Profiting Through Performance: E-commerce Success Stories

As access to information, entertainment, and communications edges closer to instantaneous, consumer expectations and demands for fast and seamless customer experiences grow as well. This is especially true for e-commerce sites that cater to online customers who put a premium on convenience.

Many of the databases that support today’s e-commerce sites are built on MySQL. These sites typically function quite effectively until workload hits a critical mass, at which point disaster may strike. You can imagine a rapidly growing retail site that has experienced 50 percent growth over a year period leading up to Cyber Monday. We’ve spoken to hundreds of e-commerce merchants that fit that description! And each time, their site’s database would usually have the capacity to handle a gradual increase in customers over the course of 12 months… But when they hit a sudden surge, for instance a flash sale, their site(s) slowed down to unusable levels, if not literally crashed.

“But I don’t do flash sales!” you may think. Well, if your provider develops an inventory problem, or one of your products suddenly blows-up on social media, you might just find yourself in a ‘flash sale’ situation… and crossing your fingers that your e-commerce site can handle the peak.

Or how about the infamous ‘Cyber Monday’? On the biggest online shopping day of the year a large percentage of your growing customer base will visit your site all at once, and all of a sudden the database is overwhelmed, leading to slower page loads and perhaps even site downtime.

Either of these outcomes can be catastrophic. Speed and performance are particularly important for e-commerce businesses; consider, for instance, that 64 percent of consumers who experience poor performance will abandon a site. Downtime is even more damaging than poor performance, as research shows that SMBs stand to lose $12,500 per hour that a site is down.