More Customers on Your Site: Cause for Celebration or Disaster?

At a basic level, the goal of every e-commerce site is to attract more traffic. Regardless of your conversion rate, the more visits your site receives, the more sales it will generate—that is simple mathematics.

Of course, that statement is only true given the assumption that your website can handle a spike in customers when it occurs, and that can be a dangerous assumption to make. If your website runs on a legacy, scale-up database, drawing more consumers to your website might leave you overstressed instead of overjoyed.

For instance, if you are relying on a MySQL database, your site lacks the scalability to handle dramatic upticks in usage. As potential customers increasingly flock to your pages, creating highly concurrent workloads, performance will begin to lag and the site’s overall response time will slow down.

That diminished performance will almost certainly translate into lost revenue; even a one-second delay in page response can lead to a 7 percent reduction in conversion rate, according to a recent infographic from KISSmetrics. And it can get even worse. Eventually, when the site becomes so overloaded that it cannot function, it crashes, which can cost you even more in sales and even hurt your SEO ranking. So in fact, a rush of potential buyers you initially thought would be cause for celebration actually becomes a catastrophe.

Conversely, a scale-out cloud database allows your organization to ramp up capacity quickly by adding servers in the cloud as needed. Your site would now withstand hundreds of thousands of customers per hour, increase speed linearly and eliminate downtime—and then flex back down if that extra horsepower wasn’t needed after a seasonal peak.

With the variety of multichannel marketing you’re doing to draw consumers to your site, you should be able to capitalize on your efforts when those campaigns take hold. A scale-out database helps make sure all those new customers on your site are a dream come true of seamless customer experience, instead of a nightmare of slowdowns and unplanned outages. Just ask Staples or Best Buy how that turned-out, this past Cyber Monday…

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