BNPL Service 'Podeli': An IT Project from Scratch

Сinimex, an IT solutions developer, automated the 'Podeli' installment payment service from scratch. The project's implementation, from idea to launch and integration with partner systems, took just four months. The service is in high demand among retailers, as it helps increase the average check by 50% and the number of items per check by 60%, attracting more customers. The project team continues to enhance functionality and implement new options, opening significant sales growth opportunities for retailers.

'Podeli' is a BNPL (buy now, pay later) service that allows consumers to pay for goods and services in installments without interest, a fundamental difference fr om traditional loans. Additionally, BNPL schemes do not require any documents from the buyer.

'The BNPL tool's story began over 10 years ago with the Australian company Afterpay,' says Pavel Davidovsky, Marketing Director at 'Podeli'. 'The idea of the service is simple and clear: banks are complex and slow, but purchases still need to be made with "someone else's" money. BNPL requires no documents, lengthy processes, or bank visits. It's an accessible financial product that can be activated in two minutes, just by providing your name, date of birth, and bank card number. Based on this data, the service processes the application and makes a decision. Experience shows that the approval rate is over 90%. Instead of buying sneakers for 8,000 rubles that they have today, a customer can buy more expensive ones for 12,000 rubles and pay later. The BNPL story took off worldwide precisely because it's simple, easy, and fast.'

The development of BNPL in recent years has become one of the main trends in retail finance, capable of changing consumption patterns. Analytical firm Juniper Research predicts that by 2027, the number of BNPL users worldwide will exceed 900 million (from 360 million in 2022), a 157% increase driven by the expected economic downturn, which will raise demand for affordable financial solutions.

To launch the service, 'Podeli's' founders sought help from Cinimex. In choosing an IT partner, they relied on previous collaboration experiences and successfully implemented projects. The service launch required IT integrator expertise in building banking architectures, developing payment systems, and experience in implementing integration projects of various scales and complexity.

'Ambitious tasks were set before the integrator, which no one in Russia had solved before,' explains Pavel Davidovsky. 'We needed to make a process that integrates both online and offline, collecting data from both the partner store and the buyer. We needed a system to accumulate all this information. The system had to include a credit pipeline analog - processing applications, making decisions, and communicating them to the customer and the store. Plus, it constantly refers to external sources, atypical for scoring because, unlike a bank, we don't have much information. The system must evaluate customer data, make a decision, and all this must happen in 2 seconds.'

By the Principle of Microservice Architecture

The project's uniqueness was that the service was created from scratch, with only an idea, but the client company had no IT landscape. 'The client approached us with a request to develop a BNPL service from scratch,' says Pavel Myshev, Deputy Director for Key Client Relations at Cinimex. 'We had to create infrastructure in a cloud system based on microservice architecture, launch it, and integrate with partners. For our company, this was an interesting project, as usually our solutions fit into existing complex systems, especially banking ones, wh ere the customer may have a landscape of programs, and something needs to be tweaked, twisted, or implemented, but here there was nothing. We hadn't done BNPL before, but we had experience solving tasks that make up any IT project: integration between systems, with acquiring, scoring, credit pipelines. Many systems are now deployed in microservice architectures, and in Cinimex's portfolio of projects, there are completed microservice solutions not only for the financial sector but also for retail and large industrial companies. All these developments found their application in implementing this service.'

A project team was formed, including specialists fr om Cinimex and the future 'Podeli' service. The project consisted of traditional phases and began with analysis, defining tasks, compiling a list of requirements and functions. Cinimex then carried out the full cycle of work on creation, deployment, testing, configuration, and documentation according to the service's internal requirements.

To make the service operational, integration of various systems was carried out - scoring, which differs from banking and takes just a couple of seconds, acquiring, clearing, anti-fraud, connected SMS services, push notifications, developed the system background, and all necessary microservices.

The possibility of purchasing both offline and online was ensured. For the convenience of small online partners, a self-service portal has been developed that allows information to be exchanged between the store and the service, eliminating the need for correspondence and mail reconciliation. 

