6 Ways Team Extension Has Solved Bottlenecks in Retail

Photo of Radosław Szeja

Radosław Szeja

Updated May 28, 2024 • 13 min read
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Two out of three companies lack the know-how to equip their business with the right talent required to operate efficiently amidst digital acceleration and shifting market trends. The other third is embracing team extension.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed the landscape of the market undergoing significant transformations, fueled by digital acceleration and a lack of internal specialized talent. This shift has brought forth challenges and opportunities alike, which I believe has reshaped the way businesses operate and compete.

To grasp the magnitude of these changes, I invite you to consider these statistics: 59% of enterprises report experiencing a negative impact on their business due to talent gaps, while 70% of digital leaders assert that a skills shortage hampers their ability to keep up with evolving trends. Moreover, a striking 77% of businesses globally struggle to find the skilled talent they need to thrive in today's fast-paced environment.

The way I see it, digital acceleration lies at the heart of this transformation, driving the need for speed, agility, and niche talent. In an era where innovation cycles are increasingly compressed, businesses must swiftly develop and deploy solutions to remain competitive.

However, this urgency comes with its own set of challenges, particularly for startups. Research indicates that a staggering 70% of startups fail. I strongly believe this is often due to factors such as a lack of market demand, insufficient financial resources, and, crucially, a lack of expertise within the founding team.

This is why companies have turned to team extension, a model that addresses the evolving needs in today's market.

Team extension has been seen as a preferred model due to its ability to meet a diverse range of business bottlenecks. Whether it's scaling operations to accommodate rapid growth, adapting to shifting project requirements or exploring new product ideas, team extension provides the flexibility and agility necessary for success.

The strategy also offers tangible benefits such as increased efficiency, cost optimization, and reduced time to market, enabling businesses to validate ideas quickly and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

In the retail sector, in particular, the advantages of implementing team extension are manifold.

Scalability allows retailers to adapt to fluctuating demand, while flexibility ensures they can respond swiftly to changing market dynamics.

On-demand access to specialized talent empowers retailers to harness expertise in areas such as data analytics, marketing automation, search engine optimization, business intelligence, and user experience design, enhancing their competitive edge in a crowded marketplace.

At Netguru, we have worked with over 144 retail clients for more than 255 projects, providing both team extension and digital acceleration consultation. Here are six scenarios I’ve encountered with team extension being the answer to bottlenecks for our retail clients.

6 ways team extension has solved bottlenecks in retail

1. Ledbury | Accelerated development: Ledbury was struggling with merging its online and offline sales processes within a very short timeline. As they aimed to link retail points of sale with their e-commerce system, they required expertise in team extension in Ruby on Rails and Spree Commerce.

Netguru seamlessly integrated into Ledbury's development culture, ensuring efficient communication and teamwork. The collaboration resulted in the successful addition of functionality, enabling customers to be able to visit a local store, have measurements taken, ask a salesperson for advice, and then order any of the products online. Ultimately, this enhanced the user's shopping experience.

This innovation not only opened new sales channels but also contributed to Ledbury's revenue growth and expansion plans, including opening new stores and acquiring Creery Custom Shirt Makers. The client also doubled its development team by leveraging Netguru's pool of talented developers, fostering a long-term partnership for future endeavors.

“Netguru has been excellent to work with; we really appreciate how well the projects are managed and run. ” – Paul Watson, Ledbury Co-Founder

2. Artemest | Rapid growth: Artemest’s challenge was to rapidly scale up their virtual marketplace for curated Italian home décor and lifestyle art. With over 350 vendors and a growing product range, Artemest needed to maintain the platform's reliability and performance while accommodating increasing demand.

The client turned to Netguru to add team extensions to their existing development setup without disrupting ongoing operations. We provided a comprehensive solution, conducting a DevOps review and implementing upgrades to enhance scalability and security. The collaboration resulted in a seamless user experience that reflected the craftsmanship of the artisans while facilitating the growth of Artemest's community.

As a result, Artemest successfully expanded its services, introduced a new B2B trade channel, and garnered positive feedback from clients and the wider community, positioning itself for further growth and market expansion. The platform was also featured in Forbes, The New York Times, and Elle magazines multiple times.

“We definitely increased the pace of development. We’re now releasing many more features than we used to before we started the cooperation with Netguru." - Marco Deseri, Chief Digital Officer at Artemest

3. Otodom | Lack of specialized talent: Otodom’s bottleneck was meeting exceptionally high standards in product design, and struggling to find designers who could satisfy stakeholders and users. Netguru provided top-notch product design experts to augment their team.

