Brazil-based loyalty platform enhances customer experience using Oracle Commerce and ensures high availability, security, and predictable costs.
“Since 2019, we’ve operated 100% in the Oracle Cloud. We had the opportunity to rewrite the platform, and we opted for Oracle Commerce and Oracle Kubernetes to be cloud native from the onset.”
Esfera is the customer loyalty program platform of Banco Santander in Brazil, serving mainly customers of Banco Santander. Brazil is one of Banco Santander’s largest growth areas in credit card acquisition and loyalty programs worldwide, and Esfera is a leading loyalty program in the country. The company offers cash back on purchases of products and services on the Esfera platform or through partner store sites. Esfera’s objective is to give customers the broadest possible choice in using points accumulated on their payment cards for purchases.
Esfera customers who were looking to redeem rewards points had few good options, or they had to transfer points to air companies in a complex experience. To create a better customer experience and improve retention, Esfera looked for a cloud-based ecommerce platform to bolster its online shopping site. The solution needed to be scalable to support peak traffic without any interruptions—such as Christmas and Black Friday—by balancing server loads.
Beyond time and cost savings in hardware refreshes and provisioning, Esfera also decided to embrace infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for gains in application development efficiency and data security.
Today, Esfera is one of the largest loyalty programs in Brazil. Oracle technology makes us more agile, and this is a great differentiator for us. The company's lean structure, allied with our entire digital culture, allows us to go to market with new projects very fast and to aim for market leadership in Brazil.
Why Esfera Fidelidade S.A. chose Oracle
Esfera found Oracle Cloud solutions to be 50% cheaper than competing cloud offers. The company chose Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Oracle Commerce because these solutions provided the most resilient and agile environment for Esfera to rebuild its platform in a multisite format. OCI also provided the best practices required for developing and deploying the loyalty program.
“Oracle’s knowledge of our business and development agility made all the difference in delivering an innovative rewards model with cash back, which took advantage of the pre-existing structure and reduced our costs, in addition to expanding the scope of operations of the Esfera program,” says CTO Flavio Freitas.
Esfera adopted Oracle Commerce to relaunch Esfera's platform—an online marketplace containing more than 100,000 products and services from leading Brazilian retailers. Serving both as a marketplace and a rewards ecosystem, Esfera´s clients can redeem points for products, experiences, or gift cards, and also get discounts on selected merchandise.
The Esfera platform has been developed on Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes and has been running entirely on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure since 2019. By moving its production and development environments to an Oracle Cloud region, the company has benefited from virtual networks, built-in cloud security, fast server provisioning, and premium support. Total cost of infrastructure ownership is 50% lower than it would have been with competing cloud providers.
Esfera took advantage of Oracle Kubernetes to ensure orchestration of more than 160 microprocesses, which integrate users, orders, payments, rewards calculations, catalogs, and other elements of product lifecycle management. Distributing microservices across Kubernetes containers helped speed time to market and expand the scope of operations, such as integrating financial institutions beyond Banco Santander into the platform.
Using Oracle Commerce, part of the Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience suite of applications, Esfera’s storefront integrates with the order management processes of partner retailer platforms. It features custom integrations that allow Esfera to add new forms of payment previously not available, such as Brazil’s PIX platform for instant money transfers and Getnet for calculating partner payment splits. The company estimates that building the platform on a public cloud other than OCI would have cost at least 30% more.
With OCI’s multitenancy integration capabilities and Kubernetes-clustered microprocesses, Esfera can now incorporate a partner portfolio into the Oracle Commerce ecosystem within weeks, whereas formerly that task took up to nine months. To manage the integration of its vast partner network, Esfera uses OCI Load Balancing for automated routing of incoming traffic to more than 50 retailer platforms.
Esfera benefits from OCI’s performance and scalability by giving its partners a maximum availability platform. The loyalty program relies on OCI and Oracle Commerce to include the catalogs and rewards schemes of partner retailers.
Working with Oracle Partner Compass UOL and Oracle Consulting, Esfera dismantled the previously used Brink Money Prepaid Mastercard platform running on Banco Santander’s mainframe infrastructure. The team implemented Oracle Commerce in six months, including development, testing, real-time integration with partner retail and payments systems, and go-live.
“Oracle’s best practices and the assistance of Compass and Oracle Consulting made the relaunch of Esfera successful,” says Freitas.