A white jacket hanging on a rack

Reaching new heights with Composable commerce

A rocket on the market 

Afound, part of H&M Group, was launched in 2018 as an initiative to create a marketplace for both H&M Group's own and external brands. The goal was to create a marketplace that takes care of unsold fashion in a responsible way, giving past-season garments a second chance, while exploring the exciting possibilities a marketplace model has to offer. 

Afound first launched in Sweden and has since expanded to Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and latest in 2022, to the rest of the Nordic countries.   

From its launch in 2018 until today, the company has successfully navigated several shifts. As a young organization within H&M Group, Afound has embraced the agility of a start-up and cultivated a strong test-and-learn culture where teams dare to experiment and make changes. Today, the concept has solidified its position as an important e-commerce player in its existing markets and aims to expand into more markets in the future. 

Since 2021, SQLI Nordics has been a fully integrated part of the project and works closely with Afound to drive the digital business forward. 

The future in sight 

Building a marketplace from scratch is no easy task and naturally comes with several challenges. The biggest one is getting all parties (external as well as the own organization) in sync to create an enjoyable and uniform customer experience. 

The combination of multiple parties and a fast-paced environment increases the demands on technical deliveries, cross-functional as well as cross-organizational cooperation and communication skills. 

“We are the definition of a learning organization. For sure, we sometimes make mistakes, but we always learn from them. Today, we push out 15–20 sets of new code per week, which is exactly what allows us to be this learning organization. If we roll something out that doesn't work, we take it down, find out what’s wrong and correct it. We also talk about our mistakes and encourage each other to reflect and share constructive (self-)criticism", says Johanna Rath, Head of Product at Afound. 

The biggest challenge has always been scaling the service for it to be able to handle more markets. 

“What makes our collaboration with Afound so special is how brave they are. They are not afraid to test new solutions and methods to reach new goals. At the same time, the pace and demands are high, which means that we constantly must stay on our toes and challenge ourselves", says Linus Rudolfsson, Chief Business Officer at SQLI Nordics.

Composable for the win 

The digital marketplace has constantly evolved, always adapting to changing customer needs. On the tech side, one of the biggest developments was the move from a monolithic solution to a system architecture that is completely disconnected. Today, the basis is Composable Commerce, where all parts are completely independent, such as the front end, CMS, the marketplace, and the checkout.  

The architecture is the result of a vision developed together by Afound and SQLI Nordics. The aim was to completely free Afound from any technical limitations and thereby enable the organization to move as fast as possible and be an innovative player on the market. 

Afound and SQLI 

The collaboration between SQLI Nordics and Afound stretches over more than two years. In essence, we help to define and execute the technical strategy. We're fully integrated with the clients’ own competencies and their agile way of working.  

“SQLI Nordics is one of our most present partners and is always available for feedback. They're engaged, supportive and attentive.” — Johanna Rath, Head of Product at Afound. 

"We are looking for clients and partners who dare to think differently and challenge us. The fact that we, together with Afound, can build solutions that are at the absolute forefront in terms of Composable Commerce and marketplaces is rare – and something we are very proud of", says Linus Rudolfsson.