“Build, Not Buy”: The Makings of a Best-in-Class Technology Stack

Most people who have heard about THG automatically think “retail”. However, Director of Technology, Mike Wrigglesworth, has a very different view of things. For him, THG is a technology platform that powers some of the world’s largest and fastest growing brands and websites.

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Having worked at THG for nearly 7 years, I’ve seen a lot of change and growth within our technology division, but there is always a common theme which has made us so powerful: Build, not Buy. This policy has ensured we not only own everything, but have seamless integration throughout our tech stack — from the Front-End user experience through to order processing and warehouse management. Having end-to-end control for our systems allows us to paint a clear picture at every step of the flow, allowing us to react quickly to issues and better inform how we can continuously iterate and improve our systems.

At the heart of everything we do is data. Whether this is monitoring and measuring the performance of the applications that power our websites and tools — something that you can see on the screens that line the walls of our tech offices — or information about customer behaviour, trends and transactions. Having a clear view of what is happening in real time is what allows us, despite the current size of the company, to remain completely agile and reactive to change.

Powering over 150 enterprise-level websites is no mean feat, and it would be wrong talk about tech without also mentioning the massive investment THG has made in our networking and data centre infrastructure. The acquisition of UK2 in 2017 has opened the doors to a huge international infrastructure network and supports the group’s strategy of being a truly global power in the world of technology and digital commerce. In the first half of 2018, we undertook one of the biggest tech projects in THG’s history when we made the change to a multi-DC (data centre) setup, serving traffic from both Manchester and London. The hard work and efforts of more than 100 engineers across all areas of tech has given us the building blocks to expand even further afield in the future.

We continue to strive to be the best at what we do: Serving websites from around the world faster than we have ever done before, and building intuitive systems to support both internal business growth and external partners in their growth ambitions. We also integrate with a vast array of localised payment methods and couriers to help us be closer and more familiar to all our customers, wherever they are. To achieve this, we recruit and develop the best talent, from a range of backgrounds and nationalities, including experienced hires and graduates from some of the top ranked Universities across the country.

So, where do all these people work? Well, we are located across four different locations in the North West and in London. We have recently moved our head office to Manchester Airport and have opened a tech-specific office in Salford’s Media City, an area that is becoming something of a tech hub for the North.

It’s amazing to look at how far we have come in such a short time, and it is great to see THG being recognised by an organisation like RetailWeek as being the best Tech Retailer for 2018.

The future looks bright for THG tech and I am excited to see where our journey goes next.

Mike Wrigglesworth is Director of Technology for THG.

Are you looking for a new challenge and interested in joining our dynamic team here at THG? See our open opportunities and apply.