CHRONEXT:
Fast and Flexible Shop Design with Frontastic

With Frontastic as their Frontend-as-a-Service (FEaaS) provider, CHRONEXT switched from a rigid and difficult to use monolithic architecture to a flexible, modern shop solution.

When the platform for luxury watches, CHRONEXT, launched in 2015, it was structured the same way as all online shops at the time. Using Monolithic architecture, the store had a frontend; a very reduced CMS; backend interfaces to Business Intelligence; ERP; Supply Chain; PIM; Sales; as well as functions for analysis and reporting.

But with time, CHRONEXT noticed that it became more and more difficult to change or extend elements; to integrate new elements or features; and even to operate the entire shop. The result was high operating and opportunity costs. In mid-2018, CHRONEXT introduced middleware as a service layer for order management, product data, inventory, CRM and Zendesk.

But this only partially alleviated these high costs while every change to the shop remained cumbersome and the shop as a whole was difficult to operate. In 2019, CHRONEXT decided to redesign their entire shop.

The goal was clear: the platform should be easier to change and operate – as well as being well documented technically. The watch retailer brought on board Emanuel Schleussinger as their new CTO who’d be responsible for the shop replatforming.

After evaluating the needs and requirements of each department, he made the decision to bring all of the partially outsourced IT department back into the company and form a 10 member IT team that was to invest 70% of its capacity into the new shop project. Now all he had to do was decide on what systems and providers to work with.

“The guys from Frontastic have done the impossible and fulfilled most of our requirements on time,” praises Schleussinger. More CHRONEXT sites are being rebuilt and the Head of Technology now knows for sure: “We’re definitely better off with Frontastic than without.”

Hope Gives Confidence

For their technical infrastructure, CHRONEXT chose Frontasic as the Frontend-as-a-Service and Progressive Web App (PWA) provider, commercetools as the commerce solution, Contentful as the CMS and Adyen as the payment provider. “We were faced with a difficult decision back then,“ recalls Schleussinger, “the Frontastic technology was promising, but at a very early stage of development. But because the finished product would meet our needs so perfectly, we were willing to take that risk”

Frontastic scored points with various features such as the site editor, which allows all departments in the company to quickly and easily change content in the shop; the flexible and modern way to build PWAs; the pragmatic and consistent application design; a convincing roadmap, accompanied by a quick reaction to bug reports and improvement requests; a good integration into the shop solution of commerce tools; as well as a convincing price-performance ratio. “If we had built such a solution ourselves, it would have cost us man-years”, Schleussinger knows.

However, the CTO and his development team had reservations about Frontastic’s platform stability, developer friendliness, the rendering speed and the lack of high-class references. Despite those uncertainties, CHRONEXT decided to take the risk as they were convinced that it was more efficient and future-proofed to build their frontend with Frontastic than to custom-build their own frontend solution.

One Hour to Become a Shop Editor

The whole project from the initial idea to the first site relaunch took about five months. On 16 October 2019, chronext.at launched with a new look and the hopes of CTO Schleussinger being fulfilled. Almost every piece of content on any page could be changed by individual departments, from product detail pages to SEO content and even the checkout pages. What’s more, in less than an hour employees understand how to edit the shop themselves thanks to the intuitive Frontastic Editor.

Summary

As one of the biggest retail platforms of luxury watches, CHRONEXT needed to be able to quickly and easily change various elements of its online shop. With a Monolithic architecture, it was impossible to make these updates without needing multiple teams to do the work, costing them valuable time and money.

Frontastic was the right solution for CHRONEXT because it meant that they could change to a Microservices architecture where they could utilize multiple systems, with Frontastic powering the frontend delivered as an impressive PWA. It also empowered all their teams to be able to work with less dependencies on each other and allowed them to focus on their specialized roles within CHRONEXT, giving them the flexibility to change and adapt to any
future needs.

Find out more about Frontastic on www.frontastic.cloud, Twitter: @frontasticGmbH, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/frontastic-gmbh/.

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