05 Aug

'Optimising eCommerce with an AWS Advanced Partner – in 3 steps' by Ned Hallett, Just After Midnight

With many AWS services now entering the martech space, eCommerce brands have even more to gain by working with the world’s leading cloud provider – AWS.

From savings and efficiencies to on-demand AI, the scope of the offering is simply huge.

Which is why, as an eCommerce-focussed MSP and AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, we thought we’d break it down into three easy steps.

Step one, deploy your eCommerce solution on cloud-native AWS infrastructure

This is the first step. And for some, it’ll be the last. This really just means modernising or migrating to gain the benefits of cloud-native architectures like microservices, containers and serverless. Or moving to cloud for the first time if you’re still on prem.

How does this optimise your eCommerce solution on AWS?

These cloud-native technologies have three main benefits: 

  • Elasticity – while first generation cloud technologies were more elastic than bare metal, it’s no stretch – pardon the pun – to say cloud-native raises the bar, and in digital commerce, where traffic is always peaking and troughing, this is especially helpful. AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda and Amazon ECS can be used to create more elastic services at a much lower cost using microservices, containers, serverless or some combination
  • Cost reduction – serverless eCommerce sites are growing increasingly popular (see our example at the end) but cloud-native technologies are more efficient all round 
  • Deployment – tech like microservices and containers allow for faster, more robust deployments

Step two, move from IaaS and PaaS into AWS’s martech and SaaS (software as a service) offerings 

Once you’re on AWS infrastructure, you can look at integrating some of their SaaS offerings.

Services like Amazon Personalize and Amazon Connect bring in functionalities more traditionally associated with martech: creating unique experiences through AI, content personalisation and more.

Amazon Personalise is a no-experience-needed ML tool that analyses data to make recommendations in a variety of scenarios. Amazon Connect is a contact centre tool used to connect directly with customers.

This is moving beyond using AWS solely as infrastructure, and toward integrating AWS services at the top of your stack.

This itself is a trend that goes beyond eCommerce, touching on the idea being that, increasingly, the distinction between application and infrastructure is beginning to blur.

How does this optimise your eCommerce solution on AWS?

This is a twofold question. 

Question one is, ‘how do these martech functionalities enhance eCommerce?’

Question two is, ‘what is the benefit of accessing these functionalities through AWS services?’

How do these martech functionalities enhance eCommerce?

This is almost a self-answering question, but we’ll flesh it out a little.

Over the past decade, eCommerce solutions have moved away from being digitised brick-and-mortars and towards something much more holistic. 

Modern eCommerce sites make use of AI/ML-driven content personalisation, analytics and multi-channel communication to interact meaningfully and uniquely with users at every stage of the customer journey.

Essentially showing users content tailored to them through a series of linked, multi-channel interactions. 

These are some of the technologies that make this possible.

What is the benefit of accessing these functionalities through AWS services?

Let’s take personalisation as an example. 

Until Amazon Personalize was announced in 2018, AWS-hosted eCommerce sites would likely look for a third-party SaaS vendor for their personalisation needs.

Now, there are good reasons to consider moving to a cloud provider for these services:

  • Compatibility – Obviously, services from the same provider will integrate better with one another
  • Cost model – Whereas most martech products come with a hefty licence, expanding your eCommerce solution with an AWS service is as simple as adding another pay-as-you-go service to your monthly bill 
  • A less complex stack – drawing functionalities from a single provider means less time and money spent managing licences and skilling up for each service

Step three, going multi-channel using AWS services 

Shifting the focus off your site and onto other channels, you can begin to use AWS services to reach customers wherever they are, using tools like Amazon SES and Amazon Connect to take your marketing efforts multi-channel.

Amazon SES is an email service that can be integrated with any application, whether as a tool to complete transactions, carry out marketing campaigns or many other uses. As explained, Amazon Connect is a contact centre tool which can be used to replace a traditional SaaS alternative.

These and tools like them can further build out your eCommerce strategy using AWS services.

How does this optimise your eCommerce solution on AWS

This is essentially the same process of opting for AWS martech-like services instead of traditional third-party SaaS solutions.

The benefits – compatibility, cost and simplicity – remain the same. 

However, it’s worth noting that when it comes to replacing a SaaS vendor with an AWS service, it’s not only a case of replacing like for like. 

Taking an example from a few years ago,  EmailOctopus (a popular email marketing platform) actually ended up turning their internal email solution built on Amazon SES into a leading product.

What this demonstrates is that the exact use of AWS in ecommerce and beyond is open to interpretation. It might be that you use an AWS service in a one-for-one replacement, or it might be that, like EmailOctopus, you use AWS as the foundation to build something new.

Example architecture for eCommerce on AWS 

a diagram

Image source: medium.com

The above is an interesting example of an eCommerce site built mainly on AWS. As you can see, the architects have used a combination of serverless technologies and Amazon SES to create a cost-efficient eCommerce solution with many roles being filled by Amazon services. 

For a full breakdown of the project, read here

How we can help 

As an AWS Advanced Partner and next-gen MSP offering a range of managed services for eCommerce, we’re perfectly placed to help innovate and optimise your solution on AWS.

We migrate, modernise and build new solution architectures from scratch. And as pioneers in mission-critical support, we get the make-or-break world of digital commerce, too.

So, to find out how we could help you, just get in touch.

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