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Press This Podcast: Personalization using Amazon Personalize for WooCommerce with James Jory of AWS

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Now host David Vogelpohl sits down with guests from around the community to talk about the most difficult controversies facing WordPress makes. The following is a transcription of the original recording.

David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone and therefore welcomed Press This the WordPress community podcasts on WMR. This is your host, David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my character at WP Engine, and I “ve been wanting to” raising the best of the community to you examine every week on press this as a reminder, you can find me on Twitter @wpdavidv, or you can subscribe to press this on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, or download the latest occurrences at alize with WooCommerce and participating us for that conversation is two gentlemen I’d like to first welcome James Jory of AWS. James, welcome to Press This.

James Jory: Thanks David. Great to be here.

DV: Glad to have you and too affiliating James is Anthony Burchell, he actually worked on this project in partnership with AWS, Anthony is a often host of Press This but now a guest, Anthony, welcome back to Press This.

Anthony Burchell: Hey, thanks for having me. Nice to be in the guest chair.

DV: I know like a little bit easier in that chair I would imagine that maybe not. Maybe we got some hard-handed questions come in for you. We’ll catch out. But really what we’re going to be talking about today is a project that Anthony, James and then others on the AWS web engineers used to work around a new regulate of personalization facets, that’s going to be released into AWS for WordPress plugin, you’ll find that plugin on But what James and Andy will be talking about is a little bit about the why, what is being built, and some background on personalization time in general. To kick us off I’ve got a question that I asked every guest Anthony you to describe this to me many times, James I’m gonna stick with you for this question, but briefly tell me your WordPress origin story When was the first time you used WordPress.

JJ: I’m sure so it’s probably not unlike millions of others who have exerted WordPress to build areas. I started use WordPress WordPress back in the 2000 s as a blogging stage. And one of my longtime diversions is been in, in the field of wine-coloured and winemaking and wine tasting, and I had a started a blog where I shared savor notations. Different winemaking activities I was doing as well as topics around wine-coloured and technological sciences. And from there, over the years I’ve expended WordPress for various purposes such as places for companies and blogs and and other uses.

DV: Awesome. I like it, you’re emphatically not the first patron, they I utilized it for blogging first origin legend so you’re clearly in good companionship there real briefly, James and then we’ll switching Anthony and asked him the same question but could you tell me a little bit about whatever it is you do at AWS.

JJ: Sure, I’m a AI Solutions Architect at AWS, and my primary character is helping customers and spouses with their incorporations with AI business like Amazon personalized, and we’ll be talking about here today. This can include facilitating with utilization speciman fit for the service data readiness for the service integration structures operating the service in production, and many, many other related topics around, around abusing the service.

DV: We use seem very well suited to work on a project about returning Amazon personalized WordPress amalgamations and artificial intelligence used with Amazon personalized glad to hear that. I’m sure listeners are as well. Anthony Could you give me a quick rundown on what you do and WP Engine.

Anthony Burchell: Yeah, I am on the WordPress, on the labs team at WP Engine and I spend a lot of my season contributing to WordPress, or committer, I am very involved in the community, and I actually serve as sort of in between for a great deal of our pulpit needs and the community, kind of incorporations with our stage and sort of making sure that everything is working great on WP Engine title so are concerned with collaborators to like AWS and fun

DV: Right.

AB: the big thing is I get to work on a lot of these sort of forward looking future examining technologies.

DV: Awesome, James. Earlier I mentioned in the show title we spoke how you know the AWS for WordPress plugin, and when these features are exhausted, we’ll utilize Amazon personalized. He tell us a little bit about like what is the Amazon personalize. And then I various kinds of situated this in the see notations but doesn’t really use the same AI tag because

JJ: Sure. So, Amazon personalized is a service in what we call the AI layer, the artificial intelligence layer of the AWS machine learning stack and the services offered in the AI layer are designed specifically for developers to add sophisticated machine learning back to functionality to their applications where no prior machine learning experiences required to get up and going with the services with personalized the simulate teach optimization and hosting is amply controlled for you. So, basically you provide information on your pieces in your list useds and interactions and in a few clicks or API calls, personal seeings develops a private machine learning recommendation system that is private and only available in your AWS environment. As for the algorithms used in personalized, they’re determined from the 20 plus years of experience in house personalized customer suffers across, as well as across other Amazon belongings. So the, the same proficiencies and approaches are use, but the implementation inside a personalized is optimized for being boxed as an AWS work to be consumed by AWS customers.

DV: Awesome, thank you so it sits in this kind of AI layer within the Amazon universe, and it’s really its fundamental purpose is to abstract out the machine learning places. So that nature growth units can feed it, you are familiar with, data relative to the list of parts that might be used for personalization. Hence, it might prompt, I’m sorry to train the algorithms to provide the right recommendations for specific useds but it’s mostly that bundle work there within AWS.

