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How Virtina’s engineering and prototyping helps businesses to win

virtina case study on engineering and prototyping

Virtina is all about creating products that can withstand a rugged road and win the race! Read on to find out how and what role prototype plays in the game.

“Business, today, is like a car rally” Gigi starts off. After all, all businesses are racing on a rugged road with poor visibility. As if that’s not challenging enough, ecommerce businesses are even bigger and faster. One thing that sets ecommerce apart from other types of companies is that changes come about often and fast – both big and small. All these changes can muddy the road even further.

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The world seems to agree with Gigi. Ecommerce can be a brutal race where businesses speed off to beat the competition. But the thing with this race? It pushes businesses to make rash decisions and creates the kind of competition where a small mistake can be fatal. That’s why we were fascinated to hear how Virtina uses Justinmind’s prototyping tool to offer their clients the kind of engineering that can save entire companies.

For ecommerce businesses, there are three key requirements that can carry you to the finish line:

  • A great driving team: the marketing team
  • The right engine: the ecommerce platform
  • An awesome pit crew: the engineering team

The engineering team is where Virtina comes in. It offers the entire package, from strategy and design all the way to integrations and optimization. Gigi is proud to say that Virtina acts as a pit crew that leaves platforms humming and ready for any digital road. And the need for a reliable pit crew has never been bigger.

How Virtina helps clients to win races

While all three are important to a successful ecommerce business, the platform simply cannot be overlooked. As awesome and expensive as Ferraris are, it’d be madness to enter one in a car rally. Similarly, you don’t list your Mustang in Formula 1. Having the right platform goes to ensure that you’re properly equipped not to just beat the competition, but to truly succeed.

Precisely because so many ecommerce businesses collapse in a ball of fire, creating the right platform is of absolute importance. That’s why it can be a serious mistake to delegate the responsibility of the platform to a marketing agency or department. This can lead to systems and platforms being chosen for the wrong reasons, ultimately resulting in ecommerce websites that simply don’t get the job done.

engineering new products at virtina

Virtina takes a different approach. Working in close collaboration with the marketing department of the client as well as software service providers, Gigi and his team aim to deliver a platform that is truly efficient. No loose screws.

There are those who say that the high failure rate of ecommerce is mostly due to the sheer amount of startups out there. After all, with so many of them it’s only natural that most don’t make it, right? Gigi and the folks over at Virtina see some truth in that, but recognize that there’s much more at play in the ecommerce race.

For Virtina, investing a lot of care and effort into the planning of the platform is non-negotiable. Even though putting an ecommerce website together can be done relatively easily and quickly, there’s no shortcut to the finish line.

Changing the game with Justinmind: a real example

Gigi is proud to share that Virtina closed a deal with one of the largest retail chains out there, using Justinmind’s prototyping tool. Their original project had been in the works for two years but had struggled to make real progress with a consulting company. Once the retailer went to Virtina, things changed.

Using carefully calculated analysis of workflows and relying on a solid prototyping tool, Gigi and his team at Virtina managed to put the entire project together and deliver the necessary documentation for development. All of it, within three months.

the development process for new products at virtina

Interestingly enough, the client took all this documentation to the same consulting firm. Their estimates were that development would take about 9 months. Virtina developed the entire product and brought it to life in 45 days!

This goes to show just how fast things can move now in the world of ecommerce and customer-faced solutions. The race forces cars to move at 300 miles/hour.

“But what happens when you’re driving really fast, but not carefully? Speed kills.”

That’s why planning and strategy are so important at Virtina. When you’re going that fast, every little move matters. For Gigi, it’s all about striking the right balance between the need for speed and the need to calculate every move. Generally, the first task is getting the people in the business to understand the importance of sound engineering for their website. It’s not a brochure that is being made – it’s the business itself.

The Virtina process and powerful prototyping

Even though Virtina has helped so many businesses to build their platforms and win the ecommerce race, it’s important for them to approach each new project with curiosity and humility. This mindset forces the folks at Virtina to dig deep and learn as much as possible about that specific business.

gathering requirements and prototyping at Virtina

This initial stage, the discovery, is absolutely key. This is when Virtina takes the time to look at the business through the point-of-view of the employees, the customers, the management and every other important stakeholder. Things like pain points and wish lists all come into play here, as Gigi carefully studies the company’s market and situation.

“We look at the business with four difference lenses: customers, prospects, stakeholders and employees.”

Once all the requirements have been gathered, comes the time to map out the next three years of the ecommerce journey. The objective here is to give the driving team a reliable road map for this particular race.

Once all this is done, Virtina creates a high-fidelity prototype of the website using Justinmind.

Prototyping function and speeding engines

When Gigi says high-fidelity, he doesn’t necessarily mean fancy visuals and carefully placed logos. At Virtina, the name of the game is functionality and efficiency. In fact, the visual aspect of products is intentionally capped at 40% to 60%.

“I know Justinmind can do much more” he says with a smile. The truth is that his focus isn’t on the look of the website, but rather the strategy and the nitty-gritty of business. “We capture all the features and requirements – all of it!”

That’s when the power of Justinmind’s prototyping tool shines bright. Clients are free from having to imagine the final outcome. There’s a concrete and tangible prototype of their platform in front of them. It can be done for a low cost and within a short period of time.

why virtina uses and trusts justinmind

That’s a part of why Virtina started using Justinmind years ago and has never looked back. Having these prototypes eliminates any possible communication gaps, giving clients something real that they can interact with. Among the many benefits of having these prototypes, Gigi points out that it takes out any possibility of having the wrong scope for the project.

“This helps us to talk about the time and cost (of the project) very accurately.”

Prototyping and ecommerce are a combination for the ages. Gigi and folks at Virtina have been helping ecommerce for nearly 10 years now, and their approach has proved itself over and over again. “I wanted to do ecommerce differently,” says Gigi “I wanted to bring some good old-fashioned software engineering practices into the mix”. And we’re so happy he did.

“If the industry is failing at 98%… I want to flip that upside down!”

By approaching ecommerce in the same way they would a complex enterprise software, Virtina removes a lot of human errors from the entire endeavour. The requirements, for example, are a major milestone that simply can’t be ignored when creating an ecommerce website – and yet, many try to. For the folks over at Virtina though, the requirements and the planning that they entail is a pillar for any stable platform.

requirements module inside justinmind's prototyping tool

In fact, that’s one of the main things that attracted them to Justinmind. “I remember we looked at other prototyping tools at the time… and it just wasn’t good enough” he admits. The ability to write and catalogue the requirements right in the prototyping tool creates a smooth workflow that allows for planned moves and truly great engineering.

The bottom line: Virtina uses Justinmind to create websites that withstand the rugged road

Virtina offers a crucial service that can make or break any ecommerce company out there. It’s not just about putting a website together but creating a platform that is functional, adaptable and reliable. Quality engineering that could secure complex internal corporate tools, but applied to ecommerce platforms, results in products that make a difference in the market.

Armed with Justinmind, folks at Virtina feel empowered to study and create prototypes that reflect the company and its market. With these high-fidelity prototypes, everybody wins – except, maybe, the competition that is forced to eat dust as Virtina and its clients speed to the finish line.

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Rebeca Costa
In-house writer, usability enthusiast and patron of all sleep-deprived designers