12 min read · May 19, 2023

Sendcloud

Sendcloud

Decoders assisted in building scalable e-commerce solutions. We contributed to implementing many new features and technical improvements to the return platform.

Most of our efforts were focused on apps that could increase the main source of revenue. Sendcloud saw in their own statistics that their return shipments were lagging behind the shipments. So, there was work to be done. Our task was to improve the solution and get sellers to use Sendcloud's return solutions. A large list of features and improvements was built to achieve this goal. Building these features included adjusting their public APIs and Vue applications to meet new requirements. Talking with stakeholders to find out what the MVP should be and building it quickly.

The return platform, which helps sellers easily and hassle-free accept return shipments, is used by millions of users per month across Europe. The shipping market exploded when COVID first struck, and the same was true for returns. However, the biggest boom had passed by 2022 and 2023. But thanks to innovation, growth continued within the return packages.

We started development in 2021, and after the introduction of features such as QR-code integration, smart return rules, and certainly paid returns, they were well received. The internal statistics, released in early 2023, showed that the total volume was still growing, but the return volume grew about 2.4 times faster. In 2022, the total return volume had increased by 103% [Sendcloud January 2023].

Together with internal stakeholders, we were constantly looking at how we could deliver as much impact as possible. It really shows that by building new features, such as a manual return solution for sellers, a pickup return integration, paid return connection with a payment service provider (Mollie), branding upgrades, and smart return rules (and much more), you convince more users to use your product.

Manual Returns
Added a way to give sellers the ability to set up complicated return shipments in the Sendcloud dashboard.
Label in the Box
Introduced new flows to create a return label directly from an order.
Smart Return Rules
Implemented many rules changing how returns should be processed and what they should costs
Paid Returns
Added a payment service provider for returns that must be paid by end-users
Branding upgrades
Create a branded header and footer with more styling options
Internationale retouren
Improved forms to support customs documentation for merchants and self-service customers
Paperless returns
Implementatie van een QR-code oplossing voor het retourportaal
Pick-up returns
Support for pick-up services that made home collection possible

Technical Upgrades

In addition to the feature, the technical aspect of Sendcloud's apps also received a significant upgrade. The technical setup moved from an odd mix of Angular and Vue 2 to Vue 2 JavaScript, to Vue 3 with TypeScript. The consistency of the front-end application was improved by developing and implementing a component library that was used in all front-end projects. Over the years, various development improvements have been made to ensure that front-end developers would have the confidence to deploy continuously and regularly and to quickly correct their errors.

E2e tests with Playwright
Removed Cypress and rewrote existing infrastructure to Playwright
Vue component library
Implemented and customised many reusable components to standardize how the Sendcloud UI is built
Typescript
Added TypeScript and assisted in the transition to implementing types
Visual regression testing
Implemented Percy's visual regression tools to prevent unwanted changes in styling

Frontend

Vue.js, Scss

APIs/backends

Python, PostgreSQL, AWS

CI pipelines

Gitlab, Percy, Playwright, Docker, Jest

Other

JIRA, Figma

As developers, we value collaboration among stakeholders. Development never works in a vacuum, and no developer can build the "right" thing without talking to users and the stakeholders who are supposed to use your software. Sendcloud understood that you have to start small and iterate quickly to create something good. The product and development managers gave the freedom to say no to scope creep and odd requests and allowed the teams to organize themselves. We collaborated with stakeholders, internal developers, and UX designers to realize many successful features. Thank you very much for the collaboration!

Johannes SandersDeveloper at Decoders
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