Bazaarvoice: Cutting costs and accelerating development with Apigee

About Bazaarvoice

Founded in 2005, Bazaarvoice provides software that enables e-commerce companies to collect, distribute, and display authentic consumer-generated content about their products online. The software also delivers insights and analytics to help drive marketing, product development, and sales. Bazaarvoice has software offerings that plug in to customers’ existing systems and workflows via APIs.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

By migrating to the Apigee platform, Bazaarvoice reduces API management costs 34% and gains new flexibility in developing features and fixing issues.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reduced API management costs 34%
  • Develops new features in days versus months
  • Fixes issues quickly by writing code

Manages 15B API calls per month without outages

Austin, Texas-based Bazaarvoice switched to Apigee for its API platform because of its competitive pricing and feature set. But another benefit soon became apparent to Bazaarvoice engineers: the ability to write code on the Apigee platform and “own our destiny,” says Kurtis White, Senior Development Manager in Research and Development for Bazaarvoice.

Bazaarvoice specializes in consumer-generated content marketing solutions that connect brands, retailers, and consumers. APIs do the heavy lifting in making those connections. For example, the Conversations API, the heart of the Bazaarvoice platform, lets the company’s retail clients aggregate and leverage users’ product reviews and ratings. With the Conversations API, API keys are passed along in each query string and enable Bazaarvoice customers to access the relevant customer data.

APIs are essential to the Bazaarvoice platform. During its early days the company didn’t use APIs, relying instead on direct communication links to connect its customers to what consumers were saying about them. “That approach just didn’t scale,” says White. “Without reliable APIs, it would be almost impossible for us to be in business today.”

Eight years ago, Bazaarvoice switched to APIs. From about 2013 to 2017, the company relied upon the same API management SaaS solutions provider. But the company was growing. The call volume that its APIs generated was expanding at a rapid pace, too—especially during the busy year-end shopping season. For example, in early October 2016, Bazaarvoice APIs generated nearly 9 billion calls, compared to about 12 billion calls in early December 2016.

“I wasn’t sure we could make our deadline to migrate 100% to Apigee. But we did, and I give a big credit to the Apigee technical team. They provided 24-hour support to our team. And once we went live, our platform was handling 15 billion API calls a month with no outages.”

Kurtis White, Senior Development Manager in R&D, Bazaarvoice

Unfortunately, along with the pace of API calls, the costs associated with Bazaarvoice’s existing API solutions provider were also escalating—increasing 74% from early 2016 to early 2017. To keep rising expenses from stifling its own growth, and to continue offering its reliable, high-performing SaaS solution, the company’s IT team decided it was to time to find a different API solutions provider.

In April 2017, Bazaarvoice migrated to the Apigee API platform because of its feature set and, in particular, its competitive pricing. By switching to Apigee, Bazaarvoice reduced its API spend by 34%, White says.

A ticking clock

Migrating from its previous API provider to Apigee involved importing 66,000 API keys—an arduous task. Apigee engineers and business leaders worked directly with their Bazaarvoice counterparts to help ensure a successful transition. “Everyone at Apigee was very responsive to our needs,” White says. “If a problem came up, the Apigee team owned it and worked through it to give us a great experience.”

During the migration, there was a clock ticking in the background. Bazaarvoice wanted to shift 100% of its API calls to Apigee before the contract with its existing API provider came up for renewal. “I wasn’t sure we could make the deadline,” says White. “But we did, and I give a big credit to the Apigee technical team. They provided 24-hour support to our team. And once we went live, our platform was handling 15 billion API calls a month with no outages.”

Following the migration, Apigee support continues to “knock it out of the park,” he added. “Apigee is a great partner to have.”

“Because of how important APIs are to our business, the ability to write code on Apigee lets us control our own destiny. It’s the Apigee number one benefit, in my opinion.”

Kurtis White, Senior Development Manager in R&D, Bazaarvoice

Controlling destiny

The Bazaarvoice IT team didn’t specifically choose Apigee because of the ability to write code on the platform—but they quickly came to appreciate the feature.

“Our previous API provider was like a black box to us,” says White. “They had written some custom code for us that we depended upon. But we didn’t own that code. And if we needed changes, we had to pay them to do it for us.”

“Apigee gives us the flexibility to do things we wouldn’t have even tried before. We can test new things easily, without getting locked into a service agreement with an external party. Before, it might have taken months to develop new product functionalities. Now it takes days.”

Kurtis White, Senior Development Manager in R&D, Bazaarvoice

“Apigee allows us to write our own code that runs on the platform and looks at all of the API calls,” White continues. “We can put the code into a virtual control system. We can update it whenever we want to add a feature. Because of how important APIs are to our business, the ability to write code on Apigee lets us control our own destiny. It’s the Apigee number one benefit, in my opinion.” This also accelerates the time it takes Bazaarvoice to bring new features to market.

“Apigee gives us the flexibility to do things we wouldn’t have even tried before,” says White. “We can test new things easily, without getting locked into a service agreement with an external party. Before, it might have taken months to develop new product functionalities. Now it takes days.”

In addition, writing code on the Apigee platform enables the IT team to quickly address any problems that may arise. “If someone notices a problem, we can write the code to fix it right away,” White says.

“Because Apigee lets us iterate and fix problems quickly, our innovation has gone to the next level,” White added. “Before, if you had an idea, you’d wonder if you really wanted to invest $30,000 and three months in it. Probably not. Now, with Apigee, the investment is maybe one day and zero dollars.”

Experimentation pays off for Bazaarvoice and its customers. For example, during the 2017 holiday season, Bazaarvoice was able to give all its customers the capacity to handle twice the number of API calls.

“With our previous API solutions provider, it would have been such a long process to make that happen, it wouldn’t have been worth it,” says White. “But it was really easy to write the code in Apigee. Plus, we made our customers happy and kept them running smoothly during the peak holiday season—with little effort on our part.”

“We’re working with Apigee to build an industry-leading model for monetizing our APIs.”

Kurtis White, Senior Development Manager in R&D, Bazaarvoice

Personalization and monetization

Apigee has played a key role in enabling Bazaarvoice to develop new products, too. In March 2018, Bazaarvoice released a new personalization data product for its customers, built on top of an Apigee-powered API. The new product enables Bazaarvoice retail customers to recommend relevant products to their online shoppers. The products are personalized to the shoppers’ interests, based on their past behavior and what they’re shopping for.

Apigee is also serving as a strategic business advisor, helping Bazaarvoice determine the best way to price its offerings as its API call volumes continue to increase.

“We’re working with Apigee to build an industry-leading model for monetizing our APIs,” says White. “Apigee is the ideal advisor in this regard. We’re handling such large volume, the volume is continuing to grow, and Apigee enables us to power it.”

About Bazaarvoice

Founded in 2005, Bazaarvoice provides software that enables e-commerce companies to collect, distribute, and display authentic consumer-generated content about their products online. The software also delivers insights and analytics to help drive marketing, product development, and sales. Bazaarvoice has software offerings that plug in to customers’ existing systems and workflows via APIs.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States
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