commercetools: Democratizing commerce technology with Google Cloud

About commercetools

commercetools is a next-generation software company that offers a truly cloud-native commerce platform, providing the building blocks for the new digital commerce age. Its leading-edge API-first approach helps retailers create brand value by empowering commerce teams to design unique and engaging digital commerce experiences everywhere, today and in the future.

Industries: Technology
Location: Germany

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

Contact us

By choosing Google Kubernetes Engine, commercetools helps its developers focus on creating new features so its customers can build ecommerce solutions that answer their specific needs.

Google Cloud results:

  • Enables instant scalability across entire platform to ensure 100% uptime for customers’ websites, apps, and other commerce experiences
  • Enables commercetools to reduce infrastructure costs and reinvest that capital back into the business
  • Cuts monthly costs by over 70% with flexible pricing plans
  • Frees developers to focus on new features and products instead of working on infrastructure management
  • Enables commercetools to leverage industry-leading machine learning capabilities to differentiate its offering through personalization and efficient work systems
  • Enables commercetools to serve more and bigger customers, with 300% traffic increase and 50% more API calls (2020)

Powering digital commerce for a range of global brands

An ecommerce presence is no longer a luxury; for many businesses, it’s a necessity if they want to succeed. However, building a digital shopping experience is nothing like doing business from a physical store. It calls for a completely different range of expertise, such as UX and UI design, as well as digital marketing skills. This has led many companies to search for new commerce platforms. Germany’s commercetools wants to help companies to help themselves. “Rather than locking customers into a limited way of doing things,” explains Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer at commercetools, “what we do is provide our customers with the tools and APIs to flexibly create and customize a commerce solution that suits their own unique needs.”

It's an approach that has been extremely successful for the company, landing them more than 250 clients across the world, over a wide range of industries.

“Our clients are successful businesses that have to handle extreme peaks in traffic caused by promotional events or celebrity endorsements on social media. We needed a cloud-based infrastructure that could handle scalability at speed and ensure a high quality, stable service. We’ve found that with Google Cloud.”

Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer, commercetools

By late 2016, commercetools had grown to the point where its existing cloud infrastructure was struggling to cope with the amount of traffic the company was dealing with. If commercetools was going to continue growing, it needed a new infrastructure. It chose Google Cloud.

“Our clients are successful businesses that have to handle extreme peaks in traffic caused by promotional events or celebrity endorsements on social media,” says Kelly. “We needed a cloud-based infrastructure that could handle scalability at speed and ensure a high-quality, stable service. We’ve found that with Google Cloud.”

Scalability at speed with Google Kubernetes Engine

As a cloud-native platform, commercetools was quick to see the advantages of a container-based architecture and designed its infrastructure around Kubernetes, the open source container technology developed at Google. At the time, commercetools chose a provider that designed its cloud for individual developer use cases, but as the company grew and its workloads became more ambitious, this began to strain the limits of its previous cloud’s infrastructure.

Suffering from frequent outages and a lack of support from its previous cloud provider, commercetools began searching for a new solution. After testing out a number of alternatives, the company found that Google Cloud best fulfilled its requirements of scalability, speed, and simplicity. “Everything was very well-documented,” says Kelly. “It didn’t require lots of hand-holding for us to start using the tools, which we liked a lot. Google Cloud fits well with our own engineering-first culture.”

"Who better to run our stack than the inventors of Kubernetes? With Google Kubernetes Engine, we get phenomenal, enterprise-quality support without having to do any of the routine infrastructure stuff.”

Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer, commercetools

commercetools’ engineers used third-party provisioning tool Terraform to automate much of the migration process and spent three months preparing to migrate. When the time came, commercetools migrated its stack to Google Cloud in just 30 minutes with zero downtime in its service.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) has become the core of the new infrastructure, allowing the company to offload more of its maintenance tasks by using managed services. The introduction of persistent volumes to GKE means that commercetools can now house some of its stateful, third-party services in Google Cloud without worrying about integration issues.

"Who better to run our stack than the inventors of Kubernetes?” says Kelly. “With Google Kubernetes Engine, we get phenomenal, enterprise-quality support without having to do any of the routine infrastructure stuff.”

As well as using GKE to build out its key infrastructure components, commercetools has been using BigQuery and Google Cloud AI to enhance its data capabilities. “The prominence of Google Cloud in data and AI has really helped us,” says Brad Soo, Product Marketing Manager at commercetools. “It means that our teams are able to hit the ground running, especially the team working with our machine learning functionality. As a result, our customers are able to make our great APIs work out of the box.”

commercetools now offers customers a suite of machine learning APIs for tasks such as product category recommendation, finding similar products, looking for missing data, or image recognition.

“Google Cloud just works really well for us and lets us get on with doing what we do best. We don’t provide value to our customers when we spend all our time managing infrastructure components. We do provide value to them when we create beautiful APIs.”

Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer, commercetools

Google Cloud for improved stability and lower costs

As times have changed, commercetools and its infrastructure have adapted to meet new challenges. Within the broad Google Cloud ecosystem, engineers are able to leverage machine learning technologies on AI Platform and use them to build new innovative solutions for a wider audience. Today, commercetools offers its customers more than 300 multi-tenant APIs, powered by GKE.

“Google Cloud just works really well for us, and lets us get on with doing what we do best,” says Kelly. “We don’t provide value to our customers when we spend all our time managing infrastructure components. We do provide value to them when we create beautiful APIs.”

Supporting customers every step of the way

As the world changes, commercetools adapts, and Google Cloud is there to support it. The level of service provided enables commercetools’ developers to focus on developing new features and products instead of worrying about the limits of its infrastructure. commercetools is currently evaluating Anthos to simplify the management of working in multi-cloud environments, which it frequently has to do for some customers.

“We really do look at Google Cloud as a long term strategic partner,” says Kelly. “The team helps us support our customers no matter what changes the world throws at them."

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

Contact us

About commercetools

commercetools is a next-generation software company that offers a truly cloud-native commerce platform, providing the building blocks for the new digital commerce age. Its leading-edge API-first approach helps retailers create brand value by empowering commerce teams to design unique and engaging digital commerce experiences everywhere, today and in the future.

Industries: Technology
Location: Germany