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How Returnalyze accelerates product development with CircleCI and AWS

Returnalyze, the Boston-based company that empowers retailers to take control of their returns, created its Intelligent Dashboard to pinpoint issues with products, customers, and suppliers, resulting in reduced returns and increased customer loyalty. Returnalyze’s software team needs to rapidly build infrastructure and development resources, including iterating and scaling as the business grows. Using CircleCI to create a CI/CD pipeline and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to scale infrastructure, Returnalyze is cementing its position as the retail returns domain expert.

Will Plourde
“We can move and react faster with CircleCI and AWS, and help our customers transform their businesses.”

Will Plourde
CTO at Returnalyze

The solution for rapid success: frequent product and feature releases

Returnalyze was created to solve a constant challenge for retailers: pinpointing exactly how returns impact a business’s sales and profitability. “Reducing returns goes directly to the retailer’s bottom line,” explains Returnalyze CTO Will Plourde. “We help retailers identify problems and address them swiftly, effectively eliminating unwanted returns caused due to product quality issues, shipping/packing delays, abusive customers, poorly performing suppliers, and more. This greatly improves the customer experience and reduces returns”.

To scale, Returnalyze needed robust infrastructure. “We needed to be able to move faster, and release multiple times a day,” Plourde says. Prior to using CircleCI, Returnalyze did not have a streamlined release process, which meant the company went as long as two months without a release. Those delays meant the development team couldn’t incorporate feedback quickly.

Incorporating user feedback, faster

To add speed and scale to its development pipeline, Returnalyze chose CircleCI. One of the key reasons, Plourde explains, was the ability to deploy and obtain feedback more rapidly. “We wanted to work with CircleCI because we could make changes to multiple schemas,” Plourde says. “We needed the ability to iterate in our app layer.” Considering the multiple stakeholders that Returnalyze needed to address, as well as serving the very largest retailers with hundreds of millions of product variations, CircleCI could help the development team accelerate release frequency and manage scale.

And by choosing AWS, Returnalyze gained the infrastructure needed to scale out horizontally, using Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Fargate. The company chose Fargate for its data pipeline. Returnalyze’s Intelligent Dashboard was built as a React application, where iteration and customization were most critical.

“That’s where CircleCI and AWS made the magic happen,” Plourde says. “We wouldn’t have been able to create the dashboard otherwise.”

CircleCI and AWS help Returnalyze improve the user experience

Plourde and the rest of Returnalyze’s development team want to ensure that users can focus on returns, not on struggling to figure out how to use the software. Getting the Returnalyze solution just right requires ongoing iteration, which CircleCI and AWS provide.

“CircleCI has become our release team,” Plourde says. “And AWS allows our devs to focus more on what they’re building, and less on managing infrastructure.”

Now that Returnalyze has the fast pipeline and robust infrastructure to power software development, the dev team can focus on next steps. In the works is a plan to integrate the Intelligent Dashboard with other applications that control workflows. Returnalyze users would get real-time recommendations generated by the AI engine pointing them to issues that cause high returns, as well as predictions of return trends, catching issues before they get out of control.

“When we release often, get feedback, and release again, we improve our value proposition,” says Plourde. “We can move and react faster with CircleCI and AWS, and help our customers transform their businesses.”

Benefits of CircleCI and AWS

  • Accelerated iteration and release schedule
  • Improved value proposition through faster feedback integration
  • Strengthened infrastructure in order to scale out new product features and support releases
  • Addressed product needs of multiple personas and audiences by easily scaling horizontally

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