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Being competitive by the second on e-commerce

· 3 min read
Luis Silva

A real-life scenario where Feature Flags minimized revenue impact by allowing on-time behavior change.

It is a widely known fact that technology has been a huge contributor to globalization and, also, to the fastest pace we have ever seen on almost every business type.

From weeks to negotiate and buy a car to a few minutes, few clicks to achieve the same goal, or a company having a couple of weeks instead of a couple of years to catch competition innovation before losing customers, being a step ahead of the competition or react in little time is crucial for achieving great results.

Although this reality was firstly seen on software products, as in-person business types started to move to the internet most of the industries also moved into this fast-paced business world. One of the first and most impactful business types to adhere to this reality has been retail, transforming e-commerce as one of the most important and high revenue online business areas, hitting $4.9 trillion of revenue in 2021 with a forecast of $7.4 trillion in 2025.

Market Launches and Sales

With online stores being accessible with a few clicks, and with price comparison products that easily provide the prospect customer with the best store to buy a specific product, it is as fast to drive extra revenue through a sale and steal market share from the competition, as it is to be passed by them for the same reason.

Sales season is a great example of a complex process where any delay can cause millions in revenue loss. With global presence, the same e-commerce company needs to comply with each country's sales regulation which might impact different start and end dates and specific rules. For international companies, multiply this by over 100 countries and we can start to understand how complex this operation can be.

As on any software product, applying a behavior change demands deployment of a product update and, depending on the complexity, this process can take several minutes or hours - if everything goes as expected - or even more, if somehow something fails on the process or if a bug is introduced, causing a roll-back to happen and a new subsequent deploy. Now imagine this deploy process for every country, on different dates and we can clearly see the revenue impact of these delays.

What if we could abstract all this process into a single click of a button with no delay?

This can be easily achieved using Remote Flags.

By creating different feature flags for each country's sales, development teams can attach different behaviors for each of the flags way before the sales dates. As an example, the change of behavior applying price changes and featured products with highlighted discounts for the UK market is attached by the development team to the “Sale UK 2021” feature flag.

With this development, together with Remote Flags easy to use interface, the development team is able to timely prepare all the necessary changes to the product and deploy ahead of time, leaving to the business, product or sales manager the simple task of changing the “Sale UK 2021” feature flag from Off to On, instantly applying the changes for UK visitors at 00:01 of the first sale date.