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35%

reduction in application infrastructure costs

70-80%

improvement in Mean Time to Recovery

20%

month-on-month growth

Bigbasket (Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited) is India’s largest online food and grocery store. It offers over 18,000 products across 1,000 brands comprising fresh fruit and vegetables, rice, spices, packaged goods, beverages, personal care products and meat. The company delivers to 20 Indian cities including Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

With India on track to reach 1 billion smartphone users in just a few years, the demand for speed and convenience has never been higher. Across the country, especially in rural areas, mobile connectivity is driving innovations in grocery deliveries as more people choose to shop online. The pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of e-grocery delivery, and the trend is being led by Bengalaru-based bigbasket.

Part of the billion-dollar Tata Group, bigbasket offers exclusive, handpicked items and delivers the best quality products at the lowest prices. In such a competitive retail space, it requires reliable performance and system resilience at all times - especially during periods of peak demand.

Challenge: Scaling at speed for rapid growth

New Relic has played a crucial role in the company’s growth, enabling new products, such as quick commerce service bbnow and subscription-based bbdaily, to be launched in record time while delivering infrastructure cost savings. As a result, bigbasket has grown at a 50 per cent compound annual growth rate in the past five years, and expanded into 450 towns (up from 50) in early 2023.

“Supporting such rapid growth has required bigbasket to scale its use of New Relic in line with product offerings,” says Sandeep Grandhi, Associate Director of Engineering at bigbasket.

“We initially adopted New Relic to optimise our APIs and identify bottlenecks across our single, monolithic system, but we’ve since taken bigbasket from an uncomplicated tech stack to an evolved environment with more than 100 microservices in play,” says Sandeep.

“This significant jump requires observability in order to create visibility across our diverse stack, and with competitors vying for market share, it has been crucial to our ongoing success.”

Before the launch of bbnow in 2022, the system was schedule-based, and orders took two to three hours to fulfil. To enable quicker delivery, bigbasket needed to empower the team to identify any delays in the delivery process. After consulting with New Relic, bigbasket built an alert mechanism that did just that.

“Thanks to the improvements made by New Relic, we now have the application monitoring capabilities that allow us to fulfil bbnow deliveries in 15 to 20 minutes consistently. This has enabled us to achieve significant growth, expanding from a single store to over 200 in only three months – an increase of around 20% month-on-month,” says Sandeep.

Bigbasket has also improved performance and resource utilisation while reducing application infrastructure costs by around 35% thanks to New Relic. It has also been able to identify performance bottlenecks and inefficiencies in application performance and resource utilisation.

"New Relic shone a light on the previously neglected areas of tracing and observability. It has uncovered many issues of our asynchronous technology stacks, and supported us to identify and eliminate bottlenecks; paving the way for smooth and efficient operations," Sandeep says.

Solution: Powerful insights to lower infrastructure costs, error rates

Digital businesses like bigbasket rely on their tech stack, backed by AWS, to support operations, yet costs can quickly mount if left unchecked. The business has been able to identify the slowest APIs and database queries that are impacting the performance of its systems. Optimising both of these has helped rightsize the database and reduce the number of EC2 instances that bigbasket typically runs. Because of this, bigbasket was able to identify the cost centres for a majority of applications, enabling them to be reviewed for return on investment.

“New Relic reveals important details including data processed, the number of requests and transactions. We can also optimise our applications by seeing which APIs are consuming the most server time, which saves us money on our bottom line,” Sandeep says.

The team is also able to analyse APIs more accurately, thanks to New Relic Application Performance Monitoring (APM).

“With APM, we get better insights into how the code and dependent APIs are performing. When these may be slow and causing issues, the team can optimise any latency. This combination of optimisation at the code level, with insights via New Relic, is extremely important to identify and economise cost centres, and we’ve been able to reduce the infrastructure cost of every application.”

The bigbasket team has moved from navigating uncharted waters to correcting course with New Relic, and now has the ability to regularly monitor error rates for all applications.

“When we launch a new application, error rates can be between 5 and 10%, which is quite high and often due to incorrect configuration, logging or status messages done at the API level. By using insights from New Relic, we’ve been able to reduce this to less than 1% over the course of a month,” Sandeep says.

This change has allowed bigbasket to have greater visibility and swiftly identify the potential cause of errors when an update is released.

"By leveraging incident alerts, mobile, and customer event integrations, we have greater visibility into customer concerns and can react to their needs. We can now pinpoint issues much faster and make fixes before they escalate, which allows us to deliver a better customer experience,” Sandeep says.

"In particular, deployment markers have helped us to shed light on the customer journey by correlating incidents with releases and configurations. As a result, we have been able to identify and resolve issues while improving our Mean Time to Recovery by 70-80%."

Impact: Democratising data

In addition to reducing costs and creating a positive impact on the internal operations of the business, the valuable insights garnered from New Relic dashboards have created greater visibility into vital data at the business, from engineering to the C-suite.

By offering a single source of truth based on real-time information, New Relic has allowed bigbasket to tie together metrics from across its 100+ microservices. It has gone from dashboard overload to a streamlined approach.

"By having data from New Relic as our single source of truth, senior leadership can quickly and easily access all necessary information at their fingertips. We are able to provide them with the insight needed to understand engineering team performance while supporting their decision-making," Sandeep says.