Client Challenge 

Acquired by Nestle in 2021, SimplyCook is a recipe kit company operating across the UK and mainland Europe. They offer a selection of easy to cook recipes with clear instructions and simple, non-perishable ingredients which can be delivered through regular mail. 

SimplyCook was facing numerous challenges with technical debt across their website and app. The app lagged behind the website in terms of features and stability and the client was keen to pivot to an app-first strategy. 

The user experience across device types and negative app store reviews. With a lack of analytics and monitoring capabilities, a decline in user engagement, and the need to revamp the app to meet increasing user demand during Covid-19, SimplyCook was having difficulty scaling its app to serve customers adequately. 

Client Opportunity

Gemstone was asked to provide a team of four developers across backend, frontend and mobile disciplines

SimplyCook was not only looking to make improvements to their existing app and website to address usability issues, enhance user experience and drive greater engagement but was also looking for a vendor that could support their product in the long run. By partnering with Gemstone IT, SimplyCook found a vendor that:

  • Harmonised the user experience across web and app (the app had lagged significantly behind their website since its inception)
  • Had the ability to act as a consultant that could help plan, build, and execute a product roadmap for future developments
  • Leveraged an agile end-to-end development process to strategically design, develop, test, and publish the application functionalities
  • Worked effectively with their internal team, documenting new features and practices while delivering on the objectives.
    Had experience working with and developing React Native applications

Our Solution

1- Spearhead a transition to a modern, API driven platform

We drove a large-scale transformation project, involving a move away from a legacy Codeigniter application to an API driven backend involving a new CMS, as well as a React.js based UI.

Taking a pragmatic approach to the migration, we prioritised features based on user impact and complexity, coordinating with other business departments along the way.

2- Build a cloud-based third-party logistics integration in AWS

To support SimplyCook as they outsourced their order fulfilment services, Gemstone built a cloud-based integration with a third party logistics platform.

This needed to include a load-balancer which would send increasingly large volumes of orders to the third party, allowing the client to phase out their in-house logistics gradually.

3- Leverage Our Technical Expertise In Backend Support And Maintenance To Improve The Performance Of Existing Infrastructure.

One of SimplyCook’s core concerns were performance usability issues that included frequent app crashes, latency issues, and infrastructure issues that impacted core functionalities. Our refined agile app development process enabled us to break the development cycle into smaller fixed sprints. The shorter sprints allow our team of experts to stay focused on prioritised issues at each sprint stage, continuously testing solutions to roll out fixes at a rapid pace.

The Results

The app is now fast, intuitive and free of crashes for active users across iOS and Android device types. We implemented a new flexible membership model that enabled non-member usability, revamped the existing design and reconfigured the user experience. The new product effectively addresses SimplyCook’s vision, and average app ratings have improved from 2.8 to 4.7

As a further development, the next phase of the app was released later in the year, focusing on improved search capabilities, push notifications, in-app ratings, social media APIs, and improved user authentication.

Related Services
  • Web development 
  • Ecommerce 
  • Subscription services 
  • Mobile development 
  • Staff augmentation 
Web Design & Development