JJ: Exactly.

DV: Awesome. So I kind of mentioned earlier that the features this is gonna be exhausted are going to be released in your existing AWS for WordPress plugin. Can you tell us what that’s all about.

JJ: So the AWS for WordPress plugin was originally developed to add text to speech capabilities to WordPress places to mostly route poles through the Amazon Pali AI service so that’s another AI service that will convert those posts into playlists, if you will, that you could download to your computer or listen to on a portable design. Over time, we’ve added other AWS servicing of that original plugin that spawned it more of a one stop, you are familiar with, plugin for various AWS services and that’s where it was renamed to the AWS for WordPress plugin. So some other services in the plugin include Amazon translate for restating between words, as well as Amazon CloudFront to add a content transmission structure or CDN in front of your WordPress site for improving performance with the topic today we’re adding Amazon personalized as as another service so you can add personalized produce recommendations to WooCommerce sites.

DV: It’s almost function like it’s this connect between aws. amazon based services. You mentioned renditions you mentioned the Pali service which was the original facet designate. And then it simply fixes smell to blanket in the Amazon personalized abilities within that same plugins strategy, mostly what we’re planning to liberation here around the personalization works so that builds ability. Likewise I is a well-known fact that the AWS for WordPress plugin uses the fain\xc3\xa9ant Polly as per that kind of initial piece name. I did hear a rumor that WordPress might allow people to revise, his slugs in the future. So to hang tighten on that, you might actually be able to modify that feature. But I do have more questions plainly around like the functionality that you’ll be exhausting into the plugin. But we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

DV: Hello everyone welcome back to this WordPress community podcast with w Mr. This is your host David golpo I’m interviewing James Jory of AWS, Anthony Rachelle of WP Engine about new personalization features coming into the AWS for WordPress plugin. James right before the break you were telling us a little bit about what the AWS for WordPress plugin is and why you’re kind of made the decision to generate the personalization pieces within it. But I’m just curious like from the high level when it comes to Amazon personalized or maybe even time in general, what are some interesting examples of personalization that you’ve seen purchasers use Amazon personalized like what are they personalizing.

JJ: Yeah, so it’s really common for customers when they firstly be informed about personalized e busines or retail exploit events. And that exactly will deal with, you know, our association to and our heritage on the retail line-up of the business. But we’ve seen personal items be used across many different industries and for lots of different use examples. So besides retail and e industry, which is a really strong space for personalized. We’ve seen the service used in media and leisure seat for say recommending news articles, movies, TV presents and music. We’ve also met it used to recommend ethnic occurrences or works. Even hearing prepare the way for seminars, online read wedding planning and many other use occasions. Basically, any locate you have a collection of users, and components that you want to recommend to those consumers, and most importantly you have behavioral data on how those consumers interact with those components personalize is likely a strong fit as a recommendation system.

DV: So, the criteria that a great deal of fits that criteria in order to get the most success out of it is that I have a list of things that I can recommend to an individual, but I too have to have your behavioral data to drill the machine learning simulations. In succession to draw those recommendations the work requires virtually a listing of substance, and some hired useds. Does that chime about right.

JJ: exactly at its core The service is the algorithms are based on understanding the behavioral data to understand not only your consumers planned in the past but reacting to their intent, as they advance in real meter, which is a particularly challenging aspect of using machine learning for recommendations is is staying on top of that, that real epoch advancing used planned and customized has that built in as a as a purpose built solution for for making recommendations, it “ve got a lot” of that real occasion capability that is built on top of the machine learning layer underneath.

DV: Yeah, that real experience is super important I’m thinking that I won’t mention these services by mention, but I’m thinking of services in my life that seem to abuse these types of mannequins to recommend things to me, and then never deepened their sentiment about what I like. And I’m like forever interested in electric motorcycles or whatever the thing was I happen to be looking for that day. So that real season duty seems obviously very important. Can you tell me about the WooCommerce personalization facets the hell is being added to the AWS for WordPress plugin like how does it cure a WooCommerce store owner personalize their experiences.

JJ: Sure. So, with the, with the consolidation in the plugin the AWS for WordPress plugin WooCommerce merchants can now add the sophisticated recommendation locomotive to their ecommerce site with utterly no coding and a very simple setup, so even, even though I describe personalized as an AI service that’s designed for developers for for shopkeepers who are trying to wear lots of hats and are trying to get the most out of their out of their online business. They don’t have the time or inevitably the expertise to to do the integration wreak that would be required and so the plugin basically takes all of that off of your shoulders and implements it for you. So it takes care of orchestrating all the steps required to get your data into personalized learn the representations, lending recommendations from those representations on your WooCommerce pages. And since the end the machine learning training, and what we call the inference beds which is where you get recommendations or projections, out of those modelings leads in your AWS account. They have minimum loading on your actual WordPress site.

