From transactional to personal
Australian company Beem worked with Slalom Build to create a new cloud-native payment platform using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Called eftpos QR (eQR), it enables customers to scan a merchant’s unique QR code at the point of sale and pay with their choice of digital wallet, redeem gift cards, apply loyalty rewards, and save digital receipts. And that’s just the beginning.
Modern Application Development, Cloud Architecture, AWS Serverless Implementation, High-Performing Orchestration Engine, Cloud Development, Solution Ownership, Capability Development, Quality Engineering
AWS Lambda, AWS Step Functions, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), AWS Landing Zone, AWS Control Tower
Customer relationships, beyond the point of purchase
Imagine that you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop. You watch as customers ahead of you fumble through their wallets looking for debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards. You finally get your order in: a carafe of coffee for a work meeting and an espresso for—oh. Wait. You forgot your wallet. No problem! Using your phone, which you never forget, you scan the shop’s unique QR code at the point of sale (POS), and the screen reminds you that this is your tenth coffee so this one is on the house! With a few taps on the screen, you add a tip, approve the payment, and save the receipt to your digital wallet so you can email it to human resources for reimbursement later. Grab the coffee and you’re done. That’s the idea for eQR.
What if your digital wallet could do more?
Modern customers are digitally savvy and busy. They want technology that makes everyday tasks faster and easier. But convenience can mean managing another username, password, and security question, not to mention several plastic cards and printed receipts. Sometimes “convenience” feels like more work.
Enter Beem, by eftpos, a company focused on creating genuine convenience. Its digital payment solution already served more than 1 million customers in Australia, but it wanted to add a next level of service.
The idea: What if QR code use could expand beyond in-app and ecommerce to self-service kiosks, in-store checkouts, and cash withdrawals at ATMs to span the complete payment landscape for card transactions? The solution wouldn’t replace near-field communication (NFC) for tap-and-go or contactless payments, but it could add new possibilities.
Specifically, using QR codes would look like this: at participating merchants, customers exchange SKU-level data, striking up a connection that—instead of stopping at a one-time transaction—can grow into a long-term relationship. The customer can connect loyalty programs, gift cards, and multiple payment cards to the wallet, and ultimately store itemized digital receipts that can later be used for warranty services, refunds, or help with fulfillment issues. The result would be a seamless, secure, and tightly integrated experience. Instead of rummaging for multiple cards in a physical wallet, everything a customer needs to make a purchase lives on the cloud. It’s a simple QR scan away. And with no little plastic cards to misplace, no deals or sale prices are missed.
But to pull it off, Beem needed help to build a fast, secure platform that could integrate with any merchant’s POS.
About that “impossible” timeline
When teams at AWS heard about this project, they introduced Beem to Slalom Build.
We kicked off with a discovery workshop to better understand the Beem teams’ desired technical implementation and keys to success, which was to deliver a scalable, resilient, secure, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant platform that processes transactions on the double. We also learned that eftpos planned to launch the new platform in 12 weeks.
Understanding the reliable flexibility and scalability AWS offers, we knew quickly we’d take a cloud-native approach and transform what others had called an “impossible” timeline into simply a tight one.
We also introduced our Product Engineering Methodology (PEM)—a custom approach to modern Agile development that provides a repeatable framework for driving effective products with the highest quality and velocity. But our goal wasn’t just to race to the finish line. Rather, we set out to create something with Beem that could accommodate its long-term vision and growth in 2022 and beyond.
“We had a tight timeframe. Slalom Build said it was tight but not impossible…they came in on time and on budget—what more could you ask for?”
Dave Campbell, Director, Beem
Through the engagement, we helped upskill the Beem team in the latest technologies and workstyles. As Dave Campbell, Director at Beem, says, “Slalom brought that experience to us and educated our staff not just on AWS, but in making us better as an Agile delivery group.”
Together with the Beem engineering team, we successfully built an application on an AWS serverless stack with a secure PCI DSS compliant transaction mechanism for merchants and consumers in a highly available and scalable environment—all while keeping operating costs low.
Says Campbell, “We had a tight timeframe. Slalom Build said it was tight but not impossible…they came in on time and on budget—what more could you ask for?”
When the eQR platform launched in July 2021, Beem found it could achieve an estimated several billion transactions annually at a transaction per second (TPS) of 500 and a lambda P95 response rate of 60ms, while incurring an incremental, usage-based total cost of ownership (TCO). In a word: vroom!
Even better, a modern, microservices-based architecture allows Beem to roll out future features and functionalities faster, in a true iterative fashion, with a platform that is easy to enhance, maintain, and run.
Paying it forward
This is so much more than another app linked to your bank account. By creating a modern ecosystem with industry partnerships and integrations, Beem can provide a rich and personalized shopping experience for Australians. In fact, several merchants are currently trialing the platform.
And the work doesn’t stop there. Beem was satisfied with our delivery and collaborative approach as well as the capability and cost of AWS, and that means there’s more to come.
“[Slalom] didn’t just come in and say this is how you need to do it. They asked us, ‘What do you want to do—and where is your knowledge now?’ All in all, it was a great experience. We still use Slalom today,” says Campbell.
The delivery of the eQR platform sparked a relationship among all our teams that is based on mutual trust and is creating more exciting opportunities ahead. Some of the current and upcoming projects include:
- Develop eQR Phase 2
- Build a third-party FinTech ecosystem platform
- Expand participation and integrate more merchants and retailers
Beem also plans to integrate eQR with other products that can show customers realistic data on the global impact associated with their purchases, such as carbon footprint and water usage. This information can be used to educate customers about merchants’ commitment to sustainability.
At the end of the day, customer satisfaction isn’t just about exchanging money and moving through the line faster (although, we’ll have that too please!). Real fulfillment comes from more personalized and accommodating experiences where payments are easier, shopping can be convenient and conscientious, and loyalty is rewarded.
With Slalom Build expertise and AWS technology in its pocket, Beem is raising the bar for digital payments.