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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can find out more about the tools and technologies we use at COex on the web technologies page.
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.
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.
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.
Handover of documents and project vision
Phase 1 test operation
Phase 2 test operation
Launch of Lireka.com
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.
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.
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