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Surviving Black Friday and holiday shopping with cloud

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black-friday-holiday-shopping-cloudJust as steel is strengthened through the application of heat, human character is “strengthened” through surviving the crucible of the holiday shopping season.

My family has attempted to take me shopping in the wee hours of the morning on “Black Friday,” the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, to no avail.  I’ve seen enough news reports about Black Friday to cure me of any desire to experience the phenomenon. I heard recently that there have been four deaths and 76 injuries over the last seven years of Black Friday shopping.

Thank goodness, then, for online shopping. Last year, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online orders topped $5.5 billion. While online shopping has been of great benefit to mankind by helping us avoid crowds, it also has introduced another experience that “strengthens” our character: coping with slow responsiveness.

There is a direct correlation between website response time while shopping, unhappy online shoppers, and impact to bottom-line sales. I’ve seen reports that indicate more than 40 percent of online buyers abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to load. More than 80 percent of online buyers who are dissatisfied with their online shopping experience are unlikely to buy again from that site.

Now imagine a retailer that delivers its online shopping experience via the cloud. Using cloud, a key design point and benefit for retailers is elasticity through something referred to as “auto-scaling.”

Auto-scaling is fairly straightforward to implement. Cloud service providers have auto-scaling policies that are created when these workloads are deployed on cloud. These policies are defined and triggered based on environment resource usage (such as CPU, memory usage, or network traffic) or time-based settings (for example, Friday at 6 AM until Sunday at 7 AM).  Once deployed, additional instances are spun up and scaled when these thresholds are exceeded.

Of course there are a few other things that go with auto-scaling that must be considered. Load balancing, a properly architected online shopping application and having a disaster recovery / high availability solution as part of the overall online shopping solution will help provide a delightful shopping experience, regardless of the shopping season.

With these things in place, retailers may rejoice that they can scale to support all their online users (which means more revenue for them).

Online buyers can rejoice because not only can they purchase your gift efficiently, but they also don’t have to participate any other character “strengthening” exercises by being frustrated with a slow online shopping experience.

Create seamless retail solutions on the cloud.

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