Archiwum kategorii: Article

Mobile app in the omnichannel model

During the last couple of years the shopping process, as well as shopping triggers have changed. The customers often use a mobile device for shopping or searching for products. They expect to be in constant touch with the brand and consistent experience through multiple sales channels. A mobile app integrated with e-commerce system becomes an important channel. In this article, we present selected features of the mobile app taking as an example – the store for football lovers in Poland.

Customers open push notifications more often

Push notifications are the messages sent via mobile app to the customers’ devices. Around 80% of target receivers open push notifications. This is because the solution is an answer to the current needs of the customers, who like to be in the uninterrupted contact with the brand. If the customer downloaded the mobile app from App Store or Google Play, it means that he or she would like to be able to check the offer of the brand at any time. They are also interested in company’s business.

The administrator can decide what kind of content he or she would like to send and choose the target group. Everything via e-commerce system. This solution makes it easy to inform the customer about the change of order status or to send a defined group of users a message about the additional discount or interesting form of sale.

Push notifications can be also helpful in decreasing the number of abandoned carts. The administrator, through e-commerce system, can receive the database of persons that have given up the purchase, and with push notifications send them an invitation to re-check the offer.

Check online and buy offline

It’s not rare that the customers prefer to find the product online before making a decision to buy one. Therefore, they can check its parameters or opinions of other users. Next, they finalize the purchase at the salon of the brand. This process is called the ROPO effect.

By connecting warehousing for online and offline stores, there is a possibility for customers to check the product availability in the particular salon through the mobile app. It is a very comfortable solution because they are sure that the goods they are interested in are available in the chosen traditional store.

See offline and buy online

The mobile app, equipped with a barcode scanner, is a solution which efficiently connects traditional and online sales. This feature is especially helpful in a situation when there are no desired sizes available or when a customer wants to know the additional parameters of the product. After scanning the barcode, the mobile app will display a product tab in the online store. The customer can read the detailed description of the product or make a purchase in online store of the brand. Mobile app for e-commerce system, along with the barcode scanner, is an effective solution for sales support.

Click&collect service in the mobile app

Click&collect service enables shopping through the online store and collecting the order in the chosen localization. Typically, the places where customers can pick up products are the brand’s traditional stores.

Implementation of the click&collect functionality requires a particular software and coherent warehouse management for online and offline. For the customers, it is a comfortable form of shipping. He or she can collect the product at a convenient time. The click&collect service can be an efficient way to increase sales, as the customer, while picking up the order, very often makes an additional purchase.

Consistent data in multiple sales channels

When making a decision to implement the mobile app one should remember about the integration with e-commerce system. Hence, all data about product availability, prices, methods of payments and delivery will be the same as in online store. Moreover, if anything changes in the e-commerce system, it will be automatically updated in the mobile app with no necessity to send those changes to App Store and Google Play. Mobile App integrated with the online store, with the features that enable development of the omnichannel model, is the answer to the demands of the customers and a way to efficiently build a bond with the customer.

I want to read about other features of the R-GOL’s mobile app

The summary of Q3 2017 at i-systems

July, August, September have passed. Hence it’s time for the next summary of the third quarter of 2017 at i-systems. The holiday months did not affect the pace of development of the organization.

New projects

Two companies made a decision to implement the system. One of them sells services using e-commerce and the other is engaged in a wide range of activities: from high-quality bathroom fixtures to home furnishings such as furniture, carpets, blankets, bedspreads and bathrobes to sports equipment. The mentioned system will allow sales in B2B and B2C model.

Another five companies invested in conducting a business analysis. Among them there are manufacturers of glass, electronics, as well as distributors of shoes and children’s articles.

Systems for the customers operating in furniture, interior and garden equipment sector, as well as those representing fashion industry, had its premieres. One of them was Vistula Group S.A. The project included the implementation of sales systems for three brands – Vistula, Wólczanka and W.KRUK. After a successful implementation, the company signed a contract with i-systems for further development.

The first stage of the new online system for W.KRUK is already behind us. Now it is time for systems’ development. We have plenty of interesting ideas, which will be put through systematically – commented after implementation Bartosz Twardosz, e-commerce manager at W.KRUK. 

