BigCommerce migrates to Google Cloud, aims to bolster speed of its SaaS platform

The move marks another retail industry win for Google as cloud vendors battle for customers.

BigCommerce on Tuesday announced that it's migrated its infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), marking another retail industry win for Google as cloud vendors battle for customers. For BigCommerce, an Austin, Texas-based e-commerce SaaS provider, the move to GCP boils down to speed and improved support for international customers. But the company also admits that it took into account potential anti-Amazon sentiment among its merchant customer base as it shopped for clouds. 

Prior to the migration, BigCommerce was using traditional managed hosting and hybrid cloud, spread out between IBM's SoftLayer and Amazon Web Services. SoftLayer served as the company's platform for growth, while AWS functioned as a pressure release valve during traffic spikes. 

Over time, the company began looking for ways to bolster page load times (and thereby shopper conversions) for its merchant base. Brian Dhatt, the chief technical officer for BigCommerce, said Google's network performance disproportionately gave Google Cloud an advantage over other hosting providers. 

"The move to Google Cloud was driven by where our customers are located, and also where their customers are located," said Dhatt. "Merchants want a presence as close as possible to their consumers, and Google is the only hosting provider out there that has its own fiber internationally and a network of undersea cables. So for us performance was a competitive differentiator. The physical infrastructure behind Google on the network side is superior." 

Dhatt said BigCommerce has now migrated 90 percent of its merchants to GCP, with zero downtime, since starting the project last April. Its merchants that have seen, on average, 81 percent improvement in connection times, faster page load times, and improved conversion, the company said. The entire migration is expected to be complete by end of next month.

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BigCommerce has steadily gained market share as an e-commerce SaaS provider since its founding in Sydney in 2009, but the company still trails behind rival Shopify when it comes to the size of its user base and the number of sites powered by its platform. 

Nonetheless, BigCommerce intends to use its migration to GCP -- which has a footprint consisting of 18 cloud regions and 134 points of presence around the world -- to emphasize the speed and scale of its platform as it competes in the market. Going forward, Dhatt said BigCommerce will have the fastest SaaS platform in e-commerce.

Looking at the broader cloud vendor market, players such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon have been touting the perks of their respective platforms and promising to support retailers on their digital transformation journeys. Microsoft recently announced a retail-as-a-service (RaaS) partnership with supermarket chain Kroger, which is splitting its cloud buying between Azure and GCP. Meanwhile, Walmart is partnering with Microsoft to use its AI, Internet of Things tools and Azure

As a platform provider, BigCommere doesn't see Amazon as a competitor, but Dhatt acknowledged that some of their merchant customers likely do.

"Google continues to be a provider that all of our merchants are comfortable with and they don't feel like they have competition with," Dhatt said. "I don't feel like we look at Amazon as a competitive offering; they are a very good company with how they run their cloud business. But if I was to ask our merchants, I think their preference would be clear." 

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