Sandy’s Lessons in Scalability

Traffic levels on ecommerce sites vary naturally, by season, week and even day.  As a retailer it’s your job to prepare your site for fluctuations and ensure that no matter the circumstances, your site will remain up and running, ensuring customers can continue to process orders with minimal lag time.

Sometimes variances in traffic are predictable and expected.  Everyone anticipates order volume to increase around Christmas and allocate resources accordingly.  Most ecommerce retailers also learn to get a feel for the unique ordering trends of their industry, as well as what days of the week tend to result in higher order volumes.

However, sometimes the unexpected occurs.  Sometimes, the unexpected is a happy accident — perhaps a promotion you expected to give your site a slight bump in traffic gets picked up by your local news station, causing traffic and product demand to far surpass your expectations.

photo courtesy of the Washington Post

Preparing for the Unthinkable

At other times, unfortunately, the unexpected can be a potential disaster.  When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in October of this year, many e-retailers based in the New England region saw their databases and ecommerce platforms put to the test, according to an article by Internet Retailer Assistant Editor, Amy Dusto.  Some sites experienced outages as e-retailers struggled to deal with servers and call centers submerged in water.  While many businesses chose to close their doors for hours or days due to safety concerns, all in all, it must be said that ecommerce bounced back admirably.  Even though the headquarters and main warehouses of e-retailer were based within the flood zone, causing them to suspend processing orders temporarily, the site itself remained active, and staffers at remote locations continued to field calls and manage the site.

According to Dusto’s article, even though Sandy did manage to knock out one of the servers of display advertiser, network redundancy with additional servers managed to keep the service up and running without any down times.

A Scalable Business Model

All of these ecommerce merchants managed to meet these challenges while keeping their websites as functional as possible because they were prepared with more than just flood insurance– they were prepared with scalability.

Your site needs to be prepared for whatever variables the world throws at it, whether it is dealing with sudden spikes in traffic or unexpected world disasters.  Here at Upshot Commerce, we offer a cloud-based, fully scalable platform that is made to easily handle growing and expanding convergent commerce enterprises, as well as withstand the hazards of complex retail environments.  This means that even if a server is down, or a sudden spike in traffic occurs, our system is designed to compensate with fault tolerance and a redundant infrastructure.  This allows your website to remain up and running with consistently fast load times, powerful monitoring tools, and low maintenance costs.

As your site grows and expands, this also means that your platform capabilities are able to easily expand to meet the needs of your company, so that success does not mean you outgrow the capabilities of your platform.

Highlights of the Upshot Commerce Platform Include:

  • Automatically scales to handle traffic spikes
  • High availability and fault tolerance
  • Resilient and redundant infrastructure
  • Faster load times, site speed and performance
  • 24/7 security monitoring
  • Lower maintenance and IT costs
  • Faster delivery of features, updates and patches

We also offer a host of tools to keep your site secure, streamlined, and optimized with features designed for the ecommerce experience.  To find out more, contact us today!


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