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SHOPLINE: Helping ecommerce businesses thrive with faster networks and data-driven marketing insights

About SHOPLINE

As one of the leading ecommerce enablers in Asia, SHOPLINE is an omnichannel platform that allows merchants to easily set up digital stores to connect their online and offline businesses. With a mission to empower merchants to succeed everywhere in the world, SHOPLINE currently supports more than 250,000 online business owners across 10 regions in Asia with rich technical resources and data-driven marketing insights.

Industries: Technology
Location: Hong Kong

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SHOPLINE enhances the website performance and marketing results of online businesses by running its image rendering service and data analytics on Google Cloud to ensure stable content delivery and generate insightful reports.

Google Cloud results

  • Ensures stable data flow with Cloud CDN to support the optimum website performance
  • Provides data-driven customer relation management features powered with BigQuery to enhance order conversion rate by 250%
  • Reduces 50% in image display latency on Taiwanese ecommerce websites

Shortens deployment time by 20% with Google Kubernetes Engine

The global ecommerce market has experienced explosive growth since early 2020. As more people stay home due to COVID-19, digital marketplaces have become a popular and safe alternative to shop. Global retail ecommerce traffic reached a record 22 billion monthly visits in June 2020, with experts predicting that the expansion of digital consumption will continue to accelerate even further in the future.

Following this trend, more business owners hope to meet their customers online by establishing their own digital store. To help them build an online presence, SHOPLINE runs an ecommerce platform to simplify the process of starting a digital business. Through its platform, anyone can open an online shop to reach global consumers with just a few clicks. SHOPLINE also offers a point-of-sale system connecting online and offline businesses, which helps merchants better manage their logistics and sales records.

“In our evaluation process, Google Cloud stood out by supporting the fastest website content delivery speed in all the regions we operate in. It also provides easy-to-use data analytics tools like BigQuery, which enables us to greatly improve our services.”

Ronald Li, Engineering Director, SHOPLINE

With foresight on the growth of the ecommerce market in Asia at its launch, the founders of SHOPLINE chose to build its services in the cloud from the beginning for simpler infrastructure maintenance. Today, SHOPLINE has quickly expanded to 10 regions across Asia, supporting more than 250,000 online businesses.

“Being a cloud-native company has been the key to our rapid expansion,” says Ronald Li, engineering director at SHOPLINE. “We always believed in cloud technology, which has helped our business grow in a more efficient way and keeps us agile enough to serve customers from anywhere in the world.”

On top of providing technical support required for e-shop operations, SHOPLINE has been dedicated to optimizing and broadening features that can help boost its clients’ business results, in particular website performance and customer data analytics. To that end, it decided to add Google Cloud to its multicloud structure in 2017 because of its highly connected network and intuitive data analytics abilities.

“We want to leverage the best-of-breed technology across different cloud platforms to give our clients the most technical advantages. In our evaluation process, Google Cloud stood out by supporting the fastest website content delivery speed in all the regions we operate in. It also provides easy-to-use data analytics tools like BigQuery, which enables us to greatly improve our services,” explains Ronald of the company’s decision.

“We built our image service on Google Cloud and found that the image display latency has been reduced by 50% on Taiwanese ecommerce websites. Other regions in Asia have also seen a 20% to 30% improvement in image rendering speed thanks to the excellent connectivity provided by Cloud CDN.”

Ronald Li, Engineering Director, SHOPLINE

Ensuring best possible website performance with fast and stable network

Before adopting Google Cloud, one of the greatest challenges that SHOPLINE encountered in terms of website performance was the latency in image rendering. According to Ronald, the speed and quality of image display on ecommerce websites could directly impact sales numbers, as consumers are less likely to click on a product if the image is not rendered correctly or quick enough.

Today, SHOPLINE hosts all of its image rendering systems on Google Cloud. It first built microservices on Compute Engine and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) as a backbone and then added Cloud Functions as well as Pub/Sub to simplify backend system management. SHOPLINE also uses Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage for the temporary storage of its services hosted by Google Cloud as a backup.

