App Engine and BigQuery give Bluecore’s personalized automated marketing a real-time edge

Bluecore, a New York City-based SaaS technology company focused on the automated marketing space, uses Google App Engine, Google Compute Engine, and Google BigQuery as a platform for its intelligent triggered email service.

Challenge

For online retailers, an abandoned online shopping cart represents a lost opportunity. Three quarters of shoppers who ditch their cart originally had planned to make a purchase, according to Forrester Research, which leads to the question of how retailers can take advantage of that opportunity to close a sale.

Bluecore found a solution by creating a B2B application to analyze data contained in a customer’s shopping behaviors and changes to online product catalogs to create highly personalized automated email campaigns based on behavioral triggers. Take, for example, the abandoned shopping cart. Bluecore discovered that shipping costs are often the sticking point and developed their software to trigger a follow-up email offering free shipping within a couple of hours of the cart being abandoned. Bluecore extends this data analysis and creates personalized emails for customers who only browse or enter a search term, and to catalogs when prices drop or new products are added.

Co-founder and CTO of Bluecore Mahmoud Arram says that the personalized approach drives higher conversion rates than typical batch email blasts. He refers to one of their customers, BCBGMaxAzria, who found that these personalized emails average a “52% increase in click-through rates versus non-triggered emails, with an increase of more than 220% on click-to-open rates.” Bluecore’s triggered emails resulted in a 20% revenue increase from email campaigns in the first quarter after installation.

Harnessing the power of analytics gives Bluecore the key to unlocking the minds and actions of consumers. The company processes millions of behavioral events each day, tying that data to changes in online catalogues (that pair of pants you didn’t want at $75 might look more attractive when they go on sale for $50). In churning through these millions of data points, Bluecore works fast, analyzing and generating emails within seconds before scheduling them via an algorithm that figures out the most advantageous times to send them.

Solution

With a business model that relies on highly accurate and fast analytical performance, Bluecore knew that platform choice was vital, and the company has used Google Cloud Platform from the outset. “For us, Google Cloud Platform was the clear winner,” says Arram. “Performance is paramount for us, and Google Cloud Platform delivers.”

Bluecore has built their platform on a variety of Cloud Platform products. Google App Engine serves as the front end, gathering shopping information in real time and pushing the data into the task queue, where it is sent to both Bluecore’s proprietary analytics system, as well as to Google BigQuery. Google Compute Engine retrieves the analytical numbers and processes them before sending everything back to Google App Engine to then push out the emails to customers in one seamless loop.

Results

Google Cloud Platform delivers the performance Bluecore needs for queries, scaling and more. Arram reports that it takes less than 500 milliseconds to render a unique email search – about how long it takes to double-click a computer mouse – and praises how Google Cloud Platform scaled so easily, which for a startup can mean the difference between success or failure if customer demand spikes. “We knew that we’d be handling a few hundred requests per second from day one. A year later, we’re now up to 100 million requests per day,” says Arram. “Cloud Platform has easily handled the growth.”

Moving the company’s infrastructure to the cloud also removes the burden of system administration and DevOps from Arram’s staff engineers, allowing them to turn their attention to more relevant work. “We don’t have to worry about the infrastructure at all — it’s truly great to free our engineers from the infrastructure pager world and let them focus on building our product,” he says.

Google Cloud Platform also takes care of all the security certifications, which is a big bonus for Bluecore. “One of our customers needed confirmation of certain levels of security, and we were able to show them that we could meet their security requirements,” says Arram. “It made me realize that if we were running our own data center, we probably would have run into trouble in that regard.”

With Google Cloud Platform, Arram was able to build out a data powerhouse at Bluecore with a team that had more time to concentrate on growing the business rather than on IT housekeeping. “It’s a win-win that lets everybody concentrate on what they do best.”

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