A wide range of options have been developed for customers, which they can flexibly and quickly configure themselves without involving IT specialists outside the company. These options include payment shifts, discounts on the second and subsequent payments, discounts for new customers on their first purchase, and more. Each option took approximately 2 months to develop for each subteam of the project, as these features affect the entire purchasing process. Easy connections for partners and sub-partners with their unique payment methods is also provided. 

The platform allows customers to add bank cards, allowing them to easily add new card details and have payments automatically debited from them. 

A personal account has been set up wh ere the buyer can see all their purchases and monitor payments.

Thanks to the coordinated work of the Cinimex team and the customer, the development of the project took 4 months - fr om December 2021 to March 2022. "The Podeli service was launched in record time," says Pavel Myshev. - During this time, we have completed a fully customized solution based on a modern microservice technology stack and connected the first customers of Podeli. The service is built on the Yandex cloud platform and is based on the following technologies Kubernetes, Java, Keycloak, Camunda, PostgreSQL."

How it Works

The system is unique because three parties are involved in the process of providing the service: the buyer, the seller, and "Podeli." The buyer selects an item from an offline or online store and pays only a quarter of the full price. However, the seller receives immediate and full payment for the goods and services from the service provider. After the buyer makes the deposit, the money is automatically deducted from their card in four equal payments, each two weeks. There are no overpayments involved.

The service itself earns commission payments from its partners, including retailers and service providers, which are refunded to it in a percentage of every payment through BNPL (buy now, pay later)."As a result, the seller of the product pays for the service," says Pavel Davidovsky. "The retailer needs new customers, increased frequency of purchases, and increased loyalty, and they are willing to pay for these things. The commission is a small amount, lower than that typically paid to lead generators. The service Podeli provides customer traffic and generates revenue for the retailer."

Rapid growth across all channels 

Podeli has become the first BNPL (buy now pay later) service in Russia. This has provided an opportunity for customers to purchase goods offline. As Pavel Davidovsky explained, the Zarina fashion network has become the first offline partner for Podeli. The pilot has shown that with payment in installments, customers make more frequent purchases and return more frequently, leading to an increase in average receipts. The network is delighted with the results and is expanding its cooperation with Podeli. Online, Aviakassa, a popular travel booking platform, has been the first partner for Podeli. This implementation has also produced successful results. 

The completed projects have attracted a significant number of new partners from different sales categories and channels. This number is increasing every month. Some of the networks that have joined Podeli include M.Video, RIVE GAUCHE, L’ETOILE, Zarina, Befree, Gloria Jeans, Kant, Lenta, and Sima-land, among others.

Along with the addition of new partners, the amount of integration flows has been steadily increasing. “The system integrates seamlessly with all partner stores, so there is no issue in connecting more and more stores, and processing more and more transactions and interactions,” says Pavel Myshev. There is also a dynamic expansion in the partner network, with Podeli having new ideas and the selected technological stack allowing for the connection of more and more services to the end customer as well as to partners.

The service is continuously adding new features to make business partnerships more convenient, comfortable, and profitable. It is intended to introduce personalized accounts for partner stores, wh ere statistics can be viewed - such as average checks, sales, traffic, number of new customers, etc. It is also possible to add paid options, particularly to improve the payment schedule. For example, you can postpone the payment by a comfortable amount of time or divide the total amount into 20 smaller payments, and the system will calculate the amount for each automatically. "The customer will be able to access the application and adjust the schedule. The cost for this will be approximately 200 rubles," explains Pavel Davidovsky. "If you need to purchase something expensive, you can divide the purchase into 10 or even 20 separate payments instead of 4. This is not possible when dealing with a bank," he adds.

"The service is growing very fast, and thanks to the use of microservice technologies and its many years of experience, Cinimex is able to implement all the ideas from Podeli quickly," says Pavel Myshev.

Since the microservices are hosted in the cloud, it is easy to add capacity and install necessary software if needed. At the moment, Cinimex's specialists continue to improve the necessary functionality in order to meet the demands and new ideas from the Podeli platform.


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