HOPI: Turning more points into purchases with an infrastructure that delivers on performance

About Hopi

HOPI is a mobile retail platform that integrates leading consumer brands, providing personalized content that allows customers to earn loyalty points from marketing campaigns.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Turkey

About Kartaca

Based in Istanbul, Google Cloud Partner Kartaca is a next-generation marketing- and commercial-solutions provider.

Mobile retail platform HOPI migrated its customer loyalty app to Google Cloud, improving the performance of its infrastructure to make its services available to its 7.5 million users 24/7.

Google Cloud results

  • Improves app performance by scaling easily to meet peaks and minimizing downtime
  • Speeds up data analysis with BigQuery, bringing down query times from hours to minutes
  • Reduces hardware costs by 25%, supporting investment in innovation

Deployment time reduced by 75%

Ecommerce is still an emerging sector in Turkey, according to a 2018 report by the European Commission on ecommerce statistics, but it’s growing fast and increased by 38% in 2018. Rewards platform HOPI is helping Turkish shoppers get online through a mobile app that brings together 120 major brands and enables users to access discounts and earn points as they shop. Founded in 2015, HOPI now has more than eight million users in Turkey.

“HOPI brings the online retail experience into offline stores,” explains Murat Tasbas, CTO at HOPI. “Users can spend the points, known as ‘paracik,’ that they earn through the app in both digital and physical stores and transfer points between themselves.” Personalization is also key to the app’s appeal. “HOPI delivers content and campaigns tailored to users’ individual interests, based on their shopping habits and personal preferences,” says Murat. For retailers who partner with HOPI, the rewards are reduced churn, larger basket sizes, and exposure to new customers, as well as the ability to target existing customers more accurately.

“To ensure both the online and offline experience is smooth for our users, and the retailers we work with, HOPI needs a platform that is secure, stable, and scalable. We also want to be able to make the most of the innovative big data tools out there.”

Murat Tasbas, CTO, HOPI

Customers are able to redeem their points in stores, with one HOPI paracik worth one Turkish lira. That means the app needs to be able to load quickly at point of sale, while remaining stable and secure. When it came to renewing its platform hosting contract, HOPI realized that because of outages and service disruption in that year, its previous provider was not offering the service needed to keep the app up and running 24/7. With the support of Google Cloud Partner Kartaca, HOPI chose Google Cloud as the best solution for meeting its infrastructure challenges, as well as enabling the development of new features.

“To ensure both the online and offline experience is smooth for our users, and the retailers we work with, HOPI needs a platform that is secure, stable, and scalable,” says Murat. “We also want to be able to make the most of the innovative big data tools out there.”

Building an infrastructure that’s stable and scalable

For retailers and the marketing platforms that support them, it’s not just annual promotions such as Black Friday that can cause spikes in traffic. HOPI runs around 300 campaigns a day, many of which are targeted to particular user segments. During the launch of a campaign, or after a commercial is run on TV, traffic on the app can triple or quadruple, while usage during the night is generally very low. “With our previous locally hosted provider, we faced data center issues such as outages that lasted for hours,” explains Murat. “It was also difficult to scale, so we weren’t using our resources efficiently.”

“We’re really happy with the performance of Google Cloud Pub/Sub. Even when we have an influx of users or transactions, we no longer experience blockages the way we used to with our previous messaging software.”

Murat Tasbas, CTO, HOPI

To prepare for the migration, Kartaca and HOPI spent five months reworking the HOPI infrastructure to use containerization and microservices, and a further month running pre-production environments on Google Cloud. “Because everything was already up and running, it only took five hours to put our pre-production environments into production,” says Murat. “The system went offline at midnight, our low traffic period, and was back up and running at 5 AM.”

HOPI now runs its microservices-based infrastructure using Google Kubernetes Engine and Compute Engine, as well as Cloud SQL, using Pub/Sub to manage app events. Because the HOPI app reacts to personalized information such as specific products the user is viewing, or user location, the backend infrastructure has to process 15 million events every day. “We’re really happy with the performance of Pub/Sub, “ says Murat. “Even when we have an influx of users or transactions, we no longer experience blockages the way we used to with our previous messaging software.”

Its data management and data science teams rely on BigQuery, Cloud Bigtable, and Dataflow. “Previously, our data teams shared database access and resources, which was limiting and expensive,” says Murat, “Now, they can each work on their own projects. We can securely manage and store around 16.5 TB of data, integrated from 40 data sources, and it’s easy to request additional capacity. In terms of data modeling, queries that used to take two or three hours are now ready in minutes, and we can monitor the cost daily.”

Working with Kartaca for a smooth migration

HOPI has been working with Kartaca since its inception, so choosing an implementation partner for the migration was an easy decision. “Kartaca is a very special partner for us,” explains Murat. “It was the Kartaca team who built the entire back end of the HOPI app, as we don’t have an internal development team. The positive partnership between HOPI and Kartaca is one of the main reasons the migration was so successful.”

Before choosing Google Cloud, Kartaca and HOPI undertook three months of research. “We were looking for the best solution for HOPI’s particular use case, so we took a very objective approach,” says Gizem Terzi Türkoğlu, Marketing Manager at Kartaca.

“We aim to be a pioneer and have already incorporated image recognition, mobile payments, and location services into the platform. Because it is so easy to try out new services, Google Cloud will help us to develop new functionality without having to build from scratch.”

Murat Tasbas, CTO, HOPI

Saving money and investing in innovation

Since migrating, HOPI has seen improvements in the performance of its infrastructure. Deployment times are 75% lower as servers can be set up quicker, hardware costs are down by 25%, and it’s no longer experiencing the downtime that used to affect customers and lead to a loss of business.

Thanks to saving on resources, HOPI is looking to invest more in innovation. “From a technology perspective, the advantages of Google Cloud are clear,” says Murat. “Instead of spending money maintaining servers, we can take a broader view and are investigating the possibilities offered by tools such as machine learning.”

HOPI is planning to use machine learning to further improve its content personalizations and make sure it communicates with users at the right time, in the right way. “Making sure we get personalization right takes up a lot of time and resources, so we’re very excited about how AI can automate and improve our campaign targeting and product recommendations,” says Murat.

The next step will be to take HOPI to other countries and potentially expand to sectors other than retail. “Essentially, HOPI runs on big data insights, so its relevance isn’t limited to retail marketing and could extend to other areas such as fintech or travel,” says Murat. “We aim to be a pioneer and have already incorporated image recognition, mobile payments, and location services into the platform. Because it is so easy to try out new services, Google Cloud will help us to develop new functionality without having to build from scratch.”

About Hopi

HOPI is a mobile retail platform that integrates leading consumer brands, providing personalized content that allows customers to earn loyalty points from marketing campaigns.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Turkey

About Kartaca

Based in Istanbul, Google Cloud Partner Kartaca is a next-generation marketing- and commercial-solutions provider.