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The Making of Ananas, a State-of-the-Art eCommerce Platform in the Balkans  

Industry

About the project

From zero to hero.

Nothing else so effortlessly sums up the story of Ananas, the region’s largest eCommerce platform. Starting off as just an idea in reaction to a growing trend, our client’s product quickly evolved into a viable platform to match some of the world’s top eCommerce players. Not only that, but it also opened the floodgates of opportunity to the Balkan region and beyond.

Challenge

One of the largest non-government employers in Serbia saw how much eCommerce boomed during the pandemic—and it got them thinking about their next move: building the biggest eCommerce platform in the Balkans. Their goal was to provide a unique user experience at every stage of the user journey, from browsing the products to ordering and on to payment and delivery.

On top of a superior user experience, this platform strives to achieve sophisticated design, outstanding user support, safe transactions, and on-time delivery. In short, a unique eCommerce platform that can stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the world’s biggest players in the field, such as Amazon. After working with Boston Consulting Group on creating a roadmap and business model on turning their vision into reality, Delta Holding approached HTEC to help them build on that momentum.

Solution

Our collaboration began with the creation of an MVP, which was built in under 9 months and released in mid-2021.

Alongside conducting a tech advisory, we made recommendations for a fitting foundation for the entire built-from-scratch product. Our product team worked closely with BCG’s consultants to design the UI, AU, and the entire look-and-feel of the Ananas platform, while also carrying out the entire product discovery.

These is what we sought to achieve on this project:

Owing to the scale of the endeavor and the need for a robust system, we opted to use a variety of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

We started off by laying the foundation using AWS EKS. Scalability was a major factor here, particularly as the client operates on a micro-service architecture and each micro-service needs to be able to scale independently of the others.

For this same scalability reason, we opted for AWS RDS and Aurora. Because our client has an extensive product portfolio and a rapidly growing customer base, a strong database was key to ensuring operations remain smooth. Meanwhile, the front-end of the application is supported by AWS CloudFront, while the application itself is stored on Lambda@Edge. This was done to improve performance and optimize use of the application. An action by a user on the rich, CloudFront-backed front-end is routed to the nearest Lambda when needed, thus reducing pressure on the application.

In order to enhance high throughput and optimize performance, we implemented AWS MSK, employing asynchronous communication and an event-driven architecture. This option aims to optimize and streamline processes, fostering improved efficiency and responsiveness within our system.

In addition, we utilized AWS SES for transactional emails and notifications, AWS S3 for file storage, AWS ElastiCache – Redis for caching of data, AWS WAF as a firewall, and AWS Cognito for identity access and management.

All in all, our aim was to build a product that allows our client to go beyond being just the go-to online marketplace in the region and beyond.


As true allies in battle, we empowered each other to continue in the same and even better regime of planning and organizing. Of course, although hurdles and crisis appeared throughout the whole transition process, we have always seen them as opportunities for growth rather than threats.

– Vojislav Mokrić

Engineering Manager at HTEC Group

Success

The world-class eCommerce platform distinguishes itself by: 

  • A plethora of goods across a variety of categories 
  • A superior and innovative user experience 

Customers in the region (and soon beyond) can now easily browse and purchase hundreds of thousands of various products without experiencing a hassle during ordering and delivery. On top of this, the solution offers a superb last mile experience and hundreds of different Pick-Up-Drop-Off or Locker locations for customers in Serbia. Also, since the platform is designed as a highly bespoke solution, its stakeholders can easily scale and customize their operations.

The client’s ambition is to internationalize the Ananas platform in several new regional markets and do something that’s never been achieved before: unite several smaller markets under one umbrella, despite the heavy regulatory work needed to do so.

Our deep domain knowledge of the entire ecosystem will help us continue to provide high value to our clients and empower them to make a difference in the local region and beyond.

The client’s mission extends to an entire ecosystem consisting of a marketplace, as well as retail, logistics, AdTech, and FinTech departments all in one. 


When you’re building something as big and spectacular as this platform, then you need a strong, stable, and well-organized team. Although we’re still in the beginning and there’s a long road ahead of us, I’m very happy that we succeeded in building an excellent base thanks to the professional collaboration and mutual understanding we have. Together, we’ve learned a lot, and great successes are yet to come.”

– Bela Klašnja

To learn more about how we helped our client achieve great success in the world of eCommerce, read Building the Largest eCommerce Platform in the Region from the Ground Up.


Let’s take the first step together.