Lireka An e-shop with more than a million French books dispatched all over the world

We developed a custom global e-commerce solution for a large French bookshop. The solution is connected to book catalogues, web marketplaces, and carriers. The database of books is regularly updated and the e-shop handles payments in more than 70 currencies. Find out what the project involved and how 2 years of demanding development moved us forward.

integrationmarketplaceworldwide deliverye-commerce
Globální e-shop Lireka umožňuje pohodlné prohlížení a nákup francouzských knih téměř odkudkoli na světě.

What Lireka addressed us with and why

After years of gaining experience in e-commerce, Marc Bordier decided to set up a global e-shop with books in French. He knew the market, wrote a detailed vision of what Lireka should be like in 3 years, and looked for a partner who would prepare a technologically sound solution.

In practice, this meant creating a robust back-office system for several million books that would integrate with:

  • book catalogues and distributors;
  • global web marketplaces;
  • multi-carrier systems;
  • own e-shop.

It was also necessary for the system to manage, for example, the correct pricing of books for differently regulated markets, to take account of international tariffs and to allow payments in more than 70 currencies.

Lireka was impressed by our references, especially the work done on the large B2B marketplace for the Czech-French company Exapro.

František Salava,
CEO COex

About Lireka

E-shop with books in French, which sends them around the world. Lireka also runs a bookshop with a warehouse in Grenoble and a "cross-dock fulfilment centre" - books from distributors come here in the morning, employees sort them, pack them and hand them over to carriers who deliver shipments to customers the same day.

logo Lireka
1mil.+
offered books
130+
countries in the world to which Lireka has delivered books so far
70+
currencies in which it is possible to pay on the e-shop

We divided the project into two phases: a marketplace and the e-shop itself

The client had a clear plan – first we would connect the whole concept with global web marketplaces, and only after debugging processes such as book pricing, sales, dynamic pricing, customs or distribution from Alaska to Japan would we create our own sales channel – e-shop Lireka.com.

We started with a technical analysis of the project, selection of technologies, design of the solution architecture and connection to third parties (payment gateways, carriers, catalogues). One output of the careful preparation was also wireframes, which clarified the idea of the functioning of the entire system for us and the client.

Communication in English, e-shop in French

The cooperation with Lireka took place mainly remotely and we managed the whole project in English. The e-shop solution allows sales in multiple languages; however, the client's strategy now allows for French only.

Original wireframes of the book detail.
Original wireframes of the book detail.

The technologies on which we built the e-commerce solution for Lireka

Back-end

  • The application back-end was written in the Python programming language, using the proven Django and FastAPI frameworks, we used PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis and Elasticsearch for the databases.

API

  • communication between front-end and back-end is provided by GraphQL API, and we used RestAPI and Amazon SQS to communicate between back-end microservices.

IT architektura

  • containerization in Docker Swarm,
  • microservices.

Frontend

  • Google's Angular front-end framework,
  • Server Side Rendering (SSR),
  • Service Workers.

Other third-party technologies

  • Firebase,
  • DigitalOcean Cloud Services,
  • ScaleGrid,
  • AWS,
  • Cloudflare.

You can find out more about the tools and technologies we use at COex on the web technologies page.

python GraphQL Angular PostgreSQL django elastic

Architecture of the whole project

We used Docker Swarm containerization and split the application into microservices to achieve greater scalability.

We separated the back office and web architectures so that it could operate in multiple data centres in the future. We set the app´s architecture and CI/CD to minimize the risk of system outages.

Project architecture and connection to third party services.
Project architecture and connection to third party services.

Tailor-made back office, integration with global marketplaces or carriers

Import of book catalogues showing all available and unavailable books, including distributors, titles, prices, labels, number of pages, type of binding, etc. Data are copied to the back office several times a day so that the system can take into account as soon as possible that, for example, a reprint of the book has been published or the edition is no longer available. Synchronization includes thousands of changes every day.

To connect to web marketplaces, we obtained developer accounts that allow us to access the marketplace using the API. We fine-tuned dynamic pricing taking into account the purchase price, market fees, various types of transport and the prices of other sellers. We came up with a way to synchronize data in the back office, the internal warehouse system and in the individual marketplaces – to prevent Lireka from offering a book in a marketplace which it already sold a few minutes ago in a Grenoble bookshop.

