US import Black Friday and its associated sales are gaining traction in the UK market. This year the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reports that November sales were up 2.2% from the same period in 2013. In addition, it was the best performance in the retail sector for three months.
For ecommerce sites and those retailers with an online presence, this increase in sales meant a significant increase in traffic. As with their physical counterparts, more visitors to these sites presented similar problems – virtual queues, underperforming platforms and, in some cases, website crashes due to traffic overload.
However, for Aurora Commerce, an ecommerce specialist, this increase in traffic presented no issues for its range of retail customers. Aurora Commerce works with mid-market retailers who make use of the company’s custom-built commerce platform Aurora. Aurora is hosted by cloud and colocation expert Pulsant on its Enterprise Cloud platform.
Tom Cahalan, Aurora Commerce MD, explained: “What we found in previous years was that for our clients Cyber Monday was the busiest day of the year by quite a significant margin, whereas Black Friday was just one of the busiest. This year, however, Black Friday was the day that saw the most website traffic through customer sites”.
“Where other retailers were experiencing performance issues and downtime, all of our customers remained up and running, with no negative impact on trading and their sites coping perfectly with the increase in traffic. Select Fashion, one of our biggest customers, saw five times as much traffic to its website compared to Black Friday last year, and was incredibly happy with the performance of the platform”.
Aurora Commerce initially hosted its Aurora solution on a private cloud platform with Pulsant before changing providers. However, as its infrastructure reached end of life, the requirements for increased reliability, scalability and flexibility became ever more important.
“Pulsant’s Enterprise Cloud allows us to scale up really quickly and one of the most attractive aspects of this is that we able to do so on a monthly basis. This is a cost-effective and efficient solution for a lot of our clients who experience their peak trading periods over November, December and January”.
The Enterprise Cloud platform ensures the availability and performance of these customer sites over the busy periods and allows Aurora Commerce to scale down during less busy periods making sure that there is optimum usage of the technology.
“Pulsant has invested significantly in its hardware and infrastructure. This, coupled with the excellent technical team, gives us confidence in the performance of the platform, as well as their ability to address any issues that may come up. We know that Pulsant has the staff with the right skills to assist us, especially out of hours, which is the most important aspect for us”, concludes Cahalan.
Aurora Commerce has migrated a number of its customers to the Pulsant cloud platform with the rest due to move early in 2015.