Meet our new Senior Corporation Manager Monica

We are happy to welcome Monica as part of our Sales team. In her interview, she will tell you a bit more about her background, her responsibilities at Akanoo and what she is doing in her free time:

What have you done before joining us?

After studying Architecture/ Design and later Electrical Engineering at NYU, I landed at Mühlbauer AG as a Sales Engineer and then followed the same Sales path for the past 12 years. Moved back to Germany in 2010, after 3 years working at Oracle and have worked for Dell/ EMC, Mailjet and Webtrekk in Munich, Paris and Berlin before joining Akanoo.

What are your responsibilities at Akanoo?

I’m the Senior Corporation Manager at Akanoo meaning the Sales point to our major target markets DACH and also responsible for expanding Akanoo internationally and winning new great customers.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I love Sales and have been expanding German, French and American companies in Europe, North America and also MENA. Sales is very emotional to me and I love offering Akanoo solutions to companies that struggling with communicating to their non-buyers and help turn them into buyers and increase their turnover.

And what do you usually do after work?

Yoga, Kick-Boxing, Jogging, Fashion and Interior Design, I believe I am a little bit of both intro- and extrovert and always try to keep the balance by spending some quiet time drawing sketches, reading books and watching movies!

Which colleague would you take with you to a lonely island and why?

I’d take Gwen with me, we will talk only in French so that I can remember some forgotten French language skills of mine ;-), She’s very patient with my French and a perfect teacher!

Which attraction/part of Hamburg do you think you should definitely visit and why?

As an architect/ designer myself, I am very looking forward to visiting Elphi (Elbphilharmonie) as it is one the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. And of course the chocolate museum (yam yam yam)!

Which apps could you never do without and why?

I can’t live up without my online banking Sparkasse, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram apps.

These blogs/websites belong to my daily reading:

Twitter, Facebook & Insta, Online Marketing, Internet World, …

On the web you can find me here:


New case study with Bricozor published

A new case study in cooperation with our client Bricozor is available for download. The case study shows how Bricozor, a French online retailer specialized in selling more than 40,000 DIY products, has increased its revenue with personalized on-site campaigns.

You read and download the Bricozor case study here:

We thank Bricozor for the productive collaboration and we are looking forward to many more successful campaigns.

Meet our new intern in the sales team: Mathieu

Mathieu has joined the Akanoo team as an intern in our sales department recently. In his interview, you can find out more about him and his motivation to join Akanoo:

What have you done before joining us?

Before joining Akanoo I did other internships as a salesman and tried to study foreign languages at university. The internship at Akanoo is part of my international trade studies. I’m normally living and studying in France.

What are your responsibilities at Akanoo?

Acquiring new customers for the French market.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Discovering the e-commerce world, new technologies and contacting professionals.

I love listening to stories from my colleagues and learning new things from them.

And what do you usually do after work?

Improving my German knowledge for sure, working on my internship report, visiting Hamburg, shopping, watching series and videos on YouTube.

Which colleague would you take with you to a lonely island and why?

I think Gwen because she speaks French and I could learn and practice German and English, too! How great is that?

Which attraction/part of Hamburg do you think you should definitely visit and why?

I don’t know Hamburg yet, but I visited St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken and everything related to the sea is relaxing and beautiful to me.

Which apps could you never do without and why?

Google Maps, because I’m easily lost and Messenger and Whatsapp to stay in touch with my friends and family.

These blogs/websites belong to my daily reading:

I read a lot of different blogs and websites about technology, politics, economics, internationals but my favorite ones are the entertainment websites and blogs. It’s a kind of my guilty pleasure…

On the web you can find me here:


How we guarantee continuous development and transparency at Akanoo

No matter how good a software is, there are always opportunities to improve it. At Akanoo, we apply Scrum methods to improve our workflow and software continuously.

Scrum is an agile software development framework that is designed to deliver new software updates every two to four weeks. As a young company with a heterogeneous team of Data Scientists, Programmers and Developers, not all Scrum methods are applicable for us. That is why we only use some selected Scrum methods and adapt them to our workflow. We mainly use the following two methods:

Creating transparency with Daily Standups

Every morning the Tech team meets for a Daily Standup. The meeting usually takes about 5-10 minutes and kicks off the working day. If desired, members from other teams can attend the meeting.