Trends in system development

One of the trends that will significantly impact e-commerce will be m-commerce. However, it will not be understood as having a mobile website or using Responsive Web Design (which is a widely used standard in 2017). It will rather be understood as the combination of sales systems with the mobile application and the use of this connection as the next step in the implementation of the omnichannel strategy through retail networks. Currently, such work is being performed for one of i-systems customers.


Strategic development of the organization

With the rapid development of the company, the demand for professionals grows. Twelve months ago, i-systems employed 57 people. Today this number has risen to 93. It is because the company was joined by 18 men and 18 women, of whom 12 new people were employed in the third quarter.

Keeping in mind the development of IT professionals’ local market, „Vacation with Programming” – a course for beginners in programming – was organized at the end of July. Several people, who stood out of the crowd, were chosen to participate. Then, from the 13 topics available, participants chose the ones that were most interesting for them. For the next two weeks, our specialists shared their knowledge of, for instance, MySQL, Webservice and unit testing.

In order to optimize and facilitate the implementation work, a decision was made to divide the departments responsible for each stage into micro teams. From now on, each team is run by a Project Manager or Support Manager and consists of testers and programmers and any other required persons to perform the tasks. More information on the new work organization and its impact on customer solutions will be published on the i-systems blog.

Internal projects for quality improvement

The internal Research & Development team has been working on i-systems software long-term technology development projects. One of the issues is Continuous Integration, which means merging the results of the development team’s work to the main repository. Thanks to CI, the customer will have constant access to the latest version of the system, it will also increase the efficiency of the developers’ work and database security.

R&D team works also on the new desktop application. This project is based on the latest Angular framework. This client application communicates with the store via the REST API. The project is built independently of the server and the only common line of communication is API, which makes development and maintenance of the application more efficient. Separation of the backend and frontend will make introducing changes faster and easier. Angular, a powerful JavaScript framework, allows building web, mobile and desktop applications. Applications built in Angular consist of components, services, directives and other available solutions. Angular uses dependency injection and module division, allowing developers to have greater control over the responsibility of individual application components. The most popular tool for building mobile applications is Ionic, which is created in Angular itself. Ionic is a rich framework for building hybrid mobile applications, that use the power of native features and a mix of web technologies like Angular, SCSS and HTML.

The work of R&D team is aimed at improving the quality of delivered solutions.

Selected awards

In the last three months i-systems has been awarded twice. In the plebiscite, organized by the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Gliwice and the Marshal’s Office of the Silesian Voivodeship, i-systems company was honored with the title „Marka Śląskie” [Silesian Brand] in the Service category. In September, i-systems received the title of „Ambassador of the Polish Economy” in the 9th edition of the competition organized by BCC.

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Vistula Group S.A. and W.KRUK S.A. with a new e-commerce system created by i-systems

Vistula Group S.A. is a company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. It specializes in the design, manufacture and distribution of men’s and women’s clothing. Due to the dynamic development, Vistula Group S.A. successively develops its e-commerce activities. Cooperation with i-systems has resulted in new dedicated sales platforms for Vistula and Wólczanka. The project also included implementation of a new e-commerce system for W.KRUK, the oldest jewelry brand in Poland, managed directly by W.KRUK S.A. – a part of the Vistula Group S.A. Capital Group. The i-systems company is responsible for all technological works.

Business analysis

The scale of the project and its level of advancement made it necessary to start work from business analysis. This particular type of examination of the current IT architecture has identified key processes, actors, and areas for the company. It also determined points which are worth to develop in order to achieve even better business results. The result was a document that laid the foundation for the implementation of all three systems. This stage took i-systems analysts team a month of work.

– The analysis showed the possibilities of the new system and defined a preliminary work schedule. At the same time it was flexible enough to correct a plan, for example by adding new options at the stage of implementation. It is important to stay open for new options during such large implementations – says Aneta Kazanowska, e-commerce Manager at Vistula Group S.A.

