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e-Merch Analytics

e-commerce business intelligence system for market-wide price change tracking

Challenge

In late 2009 we were approach by a company called e-Merch with a proposal to develop a full featured e-commerce business intelligence system able to track prices and availability of popular products on the (online) market. The system was suppose to allow e-commerce shops to track market price levels and availability of the products they sell. Similarly it allowed producers to see which shops are selling their products, where their products are marked as not-available and at what prices their products are being sold to end-customers on the market.


Solution

A first and obvious challenge with this project was the amount of data that the system was going to collect, process, manage and archive. We have decided that a simple cluster of PostgreSQL database servers along with a design for future scalability of database cluster was the right choice.
When it came to selection of platform we have decided that we will use LAMP platform and Zend Framework mainly because this technology was already in use for other projects of this client.
The development process that we used to control development of the system was based on our custom agile / SCRUM process implementation and it was based on weekly sprints and progress reviews with the customer. It took us several months to develop the first version of the system – and when it was launched it was performing all core features of the professional e-commerce analytics system it was suppose to be…


Effect

A few months after running the first version of the system it was tracking:
  • over 2400 brands
  • over 1500 online shops
  • over 130.000 products in over 90 categories
  • the database was holding over 2,5mln basic data items (price/availability records) and was growing continuously
  • data backup & archive process was also on place taking care of maximum efficiency of the currently used data sets

Even with this impressive amount of data the system was fully usable to end-customers with no annoying slowness etc. Soon after the launch first customers started to use the system and we have extended our services to e-Merch by providing ongoing development, maintenance and support of the analytics service.
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