Carrier connector. The system now allows 4 options – French La Poste, and private couriers Colis Privé, DHL, and DHL Express. Each of them requires different documents for taking delivery, has different conditions and prices. The algorithm calculates all variables in real time and offers customers the most advantageous variant according to criteria such as delivery address, total order price, weight, duties, etc. Lireka is currently planning to add other carriers to the system such as UPS, Chronopost, and others.

What to expect when selling on web marketplaces

It is a great tool for quick entry into a new market. A few days after registration, you have the sales infrastructure and customer service at your disposal. Web marketplaces usually require sellers to comply with strict rules, including constant updating of the availability of goods or timely delivery of products. If you break the rules, you risk being cut off from the platform.

The intuitive employee interface makes it easy to manage and process orders - from receiving them to printing the shipping label.

Timeline of cooperation

2018

July

First meeting

2018

December

Handover of documents and project vision

2019

March

Technical analysis

2020

January

Phase 1 test operation

2020

March

First orders

2021

July

Phase 2 test operation

2021

September

Launch of Lireka.com

Development of own sales channel

When Lireka verified that the technical solution would handle hundreds of orders a day with ease and enable their delivery on time around the world, we proceeded to the next phase of the project – the development of the e-shop.

  • We created a customised CMS for easy management of categories, pages and necessary SEO parameters.
  • Lireka prepared the graphics, we prepared the whole logic of the e-shop (product display, individual order steps, shopping cart, wishlist).
  • We integrated Algolia's third-party book search service.
  • We connected the e-shop with a payment gateway that allows payments in 70+ currencies.
  • We developed our own solution for converting previews of books and other images into various formats (when viewed on the web, mobile and tablet, for Android or iOS).

Caution when working with non-European currencies

Make sure you use the correct number of decimal positions for transactions in different currencies. For most European currencies, there are two decimal places, but the Japanese yen, for example, does not use decimal positions. If your payment gateway is set up incorrectly, you may deduct a different amount from the client's account.

Book administration allows you to manage all the details of individual titles, even in bulk.

What else can Lireka e-commerce solution do?

  • Detailed dashboards with information on delayed orders, profitability of individual channels or ordered books from suppliers.
  • Automatic and manual book blacklisting in the event that a distributor requests that a book be withdrawn from sale worldwide or in a specific country.
  • Automatic repricing of books based on competitors' prices.
  • Generating VAT reports for each country.
  • Connection to the global third-party marketplace.
  • Regular automatic import of reviews and ratings from the Babelio portal.
  • Automatic re-ordering of the required book directly from the supplier if the goods are not in stock – without the need for administrator intervention and with prediction of the delivery date.
  • Generating promo codes for users – individually, in bulk or for a "referral program" (invite another user and get a discount).
  • The back office allows connecting to multiple websites that may have different domains. From the user's perspective, the solution looks like independent e-shops.
  • Price fixing when adding goods to the cart – the price remains the same for 14 days even despite dynamic pricing.

Results of the Lireka project

  • After launching the first phase of the project, Lireka sold hundreds of books a day around the world.
  • The feedback and reviews show that Lireka has gained a large number of enthusiastic customers around the world.
  • The backend has a constantly updated database with more than 1 million books.
  • So far, more than 150 thousand orders have passed through the system.
  • Lireka accepts payments in 70+ currencies.
  • So far, customers from 130+ countries around the world have ordered books from Lireka.
  • The books are delivered by 4 different carriers (DHL, DHL Express, Colis Privé, La Poste), the algorithm calculates prices in real time and selects the most suitable variant for the customer.
1 000 000+ products offered in the e-shop
20 000+ product updates daily
10 000+ dynamic price conversions every hour

Thanks to COex, we have a modern back-end and front-end system that allows us to receive orders and ship thousands of books around the world. I especially appreciated the technical knowledge of the development team and COex's ability to add their own know-how to the project. We managed to create together an e-commerce solution where customers like to shop – they can easily find what they need, create an order, pay and get a book within a few days.

Marc Bordier, CEO Lireka
Marc Bordier,
CEO Lireka