Tina Liu, Senior Partner Marketing Manager at Google Cloud was joined by Kelly Goetsch, Chief Strategy Officer at commercetools and Mario Ciabarra, CEO at Quantum Metric, to have a conversation about how to address some of retail's biggest pain points. Here are some of the most significant learnings gathered from their discussion.
Lesson 1: Be prepared for Black Friday-like sales every day
Picture it: You’re surfing online and see an ad for the coolest item you’ve ever laid eyes upon. You have to have it! So, you click on the ad, drool over the product…and then see that the item is out of stock. Or worse, the item is in stock, but when you try to add it to your cart, the website freezes or crashes. Either way, disappointment overwhelms you.
These are some of the most common frustrations shoppers have to deal with when shopping online. And if you’re a retailer, you’ve just lost a customer. Webshops that crash during shopping peaks or have out-of-stock items in their catalogs are becoming a more frequent annoyance because retailers are used to planning for certain big shopping days, like Black Friday, and adjusting their website performance or stock levels for those periods only. But with the rise in online shopping, there is no defined period of sudden sales surges.
Now, anything can cause traffic spikes or a depletion of stocks, such as product launches, promotions or even a big-time influencer doing an unexpected shout-out for one of your products. But if you have the appropriate tech stack for your eCommerce with cloud functionality and auto-scaling, you won’t find any difference in how your website performs compared to a non-traffic-peak day.
In terms of keeping stock at sufficient levels to meet customer demand, this is where the significance of data comes in. It’s imperative to use an analytics system that gives frequent reports in real time to help you predict which items will be out of stock and when, and adjust your webshop appropriately. Afterall, there has been a 253% increase in “out-of-stock” messages now versus pre-pandemic according to Tina, who shared this statistic in the video.
Lesson 2: Reap the benefits of MACH™ and composable commerce
In the past, retailers relied on mega-vendors that would sell them everything they needed to execute an eCommerce platform — commerce, analytics, CRM and more — in a box. But, it was very difficult to integrate other products into that platform and most organizations didn’t have the technical maturity to do so. Now there’s the cloud. And with the cloud, there are thousands upon thousands of specialized vendors that do one thing and one thing extremely well. This has given rise to composable commerce, whereby you can “compose” your tech stack to meet your business needs.
Today, you can go out to the open market and buy a customer journey analytics tool, shopping cart, promotions engine, loyalty system — whatever granular features that you need to build your own experience that’s truly customized and differentiated. With these components, you can build microservices and put APIs on top of them, helping you build exciting and compelling customer experiences. That’s the real benefit of composable commerce: Being able to really differentiate your brand and build engaging experiences with your end customers.
Every day is an opportunity to capture the heart of a customer, retain them and delight them for a lifetime. Brands are always competing against their customers’ last great digital experience. It's not about something working once; it's about delighting customers in every moment.
CEO, Quantum Metric
Microservices, APIs, cloud and headless are the key principles of MACH architecture and represent the hallmarks of modern commerce. With MACH principles driving your eCommerce solution, you can unlock the ability to innovate, as well as the best capabilities of your commerce system — which is in direct opposition to inflexible commerce platforms that limit the ability to respond to new customer needs.
Lesson 3: The cloud partner of choice is Google Cloud
Both commercetools and Quantum Metric — a leader in product design that enables customer-driven digital experiences — leverage the power of Google Cloud’s data and open infrastructure cloud solutions to help retailers better understand, engage with and activate consumers.
Quantum Metric started its journey with Google Cloud in 2015 because the company needed a cloud solution that could scale with them. Per month, Quantum Metric ingests data from an incredible 1.6 billion unique visitors and only Google Cloud could keep up with its massive scale of operations. To take advantage of all that data, Quantum Metric uses Google Cloud BigQuery, a best-in-class performance data engine allowing the company to crunch data at the magnitude it needed, putting Quantum Metric head and shoulders above its competitors.
For commercetools, Google Cloud had the technical maturity and scalability to be the cloud partner we needed. The migration to Google Cloud was incredibly easy — achieved in only 18 minutes flat — and once we started executing all of the scripts, we had fantastic uptime and support, as well as access to all of the on-site resources. We're also on the Google Cloud Marketplace, so we’re able to team up with Google Cloud and its partners to offer holistic solutions to our joint customers, such as BMW Group, Danone and Ulta Beauty.
Learn more about the commercetools and Google Cloud partnership by reading our article How to build a digital commerce platform on Google Cloud or downloading our white paper Reference architecture for Google Cloud and commercetools.