How THE ICONIC Manages Massive User Growth With Auth0
A retailer with 200 new products a day, 13 million site visits per month, and major identity needs
About THE ICONIC
Since 2011, THE ICONIC has redefined the future of retail in Australia and New Zealand. THE ICONIC stands for benchmark-setting customer service, delivery options and returns policies while connecting Australia and New Zealand fashion and sports lovers through digital experiences.
THE ICONIC, Australia and New Zealand’s leading online fashion and sports retailer, started in 2011 with a tiny team but a big idea: to bring a tech-driven, customer-first business model to online fashion retail. Soon after, THE ICONIC became a brand with a reputation matching its name. Today, the company boasts over 13 million visits per month, and is the most downloaded fashion app in Australia and New Zealand.
THE ICONIC credits its success to its DIY ethos and its relentless focus on customer experience. But that success posed a challenge to THE ICONIC when its user base rapidly expanded, and its in-house identity management system needed support to keep up with the growing demand. THE ICONIC needed an authentication solution that protected customer data, integrated with their legacy applications, and didn’t sacrifice UX. And they needed it quickly.
Double Digit YOY Growth Cycle Brings Urgent Identity Needs
When Principal Software Engineer Piers Warmers joined THE ICONIC in 2015, the company had just nine engineers. Today the team is 150 strong. “We've basically been moving on a double digit year-on-year growth cycle throughout that entire time,” Warmers says.
In the early days, building identity in-house didn’t seem like a big deal. “It was a simple application,” Warmers recalls. But rapid growth meant THE ICONIC had an even larger security responsibility, in the form of millions of customer names, addresses, and credit card data. “At one stage, we were yelling and screaming and cheering that we placed 1,000 orders, and suddenly you blink, and you're sitting on millions of credentials and thinking, wow, this is a very different landscape,” Warmers says.
Why a ‘DIY’ Team Outsourced Identity
THE ICONIC team is proud of their commitment to building most of their features in-house, so they didn’t choose to outsource identity lightly. But as Warmers puts it: “It was the right approach strategically and tactically for us to say, 'Look, there is a group that has an extremely deep domain knowledge in this area; they have systems that are set up and ready to go.'”
THE ICONIC chose to delegate their credential management to Auth0, after being impressed with Auth0’s proven, documented expertise and its ability to integrate with their legacy systems.
Warmers describes the choice: “One of the biggest reasons we went with Auth0 was that we felt the conversation Auth0 put forward with documentation, tutorials, blogging, etc., left us feeling confident that we were dealing with a group that was about embracing clients, and the way they approach technology and bringing them on board a journey.”
Today, according to Warmers, “all of our publicly facing applications are either using Auth0 or in the midst of rolling that out.”
Customer-First Means Security-First
With a constantly evolving landscape of digital threats, security is of central importance to THE ICONIC. They gravitated toward Auth0 for features that would enhance security without compromising the customer experience. “For us, it was really about protecting our customers,” Warmers says.
To keep data secure, THE ICONIC is making use of Auth0’s credential stuffing features like IP address monitoring, which protects against brute force attacks. They’re also excited about and conditional multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect against malicious behavior without sacrificing CX. As Warmers explains, “for us, it's also about being able to provide a very rich customer experience.”
Auth0 Helps THE ICONIC Save Big and Stay True to Itself
By delegating identity, Warmers and his team estimate they saved over 5,000 hours of developer time on implementation, plus an ongoing 70 hours per month on maintenance.
Today, the company’s leadership recognizes that partnering for identity doesn’t mean they’re compromising their DIY spirit; in fact, it allows the company to focus on continuing that DIY approach. As Warmers says, “The lesson that we've learned is that Auth0 is there to provide identity services and give us more time building the products we want to be building.”
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Auth0 provides a platform to authenticate, authorize, and secure access for applications, devices, and users. Security and application teams rely on Auth0's simplicity, extensibility, and expertise to make identity work for everyone. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 secures identities so innovators can innovate, and empowers global enterprises to deliver trusted, superior digital experiences to their customers around the world.For more information, visit https://auth0.com or follow @auth0 on Twitter.