Effective implementation process

Development works started immediately after the business analysis stage. A team dedicated to the project was created, which included people responsible for each area (analysis, UX, frontend, price policy, integration, import, omnichannel solutions, etc.). The number of the team members was flexible throughout the whole process. All the design and implementation works for three brands were made in less than three months and ended according to the schedule. The new system for the company was launched in three stages. The first online store to be launched was Wólczanka, then Vistula, and the last one was e-commerce system for W.KRUK.

– It is one of the largest e-commerce implementations in Poland, which took such a small amount of time. It is worth appreciating the involvement of the customer’s team in the project – comments Marek Pawlak, Project Manager at i-systems.


Omnichannel solutions

The Vistula Group has a rapidly growing network of stationary stores. It currently has 370 showrooms, with a total sales area of 30.9 thousand sqm. (including 118 Vistula stores, 116 Wólczanka stores). W.KRUK jewelry chain has 106 boutiques. Therefore, the implementation of multichannel solutions was immediately taken into account. These are for instance: the ability to check online the availability of products in the store, the ability to order home delivery products while shopping at a stationary store, a consistent customer loyalty program – regardless of the place of purchase, or advanced inventory management.

New systems in the long-term perspective

Immediately after the launch of the e-commerce system, the Vistula Group, W.KRUK and i-systems signed agreements for further development. The agreements cover Service Level Agreement, dedicated cloud infrastructure, and post-implementation support.

– The first stage of the new version of e-commerce system in W.KRUK is already behind us. Now it is time for the development of the systems. We have a lot of interesting ideas, which we plan to enforce – comments Bartłomiej Twardosz, e-commerce Manager at W. KRUK. 

More details about the implementation will be described in the nearest future in the form of a case study.

On the road to Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration is one of the twelve practices of Extreme Programming, applied during software development. It is a practice of merging the results of the development team’s work to the main repository. For modern e-commerce systems, it means a constant improvement of software and continuous development. Providing customers with new features and system updates more frequently is key to achieving competitive advantage.

Integration of subsequent code changes should occur at least once a day. Next, integrated versions of the code are covered by automatic tests, and then, after validation, they are implemented into the customer system. The main purpose of continuous integration is to increase team members’ efficiency because they have constant access to the current progress of work. CI also facilitates the prevention of possible errors. For customers, it means constant access to the current software version.

Process of Continuous Integration

All changes introduced to the repository by developers are tested automatically. First, unit tests are performed, that is, the correctness of code is checked. It is followed by code compilation process, the so called build, on which acceptance tests are performed. If errors are detected, the system immediately informs the relevant people assigned to the project. If the tests are successful, the changes are prepared for deployment and become candidates for introduction into the base version of the software.

The advantages of CI

Continuous integration has a lot of advantages. Firstly, the customer has always access to the latest version of the software. Secondly, the efficiency is increased by combining the development team’s work on specific projects, resulting in a significant saving of man-hours. CI also facilitates detection of possible errors and thus – quicker response to them. Also, when there is a need to withdraw changes previously made to the system, it ensures the security of the database.

Work on Continuous Integration is a part of a long-term vision of i-systems software development, which aims to systematically improve the quality of delivered solutions.

Log server – application in e-commerce

The term „log server” for many people probably sounds quite enigmatic. To fully understand what this term means, you first need to know the meaning of the word “log” itself.

Every service, part of an e-commerce application, such as a store application, particular modules, databases, web server, mail server, or integrations – generates logs. They are created automatically, chronologically and independently of the user. They are saved in text files describing the event.

Individual logs may also have different degrees of detail. A single entry may include: information about the date and time of the event, its type, the name and IP address of the user, download data, and a text description of the event.

The main use of logs is an analysis of the way information systems work. They allow to check server’s performance, detect system malfunctions, as well as create statistics and detect security breaches.

A modern e-commerce system consists of multiple distributed services and components physically located on different servers. This allows scaling of the system, but it has consequences – the logs of the operations are also scattered across multiple servers. Analysis of one problem is therefore extremely time-consuming. The log server cumulates all events in one place with full-text, advanced search engine and analysis tools.


Thanks to this solution, there is one machine for each system that transfers logs from all servers and provides a unified interface for their viewing. This facilitates the monitoring of the system’s condition. When it is necessary to check or analyze the operation mode of the system, both searching, comparing and graphing takes seconds because the logs are indexed. In the absence of log server, these actions can take several hours. That is why the log server is part of a modern e-commerce server infrastructure.

