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Beyond The Rack Improves Site Loading By 20% With Akamai

Many retailers are ensuring success this holiday season by improving web site stability and overall load times. However, flash sale sites rely on quick load times year-round to ensure customer satisfaction. Because flash sale eTailers such as Beyond The Rack drive traffic and purchases by offering extreme discounts via timely sales and limited product availability, site stability and seamless content delivery is not a nice to have, but a necessity.

Beyond The Rack is creating a seamless browsing and buying experience for sale seekers by leveraging solutions from Akamai Technologies, a web acceleration and performance management solution provider. Using the Dynamic Site Accelerator offering for the online and mobile-optimized storefronts, Beyond The Rack successfully has quickened site load times by 20%, leading to happier and more loyal customers, Ted Guglielmi, CTO of Beyond the Rack, told Retail TouchPoints.

“In the flash sale space, things need to be quick: there’s a limited amount of goods available for a short period of time,” Guglielmi said. “We now can ensure top performance, as well as reliability and consistency of delivering the site to our customers. We don’t want to frustrate shoppers by providing products they like, but make the purchasing process so slow that eventually inventory is not available to them. That is the worst thing we could do.”

Beyond the Rack offers members sought-after designer brand apparel, accessories, beauty, consumer electronics, and home décor products at prices up to 80% off. Due to this limited product availability and high demand, Beyond The Rack fields approximately 25% of total daily traffic during the first two hours of sale openings, Guglielmi reported. This spike in traffic created an influx of challenges for the retailer, especially regarding site stability and content delivery.

The image-heavy format of the Beyond The Rack site also had an impact on load times. While product photos are vital to “the main appeal and beauty” of the site and “makes people want to buy from Beyond the Rack,” Guglielmi noted that images used to slow load times exponentially. “But with the web acceleration solution, we can deliver the experience we want in a lightening-fast fashion,” he said, “where a consumer can see items, browse goods and make a purchase quickly.”

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Stepping Up Site Performance For A Successful Holiday Season

As Beyond The Rack gears up for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and accelerates into the holiday season, the eTailer plans to hold more sales on the site, as well as increase the amount of products available, Guglielmi reported. Typically, the retailer runs approximately two events per day, but plans to increase that number to four or five sales a day during the holiday season.

“It’s important for us to have the confidence that our system can create a seamless customer experience, regardless of the number of photos or number of products on the site,” Guglielmi said. “It’s challenging to get consumers to purchase one time, but it’s ten-fold more challenging to get shoppers to come back a second time. You really only have one shot to bring shoppers in and fulfill their needs. Customer retention and loyalty is even more difficult in the flash sale space mainly because of product and time limitations.”

The holiday season can make or break retailers such as Beyond The Rack, Guglielmi advised, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday acting as key days for e-Commerce sites to “make their mark in sales and customer confidence,” he said. “Whether consumers are on PCs, tablets or smartphones, consumers are looking for reliability, speed, performance, and for a consistent experience. To us, site performance — regardless of device being used — has to be equal.” 

Lelah Manz, Chief Strategist of Commerce at Akamai Technologies, added: “Beyond The Rack is one of the more prepared retailers for the holiday season because those peaks in traffic are not out of the norm for them. Beyond The Rack worked with us to address scaling goals, and is a great example of a forward-thinking retailer that knows performance is critical to keeping visitors on your site and getting them to browse and eventually complete a purchase.” 

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