The aim is to create more transparency about the tasks the team members are working on. Therefore every member answers the following three questions:

  1. What have I done yesterday?
  2. Has anything stopped me from doing it?
  3. What will I do today?

Improving our workflow with Sprint Retrospectives

Compared to the Daily Standups, a Sprint Retrospective is a recurring meeting to reflect on the work that has been done since the last retrospective. At Akanoo, the Tech team does a Sprint Retrospective every three weeks. The purpose of the meeting is to improve the entire development process.

To that end, we firstly identify what went well, what went wrong and what could be done differently to improve. Changes that result from this meeting can range from small adjustments like organizing tickets in a different way, to large changes that affect the whole company, like realizing the necessity for a new position in the company.

It is important that the attendants can express their views freely and without judgement. Therefore, only the team members are allowed to attend the meeting. To create a relaxed atmosphere where the team members feel free to openly express their views, we try to make the retrospective a bit different each time. For example, sometimes it can take place outside in the open air or in a neighbouring coffee shop. In the end, we create a bonding of team members and identify challenges in an early stage.

You can find further information about Daily Standups and Sprint Retrospectives on or

How will personalisation in e-commerce look like in the future?

Certainly, we all came across some individualized product recommendations on Amazon or a personalized welcome message in our favourite online shop. But how will the future of advertising look like? The PR agency Frau Wenk has asked this question and invited us to give our opinion within the framework of their blog carnival.

Akanoo serves big online-shops and is in constant exchange with new prospects, partners, consultants and technology providers. We put together the recent and most relevant feedback which answers the question:

How will personalisation in e-commerce develop in the next five years?

Gwen Sahmoune, Country Manager France: “For me, the personalization will be through recommendations and marketing segmentations (what kind of persons are we targeting and offer proper items to this kind of persons). There will be less chatbots and display advertising. Chatbots because people are waiting for real persons to speak to. No robots and display advertising because users get irritated of the mass advertising. So I think users are waiting for advertisement to help them find what they’re looking for and not getting on their nerves.

A study from Netwave show that 64% of the users are expecting promotion as personalisation, 45% recommandations, 25% recommandations of articles in relation of what they previously bought and 26% content in relation of their search and expectations.”

Moritz Schott, Founder & Head of Sales: “Personalisation will be driven by new User Interfaces like Amazon Alexa, which lead to the expectation that there is always one answer to a specific request. These devices will remember the frequent needs of a user and remind him, that his coffee powder might be empty soon and new coffee powder should be purchased. Additional services will support these learnings and offer predictive services to customers. If coffee powder is somewhere on very good bargain they recommend to purchase the need for the next six months today. For all users will be in depth profiles available which describe their buying preferences to be served satisfacting. Mobile will even increase its overall market share as desktop and laptops are getting obsolete with streaming options on different screens.”

Torge Schmidt, Data Scientist: “I believe online shops will increasingly provide users with automatized personalized front-ends that differ in category selection, recommendations or even design. This automation is made possible by the increasing use of big data technologies.”

Stefanie Wolter, Account Director: “Data Collection and Analytics will be the key to keep up with the increasing needs and expectations of multi-channel customers. We will see an immense increase of persona driven and highly personalized customer loyalty incentives as well as real-time interaction across the full customer journey. On-site analytics will become even more in-depth and more predictable and will move in the focus of upper management.”

Kira-Konstanze Wewer, Account Engineer: “I think we are heading to a future pretty similar to the dystopian society of the film “Idiocracy“. What does it mean exactly?

Well, Idiocracy tells about a future where people just believe every claim a company or politician makes. Sounds like Mister President of the United States, right? His followers already believe in him as a brand. Credibility will become very important: Are we producing environmentally friendly? Are we producing in third world countries or in an area nearby?

The very important decisions will be made by the values a brand stands for, more than some of their product lines. To be honest, many companies do produce and sell very similar products – so why prefer X over Y will be an issue. Also, in Idiocracy the clothes are like advertisement with logos all over them. Try to find some branded products without the brand logo, it will become very hard. Customers are used to promote the brand by using them as a surface, while they think they promote the values I talked about.

