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Attraqt: Creating smart online shopping experiences with Google Cloud

About Attraqt

Attraqt enables leading international brands to deliver exceptional online shopping experiences by combining the power of AI with human creativity. It's one of the world’s leading experts in merchandising-led shopping experiences for more than 300 clients, helping some of the world’s leading brands to optimize their economic performance through structure, scale, and the use of smart data.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: United Kingdom / France

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Through its ongoing partnership with Google Cloud, Attraqt's XO platform delivers cutting-edge AI capabilities and scales to meet the traffic demands created by its 300 plus clients.

Google Cloud results

  • Supports a platform used by more than 50% of France’s biggest ecommerce sites
  • Allows companies to orchestrate their algorithms in real time leveraging Google Cloud’s AI features
  • Handles traffic spikes smoothly, enabling Attraqt to serve 2.9 billion requests over a five-day shopping peak

100% uninterrupted service over peak trading periods

The shopping experience has changed irrevocably in the last 20 years. Online shopping has brought more power, freedom, and choice to the customer. It’s a habit that’s only been strengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic. With stores shut, shoppers had no choice but to shop online. And they didn’t hold back. That’s why ecommerce is predicted to bring in $3,914 trillion in overall global retail sales in 2021 alone. To stay ahead of the game, businesses are looking to offer an intuitive, smart, and relevant online shopping experience, and that’s where Attraqt comes in.

Attraqt helps businesses build intelligent online shopping experiences using its innovative AI platform. Its 300-strong client list is a veritable who’s who of international name brands, from Maisons Du Monde to Vans. In a crowded field, Attraqt has managed to differentiate itself from its competitors by helping well-known retailers understand what makes their ecommerce journeys work and how to improve them, increasing their customer order values and conversion rates.

"We want to focus on our product and allocate our resources to development, so we can keep creating value for the company. We want a partner who we can rely on to deal with the operational side of things. That's why we choose to continue working with Google Cloud."

Nicholas Mathon, Chief Architect, Attraqt

In 2019, Attraqt acquired French predictive marketing start-up Early Birds and its award-winning AI-driven personalization platform, thereby expanding its capabilities in the form of the Experience Orchestrator, or XO platform. While Attraqt's original platform service offers tools to achieve greater conversion by drawing consumers' attention to the products retailers want them to notice, XO optimizes and personalizes the end-to-end product discovery process. To dynamically determine relevant recommendations, XO uses algorithms to analyze a range of data, including user behavior, preferences, and profile, as well as their purchase history including in-store purchases and telephone orders.

Built in the cloud from the start, one of the key requirements for XO is the ability to scale rapidly to handle additional traffic during the sales season, or when a big client comes on board. Since its initial implementation, it has evolved to use more and more Google Cloud-managed services, delivering innovative AI capabilities and enabling the XO team to focus on product development and innovation.

"We want to focus on our product and allocate our resources to development, so we can keep creating value for the company," says Nicolas Mathon, co-founder of Early Birds and now VP Innovation at Attraqt. "To do that, we want a partner who we can rely on to deal with the operational side of things. That's why we choose to continue working with Google Cloud."

"We have to be able to successfully support those big peaks such as Black Friday. We need to be able to scale really fast, then release our resources two days later. That's what we can achieve with Google Kubernetes Engine."

Nicholas Mathon, Chief Architect, Attraqt

Evolving with Google Cloud to support company growth

Attraqt is now used by more than 50 percent of the most important ecommerce sites in France, but scalability was already the key challenge when Mathon first built the platform infrastructure. As well as supporting peaks, the platform needed to be able to handle large volumes of API queries per second, to continually optimize the potential of customer data in real time. In 2017, this volume was an average of 600 prediction requests per second, tripling to 2,000 per second in the sales season. "We've evolved with Google Cloud, going from scaling manually using Google Kubernetes Engine to automating as much as possible," Mathon comments.

The initial solution was based on a virtualized environment using Compute Engine to test algorithms and analyze consumers' histories. It also used Cloud Storage to complete its automatic backups and Cloud CDN to display personalized content relevant to the consumer on a country-by-country basis and in near real time. Meanwhile, Cloud Load Balancing optimizes load distribution between the Hadoop/Spark virtual servers. However, as the platform's customer base grew, it needed to grow its ability to scale further, while reducing the amount of operational work for its teams.

The answer was to switch to managed services, using Pub/Sub as the central messaging service for a microservices architecture, as well as Dataproc and Dataflow for batch processing, leveraging BigQuery for its data warehouse and Cloud Bigtable for column-orientated storage. Finally, the team implemented Google Kubernetes Engine to be able to scale up quickly and release resources when no longer needed.

The result? Across a five day trading period in 2020, which covered both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 2.9 billion requests were served. And all without a single service interruption."We have to be able to successfully support those big peaks such as Black Friday,” says Mathon. “We need to be able to scale really fast, then release our resources two days later. That's what we can achieve with Google Kubernetes Engine."

“We have exciting plans for the future, including expanding the number of regions we use to deliver even lower latencies for our customers globally. Google Cloud has really supported our growth, and we look forward to strengthening our ever-evolving partnership.”

Nicholas Mathon, Chief Architect, Attraqt

Partnering up to help brands and retailers on their AI journey

AI is at the very heart of what Attraqt does. Smart online retail relies on smart AI, and Attraqt's Experience Orchestrator (XO) allows companies to orchestrate their own algorithms in real time, build personalization strategies, and create differentiated experiences at scale. "By integrating our search engine, retailers can enable customers to search in more complex ways, by entering a term such as 'party dress' for example," explains Mathon. "We use many AI services provided by Google, to compute our models and to schedule our models.”

To develop, maintain, and evolve its own algorithm, the XO team uses managed services such as Vertex AI and Cloud Vision. But with XO, Attraqt's users can also flexibly use third-party, open source, and custom-configured algorithms to achieve the best performances. Using Google Cloud services makes it easy for large retailers who are also using Google Cloud to connect with Attraqt's API-based tools. Attraqt's clients can also access all the data brought together by Attraqt through BigQuery, with connectors that are native to Google.

"When approaching a client like Maisons du Monde, which is also a Google Cloud customer, the fact we use Google Cloud gives them confidence that there's a strong connection between the platforms," explains Mathon. "It's easy for those customers to integrate algorithms developed on Google Cloud and deploy them using our platform."

Building a global, multicloud future

Attraqt is now looking forward to expanding to new markets across Europe and North America. It's also rethinking how the different services in the platform work together. As Attraqt's legacy infrastructure is hosted with an alternative cloud provider, the plan is for the company to operate a multicloud infrastructure with XO services hosted on Google Cloud. Google Cloud Premier Partner DoiT International is providing support to make this vision a reality, while the XO team is looking forward to exploring Anthos to help deploy across cloud environments.

“We have exciting plans for the future, including expanding the number of regions we use to deliver even lower latencies for our customers globally,” says Mathon. “Google Cloud has really supported our growth, and we look forward to strengthening our ever-evolving partnership.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Attraqt

Attraqt enables leading international brands to deliver exceptional online shopping experiences by combining the power of AI with human creativity. It's one of the world’s leading experts in merchandising-led shopping experiences for more than 300 clients, helping some of the world’s leading brands to optimize their economic performance through structure, scale, and the use of smart data.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: United Kingdom / France