October 27, 2021


Connecting People

How Confluent data in motion tech is giving AO.com the personal touch

On line electrical retailer AO.com is driving hyper-personalised ordeals with the enable of Confluent and Apache Kafka, furthering its mission to be the worldwide destination for electronics. The on the web electrical retail expert, which serves millions of shoppers throughout the British isles and Germany, saw a sharp maximize in advancement because of to the spectacular shift in consumer shopping patterns throughout the pandemic and essential their engineering to help this surge although continuing to concentration on turning every shopper stop by to its internet site into a 1-to-1 marketing prospect.

AO.com utilised the flexible, extensible architecture delivered by the Confluent System, which has the electricity and smarts to mix historical shopper data with genuine-time digital signals from shoppers. “With Confluent powering our Kafka deployment, we can liberate data from our heritage devices and mix it with genuine-time signals from our shoppers to deliver a hyper-personalised experience,” suggests Jon Vines, Head of Data Engineering and Integration at AO.com.

Data in motion unlocks a globe of prospects

Starting off out with a self-managed surroundings based on the Confluent System, AO.com recently moved to Confluent Cloud, a entirely-managed cloud company, enabling the on the web retailer to continue its purpose of innovating shopper ordeals by way of event streaming.

Vines suggests by enabling onsite clickstream data as a genuine-time data feed, the procedure will allow us to push an suitable voucher to the shopper in genuine time to develop much more powerful propositions. “You just can not do that with a data lake and batch processing,” he suggests.

AO.com has found that genuine-time data in motion present unique shopper intelligence which can unlock prospects and bigger efficiency for enterprises – critical to providing exceptional model and the shopper experience. But it was not usually this way.

When the on the web retailer initially commenced with event streaming, a evidence of idea was run to extract data from heritage devices, like purchase processing, applying modify data capture (CDC) connectors to observe updates in Microsoft SQL Server commit logs. This developed raw event streams, which had been dealt with by a homegrown Kafka cluster hosted in various AWS EC2 occasions – considering that changed by Confluent Cloud. Kafka propagated these events to a set of .Web providers, which processed the data for various specific use cases and saved the results in MongoDB.

Right after the success of its initial section, AO.com made a decision to leverage the electricity of the Kafka Streams API to enrich its raw event data with additional context, producing much more enriched event streams. Each the raw and enriched subjects are despatched through connectors to downstream individuals and S3 buckets. The event bucket is utilized by AO.com’s data experts for exploration and analysis, even though the downstream individuals use additional business logic in advance of propagating the results to MongoDB.

This received them nearer to the end purpose – genuine-time hyper-personalisation. To do this, AO.com deployed Confluent to accumulate clickstream events from its web server, again generating both equally raw and enriched subjects. The enriched subject then feeds AO.com’s backend Lambda/MongoDB/S3 architecture as in advance of. It then goes to Kafka to stream the resulting events back again to the web server, injecting the abundant, hyper-personalised written content into the shopper experience.

Prospects like what they see, with AO.com discovering they respond positively to the personal touch and has seen greater conversions. “Our hyper-personalised method is providing measurable results,” suggests Vines. “That’s evidence that our conclusion to adopt a genuine-time event streaming method was the correct 1.

Unlocking prospects and efficiencies

And right after the successful deployment of its initially event streaming use situation concentrated on hyper-personalisation, AO.com also labored with Confluent Skilled Products and services to development promptly in event streaming maturity, constructing to the place exactly where reuse of data, efficiencies of scale, and the platform outcome are reinforcing 1 an additional.  This has allowed the retailer to speed up innovation throughout the board without the need of costly or time-consuming engineering up grade and transformation projects. “Utilizing the Kafka Streams API will allow us to establish up distinct views and develop new stream processing programs. And with Schema Registry, we get a thoroughly clean separation amongst producers and individuals, so we can easily include new kinds of data without the need of worrying about breaking existing programs,” Vines suggests.

Getting Confluent regulate its event streaming infrastructure suggests AO.com has also taken off an operational burden, freeing up its developers to concentration on constructing new programs. It also will allow the retailer to leverage Confluent’s Kafka skills and to get seamless updates, offering it simple accessibility to the most recent functions.

“Prior to Confluent Cloud, when we experienced broker outages, it needed rebuilds,” he suggests. “With the resulting context switching, it could acquire up to 3 days of developers’ time to take care of. Now, Confluent usually takes treatment of anything for us, so our developers can concentration on constructing new functions and programs.”

In the long run, AO.com has seen distinct benefits from Confluent’s skills in data in motion, built on the Kafka engineering formulated by the company’s founders. It is serving to the enterprises deliver exceptional shoppers ordeals in genuine-time. Some of the business outcomes consist of:

  • Buyer conversion fees greater
  • Developers concentrated on benefit-include functions, not operations, together with the rollout of new business capabilities
  • Data at the velocity of business – integrating stock availability data to greater tutorial shopper journeys

Vines sums it up properly, “The most vital outcome is that we can deliver capabilities at tempo. Pace grew to become even much more very important throughout the pandemic for the reason that the globe moved so promptly from predominantly in-shop shopping to on the web. The velocity at which we can develop new use cases that make improvements to the shopper journey with Confluent Cloud is serving to us to cement our on the web sector management position. And that is for the reason that it will allow us to take care of every minute as a 1-on-1 prospect to present a excellent shopper experience. And we are not performed yet. The prospective is practically limitless as we continue to master and innovate.”

Explore how Confluent engineering could enable you innovate and create hyper-personalised shopper ordeals in genuine-time to maximise shopper pleasure and profits advancement.