The “daily deal” and “VIP invite-only sale” e-Commerce model has presented a unique challenge to businesses playing in the alternative retail space. While these types of offers are proving to be a rapidly growing shopping incentive, they attract a high volume of web site visitors. This can pose a challenge for retailers, requiring them to be equipped with technology that can cater to traffic surges and deliver a fast, reliable transactional experience for both the retailer and customer.
HauteLook is a members-only site that offers limited-time sale events on the women’s and men’s fashion and accessories, beauty, children’s items, home décor, travel packages and local services. HauteLook is touted as a high-quality retail site and boasts a member base of more than 4 million members. On a typical day, visitors log on to the site as soon as the daily member emails are sent out.
“Our sales go live every day at 8 a.m., and at that time, we get a massive surge of traffic that exceeds what common news web sites even get,” said Kevin Diamond, Chief Technology Officer, Hautelook.
Combined with the fact that every page on the site is dynamically generated, the traffic surges put tremendous strain on the retailer’s servers hosted in the company’s Los Angeles, California headquarters.
To meet the demanding web site needs, HauteLook needed a solution that could scale instantly to support and handle its traffic surges. In Q1 2009, the company tapped Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator services and globally distributed platform to help improve the performance of its private online shopping site.
Leveraging Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator services, HauteLook can now handle unexpected traffic peaks, avoid downtime and ensure quick transactions. HauteLook is able to scale securely on demand to support surges in traffic, ensuring that its dynamic content is delivered quickly to all members without the need to build out its own infrastructures.
Additionally, HauteLook requires the strictest security measures to protect members’ shipping and billing information. By leveraging Akamai’s PCI-certified SSL network, HauteLook can ensure its members’ data is delivered and managed in a PCI-compliant way.
“Compliance with PCI is essential for us in order to offer our members the convenience of online credit card transactions,” Diamond said. “With Akamai, we gain peace of mind knowing that we will deliver a fast, fun and secure experience no matter how many people come to our site or what new technology we add.”
Since implementation, HauteLook has seen a more than 200% increase in members and more than 400% increase in revenue, and the site has offloaded more than 95% of its content to the Akamai platform, enabling it to handle a high volume of traffic with 100% availability.
The Dynamic Site Accelerator service has enabled consistent performance, even when traffic has peaked at more than 70% above average on a daily basis, according to the retailer. Akamai helps Hautelook’s 4 million customers enjoy top brands with huge discounts by distributing Hautelook’s web site over 84,000 servers around the world. This allows spikes of customer visits (typically after a targeted email campaign) to access the site instantly and securely without the need for Hautelook to invest in its own infrastructure.
“We feel Akamai’s expansive infrastructure and advanced technologies are the right choice at the right time,” Diamond noted. “Akamai has supported us through our amazing growth surge, enabling us to continue delivering a great member experience every day. As we further grow our business, we want our members to have the same site experience as on day one. With Akamai serving our content, members can access the site the second a sale event goes live, find exactly what they want, and check out, easily and quickly.”