So will this happen in the next five years? Maybe not. Hopefully. But as you can see the warning signs of it, you have to be prepared for a world where “choice” is an illusion, made by very clever marketing people. They will tell you about the advantages of their brand, while you don’t know it belongs to the same company as the brands you despise for their non-ethical behaviour. In your facebook filter bubble, it is already happening. But it will become normal for you to get filtered everywhere. A good algorithm already knows what you want before you made the decision about it. In Germany, too many people find this scary, but I think in a few years we will be grateful. Nobody can be up to date on every new cool product. Personalized marketing campaigns will help us to find what we believe we need.”

Jacob Thomsen, Account Manager: “For shops with a large heterogeneous range of products it will be more important to know what the customer is specifically looking for. The shop need to define user profiles or personas for certain product categories to address their customers correctly. The buyers shopping history will be important. What did the customer bought last? What products are interesting for him, but he hasn’t bought yet. To make special offers or deals for products, the customer who is not so likely to buy will play a major role in personalisation. Also, inspiring the clients with new products will be important. Stylefinders like Zalon are an example for inspiring the customer with products he could be interested in. This can be also be adapted to other branches, too.”

Ralf von der Reith, Assistant Account Engineer: “I think the role of personalization in our daily lives will increase continuously. Not only in the field of e-commerce, but also in terms of election campaigns and other areas of life.

The ongoing development in computing speed and memory as well as progress in the field of machine learning allow us to evaluate large amounts of data and to respond in real time to customer behavior.

In addition to the real time analysis, I can imagine that in the medium term data from different sources, like from the shop and Social Media, will be combined, to gain deeper customer insights.

Especially with the wealth of information, it will be more important to show users offers that are highly interesting for them. One of the major challenges will I be not to target a customer based on his previous purchases, but to predict what he will buy.
The typical examples are some commercials on Amazon – After I bought a drill, I will see more drills as recommended products. I think there will be further developments in this area in the future.”

Frank Wolf, Senior Data Scientist: “There is a lot of unaimed and therefore ineffective advertisement out there right now. I think that will become even more obvious over the next years. Therefore companies will win that target customers individually and sensibly. Ultimately, this will lead to less but more intelligently applied advertisement campaigns benefiting the individual customer better and hence shops and ad-service providers. In that regard I think Akanoo’s future is bright as it draws conclusions from vast data sources to predict what will work for whom and when.”

Hendrik Köhnke, Account Manager: “Personalisation in e-commerce will more and more be specific regarding what the user wants and what he needs. It even might be possible that online shops at some point and with the help of big data will be able to show those products only to visitors that are really interested. In this way, shops for example could manage their stocks in a more efficient way.”

Which technologies will be important and why?

Gwen Sahmoune, Country Manager France: “Reco engines, Akanoo algorithm of course. ;) And engines that make the user experience positive.”

Stefanie Wolter, Account Director: “I believe that we will see lots of great technologies coming up in the field of CRM tools for persona creation and management to keep track of all customer needs. Also, data driven On- and Off-site targeting tools that put personalisation in their focus and data mining tools that ensure cross-device and omni-channel analytics will be important.”

Kira-Konstanze Wewer, Account Engineer: “Marketing has to understand, that banners do not work. People are exhausted by spam, clickbait and bling-bling on every page they enter on the internet. So just stop it. This has to be replaced by intelligent targeting, sold via cost per order. Only when it’s useful to the advertiser to show the campaign to the people who are really interested, the negativity about online marketing will perish. Instead, customers will be grateful for finding the right product for their needs, helping them to find a good deal or leaving them be if they are not interested.

We have to change from being a buzzing fly around their heads to becoming their shopping assistants. There are already good algorithms out there and very good chatbots who can help with individual problems. We have to transport a feeling of “your are important to us, customer” and “we see ourselves as your partner, not the salesman at your door”. Akanoo is able to do such personalisations. I am impressed on how neat our campaigns are compared to other companies out there. I believe our ideas will be the future.”

Jacob Thomsen, Account Manager: “Data Machine Learning for personalisation. I guess Virtual Reality will also play a role in getting the customer inspired with new products. This could be interesting for DIY projects, interior or travelling. The customer will be more likely to buy a trip to a hotel, when he can feel what it’s like to be there. Make the look and feel of product more accessible to the customer will be important to actually sell it. For fashion you can imagine to be in your dressing room, look into the mirror and see products screened to mirror to see how they would look on yourself.”

