Google Cloud

Anything for a Smile

How to add value to your digital marketplace using Google Cloud

Last year, $2.03 trillion was spent on the 100 biggest online marketplaces. That is 58% of all online retail sales. Alibaba and Amazon dominate the industry, but smaller players are growing at a tremendous pace. The average growth over 2019 was 22% for the 100 biggest marketplaces, of which 50% started after 2011. These growth spurts come with challenges, and Google Cloud offers a range of solutions to resolve them. 

Growing pains: from scaling to security to customer success 
One of the biggest challenges of fast-growing start-ups is how to design an environment that enables easy scaling. Moving to the Cloud allows companies to scale without having to make expensive hardware purchases. Etsy, a handmade and vintage marketplace, went cloud-native to be able to scale to seasonal demands like Christmas. They planned the migration of 2000 on-site servers to Google Cloud over a two-year period. As a result of the migration, Etsy has been able to move 15% of its 500-plus engineering team to focus on improving customer experience.

Security is another challenge. For some companies, identity fraud, data leaks, and malicious content are part of the daily challenges. Maintaining data integrity and privacy is key. Access control needs to be on point. Secure networks and systems need to be maintained and checked. Many measures must be taken to prevent damage to your marketplace. Google’s technology is built with security at its core, which means that moving to Google Cloud can eliminate many security concerns. Continue reading here to learn more about how Google Cloud relieves businesses of security and compliance concerns. 

A common denominator in many of the successful marketplaces is their focus on customer needs. The number of products and customer wishes is enormous. Data scientists are constantly looking for ways to serve customers with the right products. For Etsy, 80% of their purchases are driven by the first page of search results. Getting it right is critical. This is where Google Cloud, with its machine learning (ML) and big data opportunities, can make the difference. Google offers teams the possibility to use ML without added experience. They provide easy to use AI building blocks that save a lot of technology and process friction. 

Case study: Anything for a Smile
Anything for a Smile is the slogan of one of the top three online marketplaces in the Netherlands: Coolblue. It’s a slogan that helped Coolblue grow at an incredible pace and is the perfect example of a rapidly growing digital marketplace with a big challenge. Initially, all customer and transactional data were analyzed via a program that was deployed on their own servers. The fast-growing stream of customer data meant that developers were constantly busy trying to add functions to keep the system working. This left little time to come up with ideas to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction. Changing to a platform that could handle data from all sources, run in real-time and enable data analytics, like Google Cloud Platform, seemed like a good solution.

Do we take the leap?
This all sounds promising, but changing to GCP can still feel like taking a big leap. That is what Coolblue also felt. Google and Coolblue found a solution for this. They ran an initial trial-and-hack-week with BigQuery and Google Analytics Premium, two of Google’s data analytics products. “Once we experienced the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of a fully managed solution, Google Cloud Platform was the clear choice for our data needs,” said Coolblue’s CEO.

The result
Coolblue is now building a data platform that is fully managed by Google Cloud. This enables human resources to focus their time on business-critical processes instead of IT operations. Processing was increased and new possibilities have opened up for data-driven features. All of this allows Coolblue to do even better on something they are already good at: delivering products that make their customers smile.