Etsy, the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, is set to focus on a more curated customer experience as it frees up engineers from managing systems to working on customer experience.
The move comes after the marketplace completed a two year migration to Google Cloud, which has seen it able to shift 15% of its engineering staff away from system management to developing customer experiences. It has also increased its velocity to run IT experiments by 115% in 2019, as well as operate more sustainably as it works towards 100% renewable electricity by the end of this year.
“Etsy’s mission is to keep commerce human, and technology plays a vital role in this,” explains Mike Fisher, CTO of Etsy. “We have more than 65 million one-of-a-kind items in our marketplace and are using cutting-edge machine learning to continually improve the experience for our community. We needed a technology partner that was both a culture fit for Etsy in terms of agility, efficiency, and innovation, and also had the technical chops to move our business forward. Google Cloud met those requirements.”
Etsy began its migration in 2018, and has since moved 5.5 petabytes of data, the equivalent of about 40 billion photos, from 2,000 on-premise servers to Google Cloud. Now, with its migration complete, Etsy is using Google Cloud’s compute power and machine-learning capabilities to move faster and more efficiently than ever before, while improving the customer experience overall.
Etsy is focused on three main improvements, the first being delivering a more curated customer experience. With more than 65 million items listed by Etsy sellers, simple searches can yield thousands of results for buyers. Using Google Cloud’s compute power, Etsy’s vast array of data is now more accessible, allowing the company to serve up the most relevant items for shoppers at the top of its search results.
Secondly, Etsy is looking at creating more sustainable, efficient operations: Instead of running servers 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week in data centres, Google Cloud’s shared infrastructure allows Etsy to scale capacity up and down, as needed, based on the natural cycles of its e-commerce business. This is not only more cost effective, but also it will help Etsy meet its goal to reduce energy usage by 25% by 2025.
The third tenet of Etsy’s plan is setting up a platform for future innovation: With a significantly freed up headcount, Etsy now has the brainpower and computer power to experiment more frequently with large data sets and more sophisticated algorithms. This enables the marketplace to identify new opportunities to improve the experience for buyers and sellers.
“Moving an operation of this magnitude to the cloud isn’t something that happens overnight, but Etsy has shown it can happen faster than you think with the right approach and the right partner,” adds Will Grannis, founder and director of Google Cloud’s Office of the CTO team. “It’s not just about having the best technology, it’s about approaching it in the right way with a team that is the right culture fit. Etsy and Google’s shared focus on iterative learning, data, and sustainability made it easy for us to speak the same language and move fast.”
See what this means to Etsy’s business in this interview with Etsy CTO Mike Fisher