Frank Wolf, Senior Data Scientist: “On one hand, I think we will see more big data, more machine learning and more statistical testing. On the other hand, I think classical customer feedback processes will stay as important as ever: in the end we want happy customers and happy customers result in a better business. Innovation can only be advanced by humans with technology used as a sensible tool.”

Hendrik Köhnke, Account Manager: “As there is a trend of using artificial neuronal networks, this technology will certainly be an important tool for personalisation in e-commerce. This will help to find out what a potential customer really wants in a faster and more accurate way. This also will provide companies with much more data as they have now.”

Leonard Kleinfeld, Account Manager: “In the future, algorithms and bots will carry out large parts of our work. The future will only be controlled, filtered and less open.”

Meet our new Junior Software Engineer Natalia

We are happy to welcome Natalia as part of our Software Engineering team. To get to know her a bit better, she will tell you more about her hobbies and her work in her interview:

What have you done before joining us?

After moving to Germany, I have learnt the German language and worked at Goodgame Studios as a Junior Java Developer.

What are your responsibilities at Akanoo?

I’m a Junior Software Engineer and I’m responsible for the back-end development of the core components.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

  • New technologies
  • Interesting tasks
  • Communication with the colleagues

I’m glad to share the ideas from my previous work experience with my colleagues.

And what do you usually do after work?

  • Read books
  • Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Improve my German knowledge

Which colleague would you take with you to a lonely island and why?

I think Bendix. He is fond of climbing and probably he could get some food from the trees.

Which attraction/part of Hamburg do you think you should definitely visit and why?

Hamburg Museum. I’d like to know more about the history of the city and the country.

Which apps could you never do without and why?

Chrome and mail services. They are the doors to the world.

Of course, German Vocabulary – it helps me to understand people.

These blogs/websites belong to my daily reading:

I read in most cases Russian websites about science, new technologies, different fields of research.

On the web you can find me here:


Zwei Wochen Schülerpraktikum bei Akanoo – Der Insiderbericht

Praktikant Benjamin Kunze bei Akanoo

Warum hast du dich entschieden bei uns dein Schülerpraktikum zu absolvieren?

Weil ich mich für Online Marketing und IT interessiere und bei einem Unternehmen Praktikum machen wollte, dass nicht so viele Mitarbeiter hat. Außerdem wollte ich auch etwas bewegen und nicht nur den Kaffee holen. Deswegen habe ich im Internet nach solchen Unternehmen recherchiert und bin dann auf Akanoo aufmerksam geworden. Als ich dann auch den ersten Kontakt mit dem Unternehmen hatte, hat es auf mich einen positiven Eindruck gemacht.

Was waren Deine Aufgaben?

Ein guter Plan hilft bei jedem Praktikum

Ich hatte unterschiedliche Aufgaben, aber hauptsächlich coden für die Webseite von Akanoo. Ich sollte einen Rechner programmieren, der den Kunden zeigt, wie viel mehr Umsatz sie mit Akanoo machen können und die Website verschönern im Karriere-Bereich. Aber ich hatte auch andere Aufgaben zum Beispiel ein paar Webseiten zu analysieren und nach Tag Managern Ausschau halten.

Wie hat Dir das Praktikum gefallen? Was war besonders gut oder interessant?

Mir hat das Praktikum sehr viel Spaß gemacht, weil hier so eine positive Arbeitsathmosphäre herrscht und jeder sich mit jedem gut versteht. Wenn ich Hilfe brauchte, dann konnte ich jeden fragen und jeder hat mir dann geholfen. Ich habe sehr viel gelernt. Es gab auch gewisse Hürden, aber die habe ich mit Hilfe des Akanoo Teams sehr gut meistern können.
Sehr gut hat mir auch gefallen, dass niemand abweisend war und alle mich als ,,Kollegen“ akzeptiert haben. Ich habe einen sehr guten Blick in die Arbeitswelt bekommen und freue mich, dass ich für zwei Wochen ein Teil der Akanoo-Familie sein durfte.

New customer for Akanoo Onsite Marketing: Tree of Tea

We are happy to announce the collaboration for our Automated Onsite Marketing with Tree of Tea, a German online shop for tea lovers.

