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Brits report they will start Christmas shopping earlier this year – will your business be ready?

Christmas is an important source of revenue for retailers – and a serious headache for their ecommerce managers. Traffic increases

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Brits report they will start Christmas shopping earlier this year – will your business be ready?

Christmas is an important source of revenue for retailers – and a serious headache for their ecommerce managers. Traffic increases exponentially in the run up to December, placing web infrastructure under increased load. It is not unusual to hear of major retail websites collapsing under the weight of demand around Black Friday and Easter Monday.

This year promises to be somewhat different. Lock down has forced shoppers off the high streets and onto the Internet; online sales in July were 50% higher than February for instance. Ecommerce managers should have already noticed the additional traffic coming to their websites.

But stranger things are yet to come.

Cyber Monday 2020 may be slightly easier than normal

According to a report from eBay, 27% of British consumers plan to begin their Christmas shopping earlier this year. This should come as a relief to the website manager – peaks in traffic could be one-quarter lower than normal, helping to reduce costs and the risks of the website crashing in December.

But don’t forget – baseline traffic is already above normal – and any additional increase could cause similar issues to those normally restricted to Christmas. It may be that you need to deploy a scalable website sooner to avoid the kind of performance issues that drive customers away.

Leveraging the power of the cloud

Traditional websites are closely tied to the hardware on which they are installed. Once demand outstrips available resources, the website fails. The same is true of basic virtual servers which are also limited by assigned resources.

By reconfiguring the website to make use of cloud infrastructure however, you are far less likely to encounter these limitations. Cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure are built on an enormous pool of resources (RAM, disk space, bandwidth etc) that are shared between subscribers.

If your application begins to run out of available RAM, the platform automatically assigns more from pool to prevent a resource-related crash. This auto-scaling behaviour applies CPU power and disk storage too. Your applications should never run out of resources again.

Good for customers, good for your accounts

Under a traditional website model you would need to buy additional redundant server hardware, hoping that you have specified enough to manage peaks in demand. This would be a large capital investment and the majority of those resources would remain unused for most of the year.

Moving to a cloud platform completely changes the proposition. You do not have to make any up-front capital spend, nor do you have to guesstimate a resource limit that you hope will cover demand. Instead you only ever pay for the resources your ecommerce website actually uses. December’s bill will of course be higher, but your website won’t crash because it ran out of RAM.

Time to act

The fact that so much day-to-day business has moved online means that many websites are already under pressure. Any additional pre-Christmas load could begin to cause problems. And the December rush is completely unavoidable.

It makes sense to consider whether your current website needs to be migrated to the cloud sooner rather than later. Sub-optimal performance is one of the easiest ways to lose customers and revenue – so can you really afford not to take action before the rush begins?

Ready to talk? Give us a call and we’ll talk you through your website options.

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Jas Panesar

Chief Operation Officer

Jas spent 25 years as a principal consultant and database specialist at Capgemini where she led digital transformation and migration projects for Public Sector Services, the Insurance and Property industry, DHL, Citibank, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Nationwide Building Society, Swansea County Council and more. Jas now manages our operations and development team to ensure the highest level of quality for your development project.