The summary of Q2 2017 at i-systems

Another quarter of 2017 has come to an end. As announced, we present the most important events from this period.

New projects

Over the last three months, six new projects have been started. The companies that decided to begin a cooperation with i-systems, operates among others in furniture, cosmetic, fashion and sanitary industry. A company from chemistry sector has decided to carry out a business analysis. This shows the broad spectrum of modern B2B e-commerce solutions.

At the beginning of the Q2, e-commerce systems for Vistula Group joint-stock company have been launched. The scope of works included new sales platforms for brands: Vistula, Wólczanka and W.Kruk. More information on those implementations will be published in the nearest future.

Trends in system development

Increasingly important in B2B transactions are tools that are typically associated with the B2C sales model. They can build the loyalty of the target customer as well as increase satisfaction from the daily use of the systems. Examples of such solutions introduced in the second quarter of the year in company’s customer’s systems are: the ability to create personalized price lists for wholesale customers, the optimization of order fulfillment in a furniture company or multicart module in a company specializing in wholesale of fasteners.

Another trend is the development of sales through the use of external network marketplace.

Strategic development of the organization

To continue the adopted strategy of i-systems development in the international markets, i-systems representatives participated in Retail Business Technology Expo in London. At the biggest retail fair in Europe, they exchanged experiences with foreign entrepreneurs and customers. Polish conference, E-commerce Summit, has shed a new light on the progress and development of e-commerce, and during the Marketing Forum, the future of e-commerce has been outlined. The above-mentioned meetings and conferences have resulted in new business contacts.

The company also develops employer branding activities. As a result of participation in job fairs in Q1, Career Days were organized in i-systems. During the meeting in April, jobseekers were not only able to see what the company’s life was like from the inside, but also talk to the current employees about their day-to-day work, as well as leave their CVs for selected job positions. These and other activities have made the i-systems team grow by 10 new people in the last three months. Further recruitment is planned.

Internal projects for quality improvement

At the end of May, training on unit tests was organized for employees. Participants learned new solutions for unit testing. Moreover, scenarios for testing the upgrades of the base version of e-commerce have also been completed. Both solutions increase the quality of software delivered to the customers and are part of a long-term vision of software development.

In the last quarter, a log server service has been launched. The solution is part of a modern e-commerce server infrastructure. It facilitates work on a system and raises security.

Selected awards

Over the past three months, i-systems has been awarded four distinctions. The company was placed among the fastest growing companies in Europe, the ranking was created for the first time by the Financial Times, in collaboration with the Institute of Market Research – Statista.

Being placed among the 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe gives us a sense of well-performed everyday work. We are doing our best to make a measurable impact on the development of e-commerce, not only in Poland. Being listed in the ranking of such a prestigious magazine as Financial Times is extremely motivating for us – comments Paweł Jaczewski, CEO at i-systems. 

Business Center Club awarded i-systems with European Medal. It is a distinction for companies with products and services which meet European standards and are innovative in the market.

The company was also honored with the title of Firma Dobrze Widziana [Goodwill Company] for its CSR activities. What is more, the i-systems research and development department directly contributed to the receiving of Innovation Initiator award. This contest was organized by the Newsweek weekly, and PWC was the content partner of the event.

We invite you to read another summary of i-systems events. The next one will appear in early October. Should you not miss the Q3 summary, we invite you to subscribe to the newsletter.

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Behat as the best scenario for software testing

Behat is a testing tool, which allows to apply behaviour-driven development (BDD). The basic premise of BDD is to get to know the expectations, needs and goals of the user, in order to create the software which meets all of these demands. BDD was created from a combination of unit tests (to test the correctness of individual components) and acceptance tests (to obtain confirmation of software quality).

BDD is based on the so-called scenarios, that describe the business needs of the software, which, in combination with a tool such as Behat, allows to automate the implementation process. The Behat tests, created by Konstantin Kudryashov, are written in PHP and they support communication between developers and any person using the software during the creation process.

