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Kohl’s taps automated platform to get apps to market faster

June 20, 2013

Kohl’s has implemented an automation platform so it can bring apps to market faster and continuously upgrade features.

Kohl’s recognizes the need to rapidly deliver new omnichannel features to online customers as the space continues to quickly evolve. By leveraging the Qubell Adaptive PaaS platform, the retailer expects to be able to accelerate its app development processes and to be able to update and deploy apps in near real time.

“Companies need to innovate faster – they simply need to create more features faster than they have ever had to do before,” said Victoria Livschitz, president and CEO of Qubell, Menlo Park, CA.

“They also have to operate in more channels because there is an explosion of devices,” she said. “Which means you have to have more development than before and it also needs to be synchronized across more channels.

“The omnichannel experience means that the same features and the same capabilities have to be available e to all channels. And that introduces unique challenges that the industry has never had to face before.”

Kohl’s operates 1,155 specialty department stores in 49 states.

Omnichannel experiences
The significant growth in mobile adoption in forcing companies to rethink how they develop and deliver software.

The challenge for retailers is how to get new features and services into the market quickly so they are not beat by their competitors or some upstart.

Kohl’s goal is to create a streamlined, end-to-end app delivery platform as part of its omnichannel initiative with the Qubell platform part of the initial implementation. The expectation is that this will speed up the delivery of ecommerce features and services.

The Qubell Adaptive PaaS platform is built on cloud technology. It will enable Kohl’s to engage in continuous app deployment, continuous testing and environment management as part of a continuous integration process for its omnichannel initiatives.

The platform will integrate with any technology stack chosen by Kohl’s.

Mobile is disruptive
Kohl’s new omnichannel streategy will enable it to adapt quickly to technology changes and provide app developers with fast feedback during the development process. New builds and code drops can integrated and tested in hours.

“Mobile is a piece of the bigger puzzle [for retailers], but it is increasingly a bigger part of the puzzle,” Ms. Livschitz said. “More and more consumers’ dollars are coming through the mobile channel and that is expected to increase.

“But more than just percentage of the dollars, it is also bringing new technologies and new paradigms,” she said. “It is creating diversity that they didn’t have before.

“So not only is mobile becoming more and more important, but it is also becoming a disruptor of the way development used to be done.”

Another challenge merchants face is working with outside companies on their development process as it can take a long time for these third parties to learn how to work the merchant’s services and technology.

To remove some of that friction, some merchants are investing in automation platforms.

An automated platform for app development can help retailers ensure the consistency, quality and reliability they need to speed up their processes.

“These companies are turning into software factories,” Ms. Livschitz said. “They have to allow new features literally every day.

“And they also are shortening the cycle time from when a marketing department comes up with the idea  and when it gets into the hands of the customer,” she said.

“Traditionally, it used to be years and then it was quarters. Now it has to weeks, sometimes days.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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