It is the company’s mission to simplify the tea selection for their customers. That is why Tree of Tea is specialized in selling a highly selected amount of premium organic teas and supplies for tea preparation in their online shop.

We are looking forward to a lot of successful campaigns with our new client Tree of Tea.

Unit Testing Self-Invoking JavaScript Functions

When Akanoo started out, we only tested our components run on Java – either written in Scala or using Grails or Groovy – with JUnit, ScalaTest and Spock. By the end of 2015 we also wanted unit tests for our JavaScript tracking library that is integrated in our client’s online shops.

Finding the right test framework

Nobody in our team had experience in testing JavaScript, so I went out looking for JavaScript unit test frameworks. What does one do if one has no clue? Google, of course. The first hit was QUnit developed and used by the jQuery team. I looked into other libraries but decided to give QUnit a shot. The reasons I chose it were:

  • Support by the community (In this case the jQuery community.)
  • Used by some big players (jQuery certainly is a big player.)
  • Easy to use (Check out the cookbook.)
  • Easy to understand for Java-developers (Hence, similarity with JUnit.)
  • Plug-in support & availability of plug-ins (We’ll come to this later.)

So, I had chosen my test framework. Let’s write some tests.

Testing self-invoking JavaScript Functions

Well, testing wasn’t that easy at the beginning. Our tracking script is encapsulated in a self-invoking function also known as immediately-invoked function expression (IIFE). The reason behind is to avoid polluting the global space (everything in the window object) with our functions and variables and only allow access via our API calls using the exposed function at(). See an example of an immediately-invoked function expression below:

As the name says, the function is immediately invoked after definition and I have no chance to call the function itself or to access the variables and functions inside. What could I do to test the function bla() in the above example?
My first idea was to comment out the two lines that define the function as self-invoking and define the parameterized variables by hand:

I am now able to call the function bla() and access the variable foo. So I went over to my test files and wrote some QUnit tests.

Spying with Sinon.js

Once I finished writing some easy test checking for the output of functions with various input parameters. Unfortunately, some functions are called inside other functions and these make for harder testing. If I want to know whether the inner function has been called, I need to spy on its execution.

QUnit itself doesn’t offer functions for spying, so I googled again to find a solution for JavaScript “mocking” []. I stumbled upon Sinon.js [] which offers spies, stubs and some more nifty features and integrates nicely with QUnit.

I started to write some tests but the function sinon.spy(object, “function”) requires to specify the encapsulating object of the “function” to spy. After my changes to the self-invoking function expression the functions reside in the “global” scope which in JavaScript means they lie under the window object.

// the following line will be replaced by the code in the comment
var a = window, b = document;//(function(a, b) {
  // our tracking code goes here
  var obj = {
    // variables go here
    foo: "bar";
  // functions go like this
  obj.bla = function() {
    // sample function
//})(window, document);

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spy functions using Sinon on the window object. So, I went on putting all functions inside my faked IIFE inside an object to make them testable. Of course, I had to refactor the existing code already to some extent, i.e. extracting functions, avoiding anonymous functions etc. I strongly recommend to use JSHint.

Notice: When asserting spies with Sinon’s function withArgs(arg0, arg1, …) be aware that the order of arguments must be the same as in the call. If you want to check for the first two of three arguments, you may omit the third but if you want to check for the latter ones, the first argument needs to be defined.

Stubbing with Sinon.js

Sometimes the result of function A is dependent on the result of function B that is called inside function A. To test, I have to manipulate the inner function B to always return a predefined value. This is called stubbing and can be done with Sinon.js by calling sinon.stub(object, “function”).
You should also check out the faked XHR and faked server that Sinon offers. They were very helpful for my unit tests.


If you’ve read until now you certainly can guess that it was a long way down the road to 95% test coverage (measured with JSCover). The upsides of this solution using QUnit and Sinon.js is apparently that we achieved the possibility of unit testing. The obvious downside is the superfluous object in the IIFE. That is, however, not so bad as the Google closure compiler with hard optimization enabled minifies the code efficiently.

Check out the second part of the JavaScript Testing Series: How to run JavaScript QUnit Tests upon Deployment using Jenkins & PhantomJS