The fashion and lifestyle company, Breuninger, was founded in 1881 by Eduard Breuninger and is today one of the leading omnichannel department stores in Europe. For 140 years, Breuninger has set high standards in fashion, beauty and lifestyle with an exclusive selection of international designer brands and selected newcomer brands. The online shop, www.breuninger.com, launched in 2008, is one of the most successful in the premium segment. Breuninger can also be found in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, and Italy. Within Germany and Luxembourg, Breuninger now operates 13 stores with around 6,500 employees. A new opening is planned in Hamburg for 2024.
Breuninger and pentacor
Since 2019, pentacor has been supporting Breuninger in the digitalisation of features of the Breuninger Card – a customer card with a payment function and loyalty programme. The digital functions are implemented using an agile (Scrum) DevOps approach in close cooperation between the Breuninger product owner and the pentacor DevOps team.
Challenge and goal
Breuninger was the first fashion retailer in Germany to offer customer cards to its customers back in the 1950s.
Up to now, customers have been able to use the card as a payment method in stationary retail and received a monthly statement in the course of the agreed credit line. The services for using the Breuninger Card, and in particular access to the card’s credit, were implemented in the local cash register system, which meant that its functions could not be used at other touchpoints.
In order to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction in the long term and to make the shopping experience even more pleasant for the customer, it was important for Breuninger to make the functionalities of the Breuninger Card available on a digitally consistent basis in order to be able to operate independently of the POS system and at all customer touchpoints.
In the Department-Store-Checkout-Project carried out in 2019, a great deal of attention was paid to the appropriate location of professionalism in the IT systems. It was clear that the functions of the Breuninger Card should not be integrated into the purchased POS system, but should be made available independently for many touchpoints.
This led to the online activation of the Breuninger Card functions via a new CloudReady system. Here, pentacor GmbH was responsible for the entire DevOps lifecycle – from requirements engineering and design creation to development, testing, and operation.
The non-functional requirements were high, especially in the areas of availability, consistency, and the required processing speed of events. It is important to Breuninger that the payment process works smoothly with minimal waiting times, both in the store and in the online shop. Therefore, all business events on different channels must be processed as quickly as possible and aggregated to a defined state. These states – available credit, amount of credit limit, blocking of the card, etc. – must be delivered to the touchpoints that use the card functions within a maximum response time of half a second.
The functions of the Breuninger Card were implemented in a highly available and scalable product and made available for the various touchpoints via a REST API. In the background, the product processes all business events in a cleanly decoupled manner using Kafka topics at high speed, calculates the important states and makes them available via the REST API – cleanly described using the OpenAPI Spec.
Several measures ensure the high availability of the system, including:
- Massive load & performance testing
- Decoupling of the events to be processed using Kafka
- Detailed monitoring and alerting using DataDog and OpsGenie
- Logging using ELK
These points have been essential in ensuring that the system is highly reliable and successfully meets stakeholder requirements.
- CloudReady implementation with Java Spring Boot
- Docker and Kubernetes on AWS
The first version of the product was enthusiastically implemented within the announced timeframe and under the milestone “Introduction of the POS System Taking Into Account the Most Important Shopping Days in Retail”. The digital functions of the Multichannel Breuninger Card are another important component in linking stationary and online retailing. The product is currently undergoing continuous development and, due to its maturity, can be operated with little effort.