Jacob Rastad is one of those innovative CTO’s that is ahead of the curve and understands that building tech is all about building business. We had the opportunity to sit down with him and learn more about his tech philosophy at high growth company Nordic Nest and take a deep dive in one of their latest initiatives, a customer service application.

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Hi Jacob, tell us more about you

I’m currently the CTO at Nordic Nest, a leading e-tailer within the home interior space. Previously I’ve headed up the tech department at Outnorth, another e-commerce high growth company. It’s fair to say I like fast paced environments 🙂

What are your goals going forward at Nordic Nest?

We have recently reached the 1 billion SEK (100 million euro) milestone and will very soon hit the 2 billion mark. This growth will primarily come from our existing markets, our site is available in 10 languages although we ship products to over 70 markets. In my role I both lead the tech team (responsible for our systems and integrations) and operational team that is responsible for improving our operational efficiency, which often includes a lot of system support.

What’s your philosophy when building out your tech stack?

We believe in a Headless architecture and best of breed strategy where we invest in niche components that does one thing very well. We don’t believe in a monolithic approach as it stops you from making changes fast and also significantly slows down business growth. We need to support high volumes of sales. To give you an example, during Black Friday we had 5 orders per second! To be able to deliver a good customer experience while supporting that volume of orders, we need our systems to be highly scalable and responsive. It’s only the modern systems built with a MACH architecture (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-Native, Headless) that are able to deliver that level of scalability.

Learn more about MACH

What’s the systems in your stack?

Our current stack consists of; Occtoo (Data access and unification), Commercetools (E-commerce), Voyado (CRM), inRiver (PIM), Contentful (CMS), Apptus (On-site search and product recommendation), Bitlog (WMS) and Easycom (Return handling).

What are the benefits you get from using a Headless best of breed strategy?

You can adapt much faster to changes in the market. If a system is not performant enough or if we’ve outgrown it, we can just change that specific system without it affecting all other parts of our stack which would have been the case if we had gone for a monolithic approach. At Nordic Nest our speed and agility are our main success factor, our technical choices are always made to support that.

What is the downside of the Headless approach?

I’m not gonna lie, there are some downsides with this approach and it is not a good fit for everyone. It does demand technical know-how internally, and the biggest issue I would say is that data is scattered across different systems. That’s of course also the reason why I’m very impressed by Occtoo that ties all this data together in a very easy manner. I’m a bit mind blown about the vision of this product. Occtoo's Experience Data Platform really is the missing piece of the puzzle if you are building a headless/composable stack.

If you are building a Composable Stack you need Occtoo's Experience Data Platform to tie all data from different systems together

Learn more about Occtoo

Can you tell us about something you have built with Occtoo?

Yes, the first thing we have built with Occtoo is a customer service app. This app ties data together from 5 sources and we are in the process of expanding that to about 15 systems. This enables our team members to service customers both better and faster since they now have instant access to all data about the customer through one single user interface that’s made with React. Since most of our growth will come from existing markets, having customers returning to us is of the outmost importance. This app was developed to support that goal.

See case study

What benefits have you seen with the customer service app so far?

Our team members that have started using it really love how much faster they can service customers, since they have data from 5 systems all in one place, they don’t have to search several systems to find the information.  Since the Occtoo Experience APIs are lightning fast with a 200-millisecond response time the data loads instantly, creating zero friction in the search process. Many of the other systems are older so for each search it took several seconds to load the data, when you are supporting 400 customers a day per team member those seconds adds up and becomes frustrating. This app has removed both of these friction points.

What benefits did you see when using Occtoo to build the app?

I estimate it was 4x faster to build the app using Occtoo than if we would have done it the traditional way building many point to point integrations. I don’t know if the app ever would have been built without Occtoo, because too many other things had a bigger priority in our backlog. We would have lost the benefits in improved customer experience and employee satisfaction.

What are the next things you will build to improve customer experience?

That’s a good question we continuously come up with new initiatives since we want to be agile and fast. It’s the charm of working for a company like Nordic Nest. What I do know is that with Occtoo in our stack, I can sit in a meeting and feel confident that regardless of what idea comes up, we will be able to execute and build it fast when we have instant access to data through Occtoo. It’s really a game changer for us!

Want to learn more about Occtoo's Experience Data Platform? Read more here or book a demo today! Maybe you are working at an agency interested in reinventing how you build experiences for clients? Look into becoming a partner!

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About Occtoo

Occtoo is a Cloud-Native Experience Data Platform that supports retailers and brands to build relevant digital experiences and applications at rapid speed. Occtoo’s SaaS platform makes it easy to access and unify enterprise data from backend systems such as CRM, ERP, PIM, etc. and combine it with behavioral and contextual data to create relevant digital experiences that can be deployed in any channel or frontend in real-time at a global scale. Occtoo was founded in 2019 and has companies such as Cartier, Fjällräven, and Nordic Nest on their customer list. Occtoo is certified by the MACH Alliance.

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