DV: So you’re offloading those fragments and you are familiar with I don’t typically know so much better about my client assignments as I only knew yours since I happen to work with Anthony, of course. But like I feel like you’re underselling the steps that in areas of like what you have to set up, and how the plugin cures extract that via Amazon personalized, to your point, it is a developer tool but there is a lot of learning and expertise beings have to do in order to get the training set up, get the recommendations back in a specific use case, maybe not so more, much more than other services and certainly much less than figuring it all out. But I feel like the plugin abstracts out since. Like a lot of hours for folks would you agree with that, like, you exactly intensify your time to limit these sorts of strategy.

JJ: Yeah, absolutely. And if we if we sort of contrast the Pali example that we talked about earlier, is with personalize your set poses based on your own data, because how your useds treated with your pieces is different than say another website, but doing textbook to speech is, is something you that AWS actually drills and maintains those examples for you and really specifies a simple API, well with personalization there is no single simulate that can be used across all industries and even all storefronts in the e commerce gap. And so with personalized you do have a little more work that you have to do than say simply making a call to Polly in that it’s important not to minimize that I mean that is quite a bit of work that the that the plugin is doing on your behalf. Now granted, it doesn’t have to do the machine learning algorithms, but still there’s a lot to, you know, getting the data into the service, prompting the training occupations monitoring those places, and then pulling recommendations out of the patterns. Once they’re deployed.

DV: So, like from the functionality perspective that I know this is hard on a podcast, but let’s just imagine I’m employing the AWS for WordPress plugin when these features are released, I have my AWS key in there, likely, and then the user can then do what he said they can improve, and then they can also, I approximate, do recommendations for specific users.

JJ: Right, so when you when you first initialize the and set up the personalized portion of a plugin. We need to collect some of that behavioral data that is needed to train the pattern and so there’ll be a period of time, after you set up the, the plugin, where we’re collecting phenomena and referring those onto, onto personalized like what various kinds of events like

DV: adding to the car buying something like that. Yeah.

JJ: So, most most purchasers. So there’s different, different affairs that indicate different levels of intent. So, a purchase incident. Certainly demonstrates strong planned, supplementing something to your cart expresses strong goal. Clicking on a concoction or reading an article or, you are familiar with, looking at a detail sheet doesn’t certainly demonstrate meaning. But what we find is most purchasers got a lot of those sort of lower loyalty kind occasions like clickstream, phenomena, and have less data on that high fidelity, say obtain data. And so we’re looking to collect episodes across that range. In personalizes is using basically that positive planned, positive demeanor that indicates interest in something, to be able to predict what they’d be interested in next. And so formerly we rally fairly of those type of contests in personalized we can actually train a prototype. And formerly the simulate is qualified we can deploy it in, in what’s called a campaign and customized, which is an auto scale endpoint so personalized will automatically scale the resources behind that endpoint to match the load of your place, and the requests you’re making of that endpoint to pull recommendations back.

DV: For me, one of the other interesting parts of all that was the API the plugin also provides for the developer so they can integrate those recommendations, with whatever they are happy to be building where that would be helpful recommending concoctions, emails or veining I’m sorry abandoned cart emails or aspects on a page and things like that. I liked that part of it for its flexible. I wanted to switch things up a little bit Anthony I’m going to ask you this question but I’m going to answer it in kind of two parts so we can get your next fragment but precisely you tell me a little bit about how we architected. The peculiarities for deployment.

AB: Yeah so, actually it’s really interesting to think back on, on, on what we because David You and I were talking about this before we even started the project we were like what what do we do with personalization, in relation to WordPress and that’s how brand-new The thought was at the time. And, and I retain we were, we were stewing on on oh maybe it is essential to do, like recommended announces, and we started thinking more and we’re like, wait a minute, this is, this is such a great opportunity for for the purposes of an e industry patronize. So, so the idea is that we were. It was very simple we were looking at and we were like, why can’t we do that in WordPress. So, so that’s sort of where we got the structure of having these interactions and logging interactions on a commodity deem or acquisition on a checkout and, and it just sort of only precipitated together so naturally in another good thing is that there were some existing patterns out there like personalization exists for Magento once so we were able to kind of look at that and understand how personalization works in that system, and and mirror a great deal of that over into WooCommerce and it was just a natural fit.