Behat tests can be run on each stage of new code implementation. The first stage is creating feature file for given functionality, in which the scenario is placed. Feature should consist of: easy, clear language, .feature extension, benefits, roles and features of the given functionality.
For example:

Feature: Weather Module

In order to get the offer of the product matching my location,
as not logged user,
I need to be able to share my location on my mobile device.

Before starting works on a feature, it is important to talk to a business stakeholder because he may want to introduce rules or conditions for a particular feature. With this knowledge, there are no obstacles to start the stage of creating the scenario.

Each feature can be described by one or more scenarios, which are to explain the way the functionality works in different conditions. Scenarios follow a steady plan, which include scenario description, context, event and result, and they are written in special language, called Gherkin. By default, each scenario consists of three steps: Given, When, Then. For example, a simplified scenario might look like this:

Scenario: Display products from winter collection.

Given the user is in Aspen, when the temperature is -1℃, then the down jacket will be displayed.

This scenario can be further enhanced by the steps And and But. Similarly, the sentence above may look like this:

Given the user is in Aspen, when the temperature is -1℃ and it is snowing, then the down jacket will be displayed and Pom Pom Cup, but not swimsuit.

The above mentioned steps are nothing more than just PHP functions created with a keyword, regular expression, and callback function. The message in the scenario will be treated each time as a step. Steps define what should happen when one of the messages is triggered inside the scenario.

In the next stage, after defining the feature, scenario, and steps, an attempt is made to execute the scenario as a test with the bin/behat command, followed by a message that the test was successful or failed.

The same scenario can be run in different contexts, so different application environments can be tested.

Behat provides a simple, understandable and constructive conversation between a developer and a stakeholder, written in a structured format. Thanks to this, it can be determined what the functionality should look like before implementing it, and to make sure it is of the right quality. Behat also allows to automate checking its behavior under certain conditions. After successful completion of the test, the functionality works in the e-commerce system according to the assumptions used in the scenario.

Optimizing images on mobile devices

The i-systems offer has been extended to include another novelty – optimizing the size of the loaded images.

Until recently, all banners, graphics, and photos were loaded responsively, which means they scaled automatically by adjusting to the size of the screen. However, the size of the image remained the same, regardless of the device. For example: a large image was loaded onto a smartphone, hence the loading time could have been longer. In addition, Responsive Web Design has become a standard solution, so i-systems has made a further improvement.

At present, a change has been introduced, dedicated to loading photos of products, as well as any images in the online store, adjusted to a specific mobile device. This allows the online store to load much faster on mobile devices, because smaller images are loaded to fit the screen size.

The graphic depicts how the speed and weight of loading the 48 products in the category page are changing. In the case of a desktop category page weight of 2.7 MB, after optimization on a mobile device, it decreases to 0.5 MB, which means that the page weight is reduced by 82%. Similarly, the page loading speed changes, which in the case of the desktop is 3.37 seconds, and after optimization on the mobile device, it is 44% faster.

For high-resolution HiDPI screens, the so-called Retina, there is a significant improvement in image quality. In addition, there is the option of turning off quality to significantly speed up the store loading on these devices. The store administrator determines what is the priority when loading photos (quality or speed).

In the near future, the new solution can allow mobile browsers to decide whether to load sharp images (when connected to wifi) or poor quality, but faster (using 3G) or personalized phone settings.

The summary of Q1 2017 at i-systems

In the life of every business, also in this operating in the e-commerce sector, the beginning of the year is a very intense time. Here are the highlights of the last quarter in i-systems. The next summaries will be delivered each quarter of the year.

New projects

At the beginning of the year, 6 contracts were signed with the new customers for the implementation and development of the sales systems. Four of them are related to solutions for B2B sector. These companies operate in the fields of construction, cosmetic, marketing, as well as distribution for the chemical, petrochemical, energy industries and also food industry.

The work begins with a business analysis. More about i-systems business analysis can be found on our website.

Trends in system development

Based on the market observations and repetitive developments in i-systems, we will be presenting market needs and trends. In Q1 the connection between online and offline, as well as the usage of the omnichannel potential is the most important matter. At the beginning of the year, the functionalities that strengthen multi-channel sales were implemented, among others in: 5.10.15. or R-GOL, where the availability of the product at the stationary store can be checked through the online store.