Our experts seamlessly integrated into Otodom's operations, contributing to OKRs and strategy across various business teams. Through qualitative and quantitative research, UX/UI design enhancements, A/B testing, and workshops, Netguru's designers significantly impacted Otodom's metrics.

Results included a 116% increase in subscription rates, a 21% rise in email conversion, a 14% growth in logged-in users, a 13% increase in monthly sent emails, and a remarkable turnaround from -89 to +6,488 subscription acquisitions per month within five months.

This team extension demonstrated the ability to fulfill the lack of specialized talent for the client while delivering tangible, measurable improvements to their platform and operations.

4. OLX Motors Europe | Supporting internal team: OLX Motors Europe wanted to ensure a seamless experience and personalization for users, requiring both product design consultants and hands-on experts to aid their internal team's efforts. This is why they turned to Netguru for flexible team extension and design consulting services.

Our experts collaborated closely with OLX, contributing to product discovery, design sprints, and the implementation of best practices.

Results included a significant increase in conversions for C2C seller ad submission forms, a rise in sales leads, decreased listing creation time, and enhanced web form conversion rates.

The implementation of a price evaluation feature also provided users with valuable insights, resulting in high-quality experiences and efficient processes. Netguru achieved a remarkable 10 on the NPS score for the services provided, demonstrating the success of the team extension.

“As OLX Group experienced a significant increase in demand for design talent, we could count on Netguru to support us as a real extension of our in-house team. Their designers were embedded in our day-to-day, sharing the same commitment and focus to deliver impactful solutions to our customers.” - Victor Salciotti, Head of Product Design at OLX

5. Żabka | Quick MVP rollout: Żabka needed to quickly validate their revolutionary concept of addressing food waste, aiming to be the first in the market with such a solution. With pressure from competitors and difficulty finding top talent, they sought Netguru's team extension services for flexibility, talent on demand, and cost optimization.

We efficiently delivered an MVP feature for Żabka's mobile app, seamlessly integrating it within the existing architecture. The MVP was developed and connected in just six weeks, below budget and ahead of schedule.

The trial rollout included 55 stores in Poznań, with expansion plans. With automated notifications, users can now order sets of products at reduced prices before they expire, effectively preventing food waste at scale. The project also received an NPS score of 10, highlighting the successful collaboration and impactful results achieved.

“Netguru ensured we had a successful MVP within weeks and an optimized version for phase two — we’ve taken a big leap forward from a fine idea to a great feature and achieved it below the budget.” - Anna Miller, Food Waste Application Development Manager at Żabka

6. COSMO Group | Overcoming technological complexity: COSMO Group faced the challenge of creating a virtual try-on app for manicures to boost online sales by allowing users to test nail products from home.

They needed Netguru for team extension services to overcome technological complexity, the lack of internal specialized talent, and deliver a seamless user experience.

Netguru provided a self-organized team of experts to tackle the project's challenges, resulting in the Color Match NEONAIL app. The app allows users to try various nail colors, shapes, and patterns in real time, achieving a realistic 3D effect and facilitating a lifelike color transfer experience that supports COSMO Group's business goals.

The collaboration yielded a successful app launch, meeting all client requirements and enhancing user engagement.

“Building our virtual try-on app for manicures, we wanted the most realistic experience possible of testing nail products at home. Creating natural-looking, three-dimensional, colored nails in real time was challenging, so we took on Netguru because of their expertise in cutting edge technology” - Magdalena Bednarkiewicz, Senior Project Manager at Cosmo Group

Understanding the potential of team extension in retail

The way I see it, the evolving landscape of the retail market, driven by digital acceleration and talent shortages, has necessitated innovative approaches to address challenges and seize opportunities.

The concept of team extension has emerged as a strategic solution, offering retail businesses the flexibility and agility required to remain competitive in today’s market. The strategy has proven instrumental in overcoming bottlenecks, driving innovation, and fostering growth.

I strongly believe that if retail businesses wish to remain relevant in the industry, embracing models like team extension will be paramount. This approach not only aids in navigating the fast-paced market but also reflects a broader understanding of how IT outsourcing trends support growth.

Remember, as James Cash Penney, founder of JCPenney stores, once said: "Growth is never mere chance; it is the result of forces working together."

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Radosław Szeja

Engineering Lead | Retail at Netguru
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