Trobos is a new e-commerce business operating in Vilnius, Lithuania. It is a part of Vilniaus Prekyba, the biggest company in the country with 5,3 billion € turnover and 46 thousands employees. The holding manages a group of market leading subsidiaries which operate chains of retail (Maxima Grupė), and hardware stores (Ermitažas), pharmacies (Euroapotheka), real estate development (Akropolis Group), e-grocery (Barbora) and many others in the Baltics, Nordics, and the whole CEE region.
With the 2020 pandemics outbreak, the powerful group has noticed that it is lacking a common e-commerce space for all its brands, with fast and safe delivery. It has become obvious there was a great demand for such a service and lockdown restrictions only accelerated the development of an online version of the Vilnius Akropolis shopping mall with country-wide delivery.
The unique concept underneath Trobos is to recreate the feeling and mechanics of going to a physical mall as described in this press release:
“Buyers can purchase different categories of goods in one payment and receive the same day delivery, as if they had just visited the Akropolis or another shopping center. For the convenience of buyers, the return of goods also takes place without leaving the house – the courier will come to pick them up free of charge,” Karolis Lesickas, former CEO at Trobos.
So, who doesn’t recognize the emblematic bikers with cubic backpacks of Uber Eats, Takeaway or Wolt? Now, on the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania and hopefully soon other CEE countries you can find Trobos couriers who look quite alike. Apart from groceries, they deliver everything you might need at home: from medicine, toys, gadgets up to clothes.
Due to the pandemic situation and a freshly identified market gap, the e-commerce solution had to be implemented fast. This ambitious yet difficult mission to deliver the MVP was entrusted to Adeo Web – one of the leading e-commerce agencies in the country. The software house was a long-time Magento specialist responsible for its big implementations in the Baltics.
Here at Adeo Web we strongly believe that marketplace economy is the future, and developing it is a big part of our long term company strategy. To build the TROBOS project we were looking for a flexible headless eCommerce platform to extend our tech stack, and found Sylius.
Since the initial project had to support almost limitless future growth and multitude of vendor integrations, a bespoke solution like this was a great match for us. Easy access and cooperation with the Sylius team was another big benefit to support our positions in this project.
The underlying objective was to design a marketplace which would be appealing and easy to use for both customers and vendors. A solution, with solid safety margin built on a modern architecture, thus able to be scaled and support growing traffic.
To give customers the experience of a virtual shopping center, Adeo Web knew that the dynamic front end and efficient UI/UX is a crucial factor. There was only one logical choice – Trobos.lt had to be a Progressive Web App (PWA). Luckily, Sylius provides an integration with the most popular solution in this category – Vue Storefront.
Sylius Plus, as an Enterprise-grade Commerce platform with an Open Source core, was an excellent fit for Vue Storefront, a bodiless front end whose core value was focus on performance and UX. We are more than happy that the integration was built and field-tested in the real-life use case, and we are determined to continue to work together on the next versions.
The results of our collaboration prove that open-source core is now something that accelerates the growth of the entire modern e-commerce industry. It is undeniable that we are at the forefront of the huge changes.
From the technical point of view, it required separating the order management system (OMS) from the marketplace and due to different logic behind these two entities it was the most demanding part of development.
In this project, Sylius has been treated mainly as a framework for all of the other modules which were added on top, such as logging, statuses, vendor functionality, frontend module, reports or – among others – audit log functionality. Nevertheless, some of the integral parts of the framework’s logic were crucial for this project, to mention just a few – the state machine, RBAC (role-based access control), resource bundle or channels.
Sylius is an incredibly flexible framework making development easy for any developer with a Symfony background. Every aspect of the platform can be easily extended and customised if needed. We have not yet received huge numbers of traffic but Sylius will probably handle it with no issues, as its architecture allows us to scale the marketplace vertically and horizontally without any complex solutions.
Code base is clean and does not have any legacy technical debts. The fact that Sylius is based opens up the possibility to use hundreds of open-source libraries available in the community and allows to speed up development processes.
Apart from the mentioned Vue Storefront and OMS integration that were strategic for this project, Trobos had the external vendors’ systems running (among others) on Oxid or Navision integrated. Email automation is run on two separate applications – Mailerlite and Mailgun, whereas OPAY has been chosen as the payment gateway. Such a complex system requires a flawless issue tracking system. In this case, Sentry has been chosen as the most suitable fit.
When launched, Trobos offered 26k different goods, so it is quite safe to estimate the number of files and images is at least twice as large. To deal with such a quantity, Trobos applied Google Cloud’s Storage buckets.
Additionally, Trobos’ infrastructure runs on Google Cloud’s solution for Kubernetes – Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). Agne Žilionytė-Jusel assures so far they have not encountered any issues with configuring, deploying or running Sylius on GKE.
Sylius is an e-commerce platform which has a lot of features inside. If we need any feature extra, functionality can be extended easily.
Both Trobos and Adeo Web representatives confirm Sylius is an e-commerce platform able to face any architectural and functional challenges due to its utter flexibility.
The possibility of using it as the underlying framework governing the logic of all of the other add-ons and functionalities provided this unique marketplace project with freedom of designing it exactly as it was planned in an extremely short amount of time. It also allows future development, as the modules can be added on top or easily exchanged if a need arises.
As for now, Trobos reports their vendor list has already grown from the initial 10 to 25, whereas the product list extended by almost 40k units, to over 62k unique items in less than 6 months from the go live.
To sum up, Trobos.lt is now one of the key references of headless Sylius implementations with Vue Storefront. Both technologies are among top 10 open-source e-commerce projects on GitHub and both originate from Poland, which makes us super proud.
As everyone in the industry, we’ve been waiting for Vue Storefront 2 (previously called “Next”) – the new, platform-agnostic version of this great PWA solution. The very moment it was launched the strategic decision was made to integrate it with Sylius.
The development is already under way so make sure you are the first to find out about any updates!