Development of the organization

For the development of our own products and our customers’ systems, a larger team is needed. In Q1, the representatives of i-systems were present at the events of the Faculty of Automatics, Electronics and Informatics of the Silesian University of Technology, as well as at the Engineering Job Fair in Gliwice. Among other things, these activities led to the fact that in the first three months of this year, our team had grown by 12 people. The IT department and the software testing department has expanded the most. Further recruitment is planned, mainly in product and solutions departments at i-systems. Continuous recruitment allows for the development of software and creating new teams, designated for the implementation of specific projects.

Internal projects for quality improvement

The most important change in the first quarter is full support for internal processes related to the long-term work planning for our Customers. The resource planner is integrated with all company tools and internal workflow.


Planner allows reserving working time for customers who then take priority over work on the system. This tool is and will be used throughout all company work.

In February, a new version of the mobile app was launched. Its most important advantage is the constant connection with the e-commerce system and its management from the same panel. The new version is now available in App Store and Google Play. More can be found on i-systems blog.

New cloud resources are available for the current and new Customers. New disks and more powerful processors have been purchased, and the infrastructure has been replaced. In addition, the network has been upgraded to 10 Gbps. As a result, cloud support will be at a higher level.

In order to pursue the effective support for each sector of trade, i-systems has started the cooperation with the Polish Council of Shopping Centers (abbrv. PRCH). PRCH is the largest organization in Poland, associating over 240 companies related to the industry of shopping centers and shopping streets. PRCH is a not-for-profit association that has been operating since 2003 and it is a national partner of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

As a member of the Polish Council of Shopping Centers, we have many new opportunities. First and foremost, we want to show that it is possible to connect the online and offline worlds – states Krzysztof Jaciw, CFO at i-systems.

The first implementation of the e-commerce solution for the shopping center in the CEE region is FASHION HOUSE Online Shopping. More about this implementation can be found on i-systems website.

We invite you to read another summary of i-systems events. The next one will appear in early July. In order not to miss the Q2 summary, we invite you to subscribe to the newsletter.

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i-systems release – version 4.4

Another update of i-systems software, release 4.4, entails significant changes, this time in the structure of plugins. In addition, the ARMS module has been introduced, a couple of modules have been refactored, as well as previous versions of the system have been improved. Changelog in the case of this version of the system consists of 179 positions.

Plugin Migration

In this version of the system, plugins, such as payment and shipment, have been migrated to modules. Previously, they were part of the Plugins module. From now on, all deliveries and payments are made from separate modules, designed particularly for this purpose. They have common principles, their own installation files, translation languages, etc. The results of such migration are: much bigger transparency and development opportunities, as well as easier personalization.

ARMS Module

Account Receivable Management System is a system designed to support the company through effective management of accounts receivable, but also to prevent from the formation of overdue receivables, and their recovery.
In practice, a defined group of customers is created, for instance: “Trusted Customers”, “Premium Customers”, or “Blacklist”, and particular tasks are being assigned to this groups, along with the deadlines. Then, conditions are selected for those tasks. For example, reminder based on the fixed date of issue of the document, the total value of receivables, the amounts remaining to be settled, the amount of trade credit, as well as the payment date. This tool can be also integrated with other modules, which make it possible for instance to send payment reminders, automatically add a task to the calendar, or block placing orders. This solution is especially useful in the case of B2B companies.

Default Order Status Panel

A configuration panel in Order Status Module has been added to release 4.4. Each store has particular order statuses in system settings, such as new order, or canceled order. This status has its own ID, which is changed to another one – corresponding to the present order status when the update is made. The new solution will prevent any problem of improper queuing of stock levels and will facilitate order status checks.
This update of the system is also associated with the extension of installing files, and consequently – improved handling of multi-language fields in queries to the SQL (Structured Query Language) database. Refactoring of the Trade Credit module has also been completed, product images have been improved, and improvements have been made to the order edition.

The release is an update to the base version, on which the e-commerce system is based, to which new functionalities are regularly added. Thanks to the update, it is possible to develop the system and adapt it to the changing market. It is also possible to update dedicated solutions in subsequent releases.