DV: All right, I like that backstory, I want to pick your ability a little more about that, like various kinds of technical design the plugin. We’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to Press This podcast on WMR. Live our incident clothing Amazon personalized for WooCommerce brand-new capabilities coming to the AWS for WordPress plugin. Anthony right before the divulge, we were talking a little bit about like why e exchange was the use case for these capabilities. Can you tell me a little bit more about the various kinds of technical architecture of the peculiarity gave that will be coming to the plugin.

AB: Yeah so are you asking like like the stores

DV: hat structure it like what what did you have to integrate with and build to facilitate the plugin, giving these capabilities for WooCommerce stores.

AB: Yeah, so, so the big thing is that the plugin does a good deal of those pace serves that you were you were mentioning earlier and one one point that I wanted to stir more with the plugin being like the one click solution is even if you were a personalized pro and you’re going through this, there’s that hazard of human error of doing something wrong in those steps or feeding it something that you shouldn’t have so that’s that’s one of those things that plugin is really really good at time doing it right, perfect each time the first time. So that saves you a ton of time there too but yeah like when when you, when you sounds the button to start training so there’s a form in the plugin where you where you have those options where you can select what training affairs you want to document, and at what interval you want to retrain so that you keep your recommendations fresh. And in that that step where you click that button there are about 2020 operates that need to run where they originate s3 barrels start. We need to upload a CSV of s3 barrels when he had the interactions. And then once that, that, that, that those interactions have been sent off the training gets had begun in starts making recommendations so as you were saying earlier with the Get Products function that is that essentially that API you were you’re mentioning where you can get those, those responses back. So plugin developers can be utilized that accurate same function that we’re using to, to have custom modules. So, formerly the training is done it’s sort of a prepare and forget. I suspect piece because you can exactly be able to use it, and building.

DV: You mentioned and I kind of brought up earlier the API the plugin supplies via getting the index of policy recommendations automatically from Amazon personalized so I kind of talked about how you can use it in any kind of thing, if you would. You had a neat example in a webinar a couple of weeks ago, where you use the API to add personalization, to what was it like

AB: chat so chat yeah so there’s this open root chat application announced chat booth, and you can self host it and I actually simply self hosted one on AWS, and. And what’s really great is you can you can send data from the WordPress to that chit-chat event so imagine that a converse operator is is ready to help. Shoppers find those recommended commodities. When that shopper originates that chat and moves that information to them without identifying who the customer is but just says hey chat negotiator, these are the products that are probably the best to to recommend to this, this client. So then what what this. What this does is that allows you to have this sort of connection where the WordPress talks to the AWS, or to Amazon personalized gets the information back and transfers it securely to whatever works you crave and I’ve been thinking through even another example of this where you know me I’m always in VR. And I was thinking through this idea of having a way that I could invite a duo friends that are all on this site that we all buy these products from imagine it’s investing collect and I invite all your best friend to a 3d world and we jump in there and we’re just all fed the make recommendations for each of us so that we can all shop together, like I think there’s so many courses that you can widen this, and you can get really inventive it doesn’t have to stay simply inside of WordPress.

DV: I love your imagery is fantastic. Jared, James to finish this out here I know your character as an AI Solutions Architect “youre supposed to” belief a good deal about the now but likewise about the future. What do you think the future is for personalization like is it here to stay, do we expect major evolutions in it like what what do we study will happen over time.

JJ: Well I’ll I’ll speak about personalized here first as we’re really just getting started with the service so expect that we’ll continue to make improvements in pieces capabilities and performance of the service, but looking beyond the near term, I imagine the continuity of when we think about personalized client ordeals and the persistence across multimodal user knows is sort of where the next frontier is in my mind. So for example, say beginning a patron know-how with a firebrand in the morning, over Alexa when you’re getting ready for work, and then transitioning to Alexa in your automobile, continuing to save refined commodity pick and asking questions backward and forward to narrow down your option of what you want to purchase. And then maybe that changes to your smartphone when you’re on the set or on writing on a boat. And then finally, when you get to your computer, at the office or back home in the night is having an email that has a summary of mostly that that that purchaser ordeal along with recommendation so you can complete your, your transaction.

DV: I like it, and connecting it more from only a specific app and invention kind of across apps across maneuvers highly highly It doesn’t make sense relative to the next step. James This was super interesting. Thank you so much better for attaching us today.

JJ: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

DV: Awesome Anthony Thank you for coming back. Yeah, thanks for having me. Awesome. If you’d like to learn more about what James is up to you can visit AWS forward slash personalized. Thanks everyone for listening to Press This WordPress community podcasts on WMR. Again, this has been your host, David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine. I “ve been wanting to” creating the best of the community to you now every week.

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