Working With TrustPilot: Building Trust in the Online World
Client Profile: TrustPilot
TrustPilot is one of the fastest growing IT companies in Europe providing a platform for customer reviews of online experiences. Founded as a startup in 2007 by a team of international entrepreneurs the Danish company partners with customers and businesses to facilitate authentic, transparent and independent reviewing of online shopping experiences, services and websites. The TrustPilot community has so far contributed over 6 million reviews of more than 70,000 companies.
Beginnings of a Partnership
Software in Practice
– Adobe Photoshop
– Microsoft .Net
– Mongo DB
– MS SQL Server
– Angular JS
– Selenium Since 2007 TrustPilot has seen rapid growth in Europe as more customers and companies embrace the importance of authentic reviews from an independent platform. Through TrustPilot, customers shopping online can post reviews about the product and online merchant which are verified and collected independently by TrustPilot for analysis. On the merchant side, TrustPilot provides a range of services and analytics for online businesses to get the most out of customers reviews and improve their products and services. When GraphicPeople partnered with TrustPilot in 2012, the latter was struggling with the pressures of its own success. Increasing number of customer reviews and the need to provide additional features to its business clients prompted TrustPilot to seek expertise in revamping their core technology infrastructure. In what was to be a partnership driving annual growth of 200-300% for TrustPilot in the coming years, GraphicPeople boldly took on the role of overhauling TrustPilot’s core system architecture. Starting with a 2-member TrustPilot team in Dhaka, the past two years has seen exponential growth for the review portal, several fold increases in the size of the GraphicPeople team, new features in the TrustPilot platform, and an immense potential for breaking new ground in the online reviews market.
Catering to TrustPilot’s Vast Customer Base: The Challenge
TrustPilot’s coverage of reviews in the e-commerce domain involved thousands of online shops, which in turn had millions of customers browsing through their websites. Accommodating the increasing traffic, addressing the demand for additional features as well as having a flexible system that could support continual development in future were the main challenges facing the GraphicPeople team. In response, the team proposed a new core architecture powered by the latest web technologies which was scalable to future traffic projections and could easily support expansion of the core architecture for adding new features. At first, the TrustPilot team in Copenhagen were a bit skeptical about the proposed overhaul before since none of its team members had worked on such a large overhaul and did not have the technological resources to go through with it. They asked for a pilot project on a smaller scale, were pleased with the results, and finally gave the go-ahead for the system overhaul.
GraphicPeople’s pool of web experts and the studio’s experience in software development helped in overcoming the challenges that came along the way. The TrustPilot team in Copenhagen did not have prior experience with the proposed technologies for the upgrade, so ensuring buy-in and putting both teams on the same page was important even before the first click. As different parts of the new core system were developed there were release management issues in the testing phase as security and deployment permissions lay solely with Copenhagen. Sharing virtual production and development ‘environments’ for beta testing purposes was also an initial challenge, so workflow and deployment timelines for both the Dhaka and Copenhagen teams needed to be synchronized.
How GraphicPeople Helped
– GraphicPeople’s knowledge and experience enabled complex upgrade of core TrustPilot architecture.
– Implementation of latest web technologies and industry practices drove 200-300% growth over two years.
– 50 APIs developed each quarter to give businesses greater options and more in depth analytics on customer reviews. Gradually building trust with the Copenhagen team, these productivity issues were soon ironed out and a new core administration system was put into place. The previous aging architecture was discarded and the best industry practices were implemented ensuring scalable system capacity in terms of increasing traffic and adding new features. By this time traffic through TrustPilot’s platform was already heavy: about 10 million monthly website hits from customers and 300 million monthly hits on the widgets accessed by businesses, all going through more than 500 servers. Efficient workflow ensured that the two teams in Dhaka and Copenhagen did not have to wait for each other to deploy and test new applications and there was enough ‘space’ in the virtual testing environments for both teams to work simultaneously. In a few months all infrastructure and compatibility issues were resolved.
“We had to be careful and confident because the core architecture is the most important part of the whole platform – the heart of the system”, says Mizanur Rahman, Development Manager for the TrustPilot Dhaka team. “We had to build a system where we could continually add value and features to help TrustPilot’s customers keep pace with the constantly changing environment of the internet. We also needed to address the needs of online shoppers so that they could depend on the reviews of a TrustPilot reviewed site.”
A Partnership of Productivity
GraphicPeople is proud to be associated with one of Europe’s fastest growing, and most trusted, online startups. Helping TrustPilot expand has meant growth for GraphicPeople also. What began with a 2-member team in Dhaka sharing 20% of the work with the TrustPilot team in Copenhagen, has now grown to a 22-member offshore team which shares 50% of the development and management of the core system. The team spends more than 3000 man-hours per month adding new features to the review platform to give more options and flexibility to customers. About 50 new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are developed each quarter through which businesses can get access to a range of analytics on customer feedback. “As more people do their shopping through the internet, credibility and trust becomes an important driver of sales and customer satisfaction” says Imtiaz Ilahi, Managing Director of GraphicPeople.
“We feel privileged to help build that trust with millions of customers through a client like TrustPilot.” The partnership promises continuing growth for the future. By the end of 2014 the Dhaka team plans to transfer 80% of the workload offshore from the Copenhagen team and eventually do all of the system management work in Dhaka. It also plans to double the size of the Dhaka team to about 40 members and move all API development to Dhaka. These initiatives will help TrustPilot tap the one million e-commerce websites in the US market alone as more customers around the world shop through the internet.
© GraphicPeople 2016. This case study is for informational purposes only. GraphicPeople makes no warranties, express or implied, in this case study.