Agile development of the Hehku webstore

”You can only launch once”

Well-being retail chain Hehku was formed in January 2018 as a joint effort between Kesko and Oriola. Hehku’s target is the growing health, beauty and well-being market in Finland. In addition to a chain of physical stores, Hehku also has a webstore which was opened to the public on the same day as the first brick-and-mortar stores. Bilot was responsible for the technical development of the Hehku webstore.

Agile working and decision-making

One challenge in the development process was that the Hehku brand and chain identity were still under construction at the beginning of the project. The chain identity, brand, and look and feel were developed at the same time as the technical development of the webstore was going forward. The technical architecture surrounding the webstore changed several times during the course of the project, although business objectives remained the same.

What’s more, hehku.fi is not just a webstore – it is also the website of the Hehku chain, where customers search for store locations, opening hours, and ongoing campaigns. A functional and smoothly-running site and platform were crucial to make the Hehku launch a success.

”Launches are always challenging, because you can only make a first impression once,” says Hehku Digital Sales and Services Director Taiju Jaatinen.

An agile way of working and decision-making made it possible to launch the webstore on time and on budget. Jaatinen thanks the Bilot team for technical knowledge and expertise which helped make decisions quickly, for example when narrowing down options. Continuous open communication and mutual trust were also key factors to success.

Bilot's comprehensive understanding of the processes and architecture involved in e-commerce enabled the team to build the basic functionalities of the Hehku webstore in under three months, and integrate them with existing solutions. Even a change in the back end systems in the middle of the project did not cause any undue problems due to an agile mindset where decisions could be made quickly and focus was kept on the end result.

Since launching, the development of the Hehku webstore has continued according to agile principles. Bilot's Helsinki and Poznan offices provide feedback and ideas for development; another important source of new ideas and continuous development is customers themselves. In the future, analytics and marketing automation will play an even bigger role.

"We were a bit too timid in the beginning. Now that the agile way of working has become more familiar, we've realized that iterative development is definitely the way to go. There's no point in endlessly polishing every detail before going live; functionalities can always be tested and improved in the next stage."
- Taiju Jaatinen, Director, Digital Sales & Services