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Why retailers choose to build on Kubernetes

January 11, 2023
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Praveen Rajasekar

Head of Product Marketing

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Retail organizations constantly face financial pressure to increase sales while maintaining profit margins. Digital commerce creates new opportunities and a more competitive landscape for retailers by allowing them to reach a global customer base online, but it also exposes them to competition from larger online retailers. To be successful in this environment, retailers must not only have a strong online presence to keep up with their competition and gain market share, but also uplift the transactional customer experience to a more experiential one.

In today's data-driven artificial intelligence-inspired business environment, organizations require complex IT infrastructure to support various functions such as prospecting, product development, marketing, and data analytics. Managing and scaling this infrastructure can be challenging, especially as needs evolve. As a result, many organizations are turning to Google Cloud as a solution for meeting their business goals, rather than simply expanding their in-house IT resources with more equipment and personnel. Specifically, retailers across the globe are betting on Kubernetes on Google Cloud to take advantage of secure, reliable, and scalable infrastructure.

Here are a few examples of worldwide retailers adapting to changing customer expectations using intelligent infrastructure solutions including Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), the most scalable and automated fully managed Kubernetes from Google Cloud.

Haravan is a Vietnamese ecommerce platform that aims to improve the process of buying and selling products, allowing businesses to focus on creating and selling their products.

By using Google Cloud, Haravan helped small and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam achieve double-digit growth, consistently met its 99.97% uptime commitment to clients, efficiently managed 5 times the normal amount of ecommerce activity, and facilitated the implementation of artificial intelligence-powered expansion plans.

"We have a guaranteed commitment to enable any volume of sales for clients over all channels, be it social networks, marketplaces, livestream, or website. Only Google Cloud, with the flexible autoscaling of GKE, gives us certainty to meet our guarantees even in the most massive Black Friday surges." —Hung Le, VP of Software Engineering, Haravan

Loblaw is Canada's food and pharmacy leader and the nation's largest retailer. The company operates over 2,500 locations, including corporate, franchised, and associate-owned stores, and employs nearly 200,000 full- and part-time employees.

By using Google Cloud, boosted the performance of the online grocery platform, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased revenue, recovered up to 50% of Site Reliability Engineers' time for innovation, introduced new, real-time personalization features and shopping conveniences for customers, and enhanced resiliency to protect customers and revenue.

“Moving our online grocery site to Google Cloud gave us a 4x performance increase and the capacity to handle up to three times the traffic; and we can scale up at any time.” —Hesham Fahmy, VP Technology, Loblaw

L.L.Bean is a North American retail company known for its boots and mail-order catalog, which dates back to 1912. The company has a strong online presence, with ecommerce accounting for $1 billion of its annual revenues of $1.6 billion. Like many other retailers, L.L.Bean is adopting an omnichannel sales strategy by interacting with customers through various channels including print, physical stores, its website, app, and social media. 

By using Google Cloud, L.L.Bean enhanced customers' online experience through faster page load times and access to transaction history, allowed for a focus on providing value to customers rather than managing infrastructure, and enabled the rapid release of cross-channel services by reducing development cycles.

"GKE has significantly streamlined the process of upgrading nodes and masters. By comparison, upgrading even minor releases of another container solution that L.L.Bean tested resulted in the need to rebuild that solution's clusters four times."  —Randy Dyer, Enterprise Architect, L.L.Bean

LPP is a Polish fashion retailer established in 1991 by Lubianiec and Piechocki, whose initials make up the company's name. LPP currently manages five clothing brands that are popular in 38 countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia, and has over 24,000 employees based in its main offices in Central and Eastern Europe. Growing demand for its ecommerce services led LPP to migrate from an on-premises setup to Google Cloud, harnessing automation to ensure great shopping experiences globally.

By using Google Cloud, LPP promoted a DevOps culture among developers through streamlined deployment of new features, provided 90% more time for engineers to work on innovative solutions instead of managing infrastructure, instantly created and updated new VMs, allowing developers to quickly launch new features, ensured a seamless online shopping experience by automatically adjusting capacity to meet demand.

“GKE enables us to deploy new features for our ecommerce sites very quickly. Previously, it took weeks to launch new instances for each brand. Today, it takes seconds: we simply launch a new machine, deploy the code, and changes are reflected automatically across our environment.” —Marek Maciejewski, Head of IT Service Operations, LPP

Noon.com, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is a local ecommerce marketplace focused on serving the Middle East. The company aims to become the top online retailer in the region, supporting the growth of a digital economy for both consumers and local businesses.

By using Google Cloud, Noon.com built its ecommerce platform to access self-managed services, allowed developers to establish a fully operational staging environment within two weeks, provided uninterrupted service to nearly four times as many daily users during busy seasons using autoscaling on GKE, used real-time data streaming on BigQuery to inform business decisions and personalize the customer experience, and achieved 99.999% availability with no downtime for planned maintenance or schema changes using a fully managed relational database.

“Google Cloud-managed services are playing a major role in enabling Noon.com customers to get their shopping done whenever they need it, without experiencing any delays or glitches, and without us having to lose sleep at night to ensure our platform is functioning as it should.” —Alex Nadalin, SVP of Engineering, Noon.com

In conclusion, the retail industry is constantly evolving and retailers must stay up-to-date with the latest technology and customer preferences to remain competitive. Digital commerce has changed the landscape of retail, allowing businesses to reach a global customer base but also increasing competition. The use of Kubernetes on Google Cloud can help retailers improve the customer experience, streamline internal processes, and make data-driven and AI-inspired decisions. By embracing these changes, retailers can stay ahead in a constantly evolving industry. Get started today with an exclusive workshop, Unlocking efficiency and innovation with Kubernetes on Google Cloud.

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