Categories
News

Dig the Data, Volume 1

Trying something new: A monthly data visualization blog post on the Receiptful blog called Dig the Data. It was fun to create it.

Bonus info: This is the first time I’m an author on a blog that is not my own :-)

Categories
Projects

Golang and the search of the past

Gopher inspecting Go code
Gopher inspecting Go code by Anthony Starks (CC-BY-NC)

This post is mostly a status of what I have been up to here at the nearly-almost-half-year mark of 2016.

Introducing Product Search

By the end of 2015, we had already been using Elasticsearch for a while. It was the first part of a long-term strategy of moving data away from Google App Engine. Event data such as page views and clicks as well as order aggregations such as revenue-per-day for our users was being stored and calculated on Elasticsearch. Although Elasticsearch is popular for collecting log data, its main selling point is that it is a very fast full-text search engine.

During the Christmas holidays, I wanted to see how easy it would be to add a search widget, powered by Elasticsearch. After about 3-4 hours, I posted this proof-of-concept video to our Slack channel with the following message:

Product AJAX search proof-of-concept, powered by Receiptful

As it turned out, the product search feature quickly found its way onto the roadmap :-)

Unlisted Antecons

It was going to happen at some point, and in early April, we finally removed the listing of Antecons from the Shopify app store. The app continues to run and interestingly, we have some users that are still using it, even though we have contacted everyone and tried to get them to switch over to Receiptful. Loyal customers.

Popular metrics report

By the end of April, we released the report “8% of all product page traffic converts to sales”. For a short while, I think it made a little splash and was read by quite a few people. Although I did not write the article, all the data for the article was gathered by me a few months before. One of those little side tasks that spice up developer life — although doing data analysis is slightly more exciting than data gathering :-)

Go nuts with Golang

Currently, I am in Golang land. I did not think I would end up there, but when tasked with creating a new web app for some simple store metrics, I decided to create it with Go after consulting with the team. After some initial headaches (i.e. getting used to a statically typed, compiled language again), I must say that Go has some good things going for it. My colleagues mock me about using tabs, but that is the Go way.

In the same project, I also said hello to my old friend MapReduce. It is a feature of MongoDB and we use it to create pre-aggregated reports for the project. It might be a short affair though, as I am also considering other options such as Google BigQuery. We will see…

So those are the major headlines (I probably missed something). I have been meaning to write slightly more technical articles, but I do not feel like I am not in the right mindset to do so yet. Those pieces also tend to be much longer and much more difficult to write, so for now, you will have to do with these random rambles.

Categories
Antecons

More data, better recommendations

This post is about Antecons, a product recommendation engine, now part of Conversio. Antecons is no longer commercially available, but I have kept my developer diary on my website with permission.


Today, we have published an improvement for the Antecons recommendation algorithm. In the beginning, recommendations were based on an analysis of order data for a webshop which has turned out to work quite well. But more data is better. Starting today, Antecons will also analyze data based on what products customers are looking at on the webshop. This improves the recommendations, especially for products that have recently been added to a shop and have not been sold so much yet.

There are many other ideas and features in the pipeline and one of them is adding similarity measures as a recommendation tool. That is, similarity in terms of common product tags and similar product titles. This is probably going to find its way into Antecons in the near future, possibly as an opt-in feature.

As an extra note, the back-end and infrastructure of Antecons is constantly improving, thanks in part to the constant improvements being made to Google App Engine. Scalability and reliability are key elements for a high-performance app like Antecons and GAE makes it possible to focus on the app instead of the infrastructure. This might sound like a sales pitch for GAE but actually, it is one of Antecons’ secret weapons.