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Getting ready for Cyber Monday - Scaling Digital Commerce technology backbone

Mandar Thosar Nov 27, 2017

Technology Digital Commerce Cyber Monday

Getting ready for Cyber Monday - Scaling Digital Commerce technology backbone

Businesses want to sell more and always are on the lookout for more opportunities to sell. Cyber Monday, a brainchild of Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation, happened in 2005 and since then breaking its own sales records. According to Adobe Analytics, Americans are expected to spend USD 6.6 billion online on Cyber Monday which is more than Black Friday sales estimates.

On top retailer in India prepared itself for an online sale bonanza called Big Billion Day with 50 tonnes of copper cabling, fiber optic cable for additional reach, 2000 systems, 3500 scanners, 1200 printers, 300 routers, 300 firewalls and similar number switches. But all of this couldn’t withstand the frenzied users rushing online as the surge was much higher than expected. This is not a rare example. Big names like Walmart, Target, Neiman Marcus, Argos, and John Lewis have suffered outages due to a massive influx of traffic. Such outages cost dearly to businesses. Firstly, there’s loss of potential business. Secondly, there’s outrage and disappointment for users. Lastly, the credibility is lost and it takes a lot of time and efforts to regain it.

How do you ensure that your e-commerce live up to the traffic surge during sale and businesses prosper?

An engagement group director for Adobe noticed that the hourly peak times for Cyber Monday shopping comes between 8:00 and 11:00 PM in each time zone. It means there’s would be a huge number of visits, product lookups, searches and transactions on e-commerce within that small window of time and e-commerce has to stand tall against this surge. Data centers would definitely not be an option here since they would be operating at much lesser capacity for most of the other times resulting in high OPEX. Cloud is a better alternative as it can scale horizontally efficiently and at fraction of costs. Cloud makes your capacity planning comparatively easier. It does right provisioning of resources for you.
Auto-scaling on the cloud allows businesses to scale resources in proportion to the surge in the visits. The scaling is much faster than on-premise servers making e-commerce system available to users much faster without any outages.

Stress testing of the application needs to be done well in advance to unearth any surprised during the sale period. Review of performance expectations and SLAs with cloud provider will help IT teams set their operations management plan in place.

Ensure that site is optimized well for mobile and loads quickly within 3 seconds. It is long known that more than half of the users will not wait more than 3 seconds before they abandon site. Businesses can make use of CDN to improve performance. They can also look for CDN with edge servers which purge content at every fraction of second as compared to 7-15mins with traditional CDN making caching of dynamic content possible too. But businesses can decide that on the basis of traffic expectation, the value of the product, the frequency of dynamic content change etc.

Businesses should attempt to have scalability at both, application and infrastructure levels. Cloud PaaS must be intelligent enough to provide additional compute and memory for the application grid by monitoring available grid capacity.

To summarize, a smart and scalable infrastructure with secured and efficient e-commerce and right provisioning exercise should prepare businesses well for coming Cyber Monday. Share your views in the comment or write to me at mandar.thosar <at> e-zest.in.

e-Zest is a leading digital innovation partner for enterprises and technology companies that utilizes emerging technologies for creating engaging customers experiences. Being a customer-focused and technology-driven company, it always helps clients in crafting holistic business value for their software development efforts. It offers software development and consulting services for cloud computing, enterprise mobility, big data and analytics, user experience and digital commerce.