E-commerce and retail: prepare for the Age of Assistance (II)
The need for speed in the Customer Journey
In e-commerce every microsecond counts. If an online consumer needs to wait, they’re gone. Cloud technology can help accelerate and improve the customer experience, thus increasing the conversion. But a lot more is required to service a relentless customer. This is the second part of a report about a fascinating meeting on how technology can bring e-commerce to the next phase: what results does a migration towards the cloud yield?
Parkos turns the car parking market upside down
Parkos is one of these companies who have recently migrated to Google Cloud. Parkos is the number 1 website in the Netherlands to find, compare and book parking spaces around airports. “We want to be the disruptor in airport parking,” explains Peter Bosma, CTO at parkos and keynote speaker at the Power Breakfast ‘The Need for Speed in the Customer Journey’, co-organized by g-company and Google.
Parkos has been working its way up rapidly since their start in 2014, becoming the market leader in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. The company is active in 8 countries total, at around 60 airports, with more than 200 parking locations. The company is ranked 29th in Deloitte’s Fast50 2018 of quickest growing companies in the Netherlands.
Like so many starters, Bosma and his associate more or less started in the garage. They built their first website themselves, and reservations were manually added into their home-built back office. Everything – from development, testing, down to production – was running on a single server which went down frequently if a new version of the software was being published. “Our ambition is to be number one in convenience, for our customers as well as our employees. Which is why the ease of use and speed of the website, as well as the backoffice and development process had to be improved. Additionally, we wanted to make our infrastructure much more robust and scalable. That automatically means going to the cloud,” says Bosma. After researching the best cloud provider, Google remained. “Amazon also has a good position in e-commerce, but we have a greater affinity with Google. Amazon uses open source technology, but doesn’t always adhere to the terms and conditions. That is not okay for us. Furthermore, we already used a lot of Google technology, such as G Suite Google Maps, AppEngine, Adwords and Analytics.”
Google recommended g-company as the suitable partner for migration and implementation. “g-company has shown what they have to offer in the field of e-commerce, for example with the complex migration of vliegtickets.nl, as well as the other labels under the travel organization Travix, to Google Cloud.” Parkos wanted solid support while reconstructing applications for the cloud, to be able to migrate quickly afterwards. The migration started in december 2018, and was already successfully completed a couple of weeks later. Afterwards, it was time for scaling and optimizing. By using Google worldwide DNS-system, website latency was decreased drastically. Because there is always a DNS-server near the visitor, the process of requesting information was sped up quite a bit. Web applications can also operate in various regions, closer to the market or to the developers. Developers can now deploy on their own, without taking the system offline. Bosma and his crew are able to guide te latencies of various components, by (sometimes in an automated way) ‘playing’ with Googles worldwide DNs and cloud infrastructure.
What results does this yield?”In the Netherlands, we have sped up by 20 to 30 percent, in Italy by 40 to 70 percent, and in Australia even up to 80 percent. We could immediately see our conversions and business increase considerably,” says Bosma. And product development has picked up in pace too. “We were able to roll out our application for Australia within a day, whereas before it would have taken us months.” Parkos’ ICT is now completely ready for internationalization and scaling. Machine learning and artificial intelligence have already been added to the calendar, among other Google-technology. “We have a lot of data that can analyzed for even further knowledge,” says Bosma.
Did you miss part I? Read it here.
And keep an eye on our blog, seeing as part III of this article will be up shortly!