To enhance the website performance of its clients by supporting faster image display and more consistent image quality, SHOPLINE uses Cloud CDN to guarantee a stable data flow with a single global IP address. “The Google Cloud data center in Taiwan protects our services from disruption brought by undersea cable issues,” details Ronald. “We built our image service on Google Cloud and found that the image display latency has been reduced by 50% on Taiwanese ecommerce websites. Other regions in Asia have also seen a 20% to 30% improvement in image rendering speed thanks to the excellent connectivity provided by Cloud CDN.”

Image of SHOPLINE ecommerce interface

Leveraging the power of data to boost ecommerce business with BigQuery

Another Google Cloud product that SHOPLINE benefits greatly from is BigQuery. As the company grows, the amount of data collected also increases. As a result, the traditional way of manually pulling out data to generate business reports is no longer sustainable. To build the company’s own data warehouse, SHOPLINE relies on BigQuery for its simplicity of use and easy integration with the business intelligence (BI) tools that it uses for data mining, dashboards, and visualization.

“Our research shows that BigQuery can integrate with more BI tools than other competitors. While most of the alternatives require some programming work to connect BI tools and the data warehouse, BigQuery only needs a URL setup for the integration of BI tools,” says Ronald. This enables SHOPLINE’s data engineers to extract relevant data directly without going through a tedious setup and configuration process. The intuitive platform also means that relevant employees can generate business reports quickly without much technical know-how.

Apart from the internal benefits, SHOPLINE also leverages BigQuery to collect and analyze online consumer behavior data for its clients. Data such as frequency of purchase, the number of products viewed during one visit, and items saved in shopping carts helps SHOPLINE's clients design more effective marketing campaigns targeted at different groups of shoppers. This has led to a 250% increase in order conversion rates.

Enhancing operational efficiency with highly intuitive Google Kubernetes Engine

Ronald believes that the intuitiveness and stability of the Google Cloud products have enabled the SHOPLINE team to reach higher development and operational efficiency. To illustrate, he said that it took the team 10%–20% less time to deploy the image-rendering service on Compute Engine and GKE when compared to other cloud providers.

“We believe that Kubernetes is by far the best container orchestration tool on the market,” explains Ronald. “Back in 2017 when we started building our image service on other cloud platforms, we would have to build the clusters on our own. Now, it only requires a few clicks to set up and scale Kubernetes clusters on Google Kubernetes Engine due to its native support.”

The autoscaling and auto-recovery features of GKE have also helped SHOPLINE save on maintenance time and cost, allowing its engineers to focus on product development instead.

“Our goal is to help our clients achieve greater business results by understanding their customers better with advanced technologies like ML and AI applied to data analytics. With Google Cloud, we have all we need at hand to offer even more sophisticated data-driven reports and recommendations.”

Ronald Li, Engineering Director, SHOPLINE

Exploring new possibilities with advanced data analytics BigQuery ML

Moving forward, SHOPLINE expects to expand its data analytics capabilities from visualization to prediction using the latest machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies of Google Cloud. The team is already relying on BigQuery to strengthen its data pipeline and models for feature expansion in the future.

“Our goal is to help our clients achieve greater business results by understanding their customers better with advanced technologies like ML and AI applied to data analytics. With Google Cloud, we have all we need at hand to offer even more sophisticated data-driven reports and recommendations,” says Ronald.

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About SHOPLINE

As one of the leading ecommerce enablers in Asia, SHOPLINE is an omnichannel platform that allows merchants to easily set up digital stores to connect their online and offline businesses. With a mission to empower merchants to succeed everywhere in the world, SHOPLINE currently supports more than 250,000 online business owners across 10 regions in Asia with rich technical resources and data-driven marketing insights.

Industries: Technology
Location: Hong Kong