Editors note: Today we hear from Sergei Lega, enterprise architect at Leroy Merlin Russia, a retail chain specializing in the sale of products for construction, decoration and home furnishing. Read on to learn how Leroy Merlin is using APIs and API management to simplify how partners integrate with its services.
Leroy Merlin is expanding our network of retail stores rapidly in Russia, and as part of this expansion we are undertaking a digital transformation. Not only has this process tested our technological capabilities, but it also presents us with the challenge of transforming our mindset. To offer expanded services to our customers, we rely on a rich set of APIs and microservices created and managed in Google Cloud’s Apigee API Platform.
Leroy Merlin Russia sells products for construction, home decoration, and furnishing. As a DIY-focused retailer, we see a great opportunity for differentiating ourselves in the marketplace by expanding the types of services we can offer our customers beyond just the sale of our products. We currently have more than 70 partners around Russia focused on three use cases: window installation, kitchen installation, and professional building materials. These partners offer customers and building professionals access to services that enhance their Leroy Merlin customer journey.
But we wanted to make it even simpler and more seamless for customers to access these services. That required a clearly defined API strategy. We now offer a set of endpoints, built from microservices and exposed as APIs, that allow us to securely share pricing, inventory, and product information, along with payment services. These services let us connect our platform and services with all the third-party merchants in our ecosystem; they can easily get onboarded, and then upload and synchronize their product databases to the Leroy Merlin Marketplace quickly, and in a scalable environment.
Now, when a customer purchases windows online or from one of our stores, they can continue their journey by acquiring necessary measurement and installation services at the same time, even though these services might be provided by one of our partners. The same goes for kitchen installation, which typically requires a complex set of services like plumbing and electricity that the customer would normally need to source independently.
When Apigee announced its Istio integration in 2018, we knew that we could simplify and manage our exposure of microservices from an Istio mesh by adding API management capabilities via Istio’s native configuration mechanism. At the moment, we’re using Istio in a few Kubernetes instances, which makes sharing these services inside our development team—and our ability to consume them—much simpler.
Apigee’s API management policies and reporting can be applied to any service, so management policies such as API key validation, quota enforcement, and JSON web token validation can be easily controlled from the Apigee UI. In the future, we plan to extend Istio company-wide as a cornerstone of our microservices management, which will provide us with very granular control of traffic flows and access policies. It will also give us 360-degree monitoring and security capabilities, along with service discovery in a multi-cluster environment.
Many of our roughly 100 APIs are exposed to third-party developers, but some are exposed internally as well; we are working to make Apigee the focal point for integrations and new service development inside the company. As we continue to develop microservices and attract new developers to our marketplace, we are keeping a mindset of APIs as products, which reflects our customer journey-focused strategy. By the end of 2019, we expect to finish our developer platform and achieve full usability, and at that point we will really begin to scale our ecosystem and start to visualize concrete benefits for Leroy Merlin Russia, our customers, and our partners.
Our API journey is all about maximizing connectivity and agility with an API-first architecture in seamless partnership with our partners nationwide. So far, Apigee has been a great partner on this journey.