Powering modern retail operations is no easy task – consumer and business preferences shift constantly, disruptions abound, and demand can significantly fluctuate daily or even hourly. But within this environment, there are almost limitless opportunities for retailers that have an agile IT environment that can efficiently and proactively meet changing consumer demands.
At commercetools, we pride ourselves on giving businesses what they need to succeed in the digital era. As a cloud-native company, we constantly look toward the future, innovating on our platform and working to better serve our customers. To accomplish our goals and remain as agile and accessible as possible, we base our platform on microservices.
For years we have taken advantage of being fully cloud native as a means to optimize our microservices infrastructure and take an API-first approach to management. Given constant innovations in cloud computing, we also look for the latest and greatest tools to further enhance the services we offer our customers.
One area that has become particularly important in recent years is the ability to efficiently auto-scale and manage resources. That means being able to get even more performance out of our platform, which is why we chose to work with Google Cloud and MongoDB.
Building on years of success
Google Cloud has long been our trusted cloud services provider, and we’ve used MongoDB since 2014. We saw opportunities to extend these relationships and the technologies used to improve everyday operations across our business. This in part included implementing MongoDB Atlas to optimize database scalability and efficiency.
A big advantage of running MongoDB Atlas on Google Cloud is the integration between the database and Google Cloud services including Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), BigQuery, and the Cloud AI Platform. Since these solutions work so well together, the commercetools team is confident that performance will be exceptional regardless of the tasks we need to run.
Given retail-specific factors such as seasonality and constantly shifting consumer preferences, we need to provide retailers with the confidence that our platform runs properly at all times. The combination of Google Cloud solutions and MongoDB Atlas as a fully managed database enables us to achieve our goals and deliver outstanding services to our customers.
When it comes to scale, we have certain customers that process tens of thousands of transactions per minute. We need to make sure all of those orders execute flawlessly, with all accompanying data captured and managed. Accomplishing this requires that every step is fully integrated into the right area of our technology stack—something that Google Cloud and MongoDB make a lot easier.
MongoDB’s application data platform also provides a whole suite of useful tools including MongoDB Charts, backups, and enhanced security capabilities. All are key to our success and important to our customers. In MongoDB, we can also scale horizontally or vertically, handle spikes through auto-scaling, and never worry about data security or retention. Without MongoDB Atlas on Google Cloud, this wouldn’t be possible.
Because of this, we can quickly and reliably roll out new features, sites, touch points, and channels in step with our customers’ demands. The agility supported by Google Cloud and MongoDB Atlas allows commercetools to stand out from our competitors.
Equally important to our success is the level of automation we build into our environment thanks to Google Cloud, MongoDB Atlas, and our own engineers. We’ve been able to take a more modern approach to performance testing, with everything monitored and fixed in real-time. For retailers, this is vital because many often wait until huge events like Black Friday, when it’s too late to test the power and reliability of an environment.
Automating cluster management, deployments, and testing is essential for us to scale with our customers when they need us. With the automation offered in Google Cloud and MongoDB Atlas, we are always prepared for anything our customers need.
All of this adds up to an unmatched ability to provide customers with roughly 300 APIs that they and our partners can mix and match to achieve the standout commerce experience they envision for their customers. This is what separates commercetools from our competitors. We are not just a one-size-fits-all tech stack. Instead, we give retailers the options to build their own solutions that map to their exact needs—and the opportunities their customers present.
Addressing challenges across industries
While we are certainly rooted in retail, the need for digital transformation is evident in every industry, and our platform is flexible enough to adapt to many needs.
For example, companies with smaller IT departments can work with our partners to accelerate the roll-out of new digital services and enhanced customer experiences. Our partners can project manage as needed and use our APIs to tailor the solution to each company’s unique needs. At the same time, companies with larger IT operations can have their own teams use our APIs to more quickly achieve their own goals.
The success of our approach to build and manage commerce platforms was underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many businesses scrambled to strengthen digital footprint amid lockdowns and immense economic shifts.
Let’s say a company wanted to build an additional channel to enable curbside pickup. With a monolithic system, an IT team might have worked six months or more to get that service up and running. For many companies, this would have been untenable given their resources and they would have lost market share.
The beauty of commercetools is that we are flexible and accessible enough for any company, regardless of size or industry, to quickly deploy the services they need to keep pace with new market opportunities. It’s all thanks to our open architecture and cloud-native infrastructure, which Google Cloud and MongoDB are a big part of.
Our success highlights the power of microservices supported by highly integrated solutions including GKE, BigQuery, and MongoDB Atlas. Through these partnerships, we can provide trials in which a customer can go to our website and explore everything we offer, spin up environments, deploy tools, and more.
This is a huge differentiator for us. If we were locked down by our cloud infrastructure or database provider, we’d be unable to offer these types of readily accessible, high-performing self-service capabilities.
We have accomplished a lot through our work with Google Cloud and MongoDB, and we are excited to continue transforming approaches to commerce in retail, healthcare, and many other industries in the future.
By: Michael Scholz (Director of Product Marketing, commercetools)
Source: Google Cloud Blog