos has replaced its monolithic core software with a new flexible and scalable e-commerce platform that uses microservices running on Microsoft Azure. This has enabled it to develop an omnichannel shopping platform that empowers customers to shop in their own language, choose their pay- ment and delivery options, and receive personal- ised product recommendations via a mobile app. Asos is not the only major retailer to have joined the microservices revolution. Amazon, eBay, fash- ion retailer River Island, and UK grocery store chains Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all replaced their monolithic platforms with microservices to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience. “Today’s customers expect the same instant, personalised, connected and consistent retail experience whenever they interact with a brand – regardless of whether they’re shopping in a store, online, via a mobile app, or moving between channels,” says Vic Miles, director of Retail Technology Strategy at Microsoft. “If retailers truly want to deliver services to their customers in a fluid manner across all current and future channels, they must move away from monolithic legacy systems and on-premise mul- tichannel platforms. Cloud-based microservices are the next evolution of enterprise systems development and they’re ideal for helping retail- ers create omnichannel platforms that have a full 360-degree view of all customers.” Microsoft’s Vic Miles explains why microservices offer retailers the perfect way to provide customers with a personalised and seamless omnichannel retail experience BY R E B E CCA G I B SON Breaking the retail monolith “Essentially, retailers identify what business capabilities they are missing and then plug in a microservice that fulfils that need” V I C M I L E S , M I C ROSOF T