Case Study

Hobbs Retailer Case Study

By / 07th Sep 2018

 

Hobbs Retailer Case Study

About The Client: Hobbs

A contemporary British fashion designer and retailer of women’s apparel, shoes and accessories, Hobbs opened its first store in Hampstead in 1981 and now has over 140 stores throughout the UK and Ireland.

Since its launch, the company’s UK website has proved a runaway success with customers. As a result, traffic to the site can surge dramatically at key trading times when thousands of visitors flock to the website to check out sales previews, new seasonal lines, and place online orders.

“Our customers expect a great experience, and were quick to tell us when they were unable to place their orders. Netacea enables us to control the flow of traffic so everyone gets fair access to the sale products.” - Sharon Lowrie, Technology and Business Change Director

Client Challenge

As a sought after brand, the sheer volume of traffic hitting the Hobbs website during peak sales events had caused slowdowns and crashes. Aside from the potential revenue loss that resulted, Hobbs was highly concerned about how these performance failures impact on customers.

“We have a very loyal customer base – and they expect us to provide a consistent experience,” explains Sharon Lowrie, Technology and Business Change Director, Hobbs London. “If the website doesn’t perform against expectations – they are very quick to tell us.”

To fix the problem, Hobbs had considered building out more infrastructure capacity to enable the site to cope with 15-20 times its average levels at all times. But high implementation and maintenance proved prohibitive. An alternative solution was needed.

“It felt a bit like using a hammer to crack a nut. We needed a more intelligent approach to coping with seasonal and flash demand events,” confirms Sharon.

Key Challenges:

  • Spikes in traffic caused performance issues and website crashes.
  • Additional infrastructure proved too costly for seasonal spikes in traffic.
  • Other waiting room solutions did not offer additional customisation options.

The Solution

Having evaluated all available options on the market, Hobbs took the decision to implement the Netacea Virtual Waiting Room solution. After a quick installation, overseen by Netacea, the Virtual Waiting Room was monitoring traffic levels on the website.

The moment web traffic bursts over the Hobbs’ preset threshold where performance would start to suffer – or the website would go down – Netacea automatically defers new visitors to a branded queue page. Here visitors can see their queue position and expected wait time, entering the website in the correct order once existing visitors leave the site.

“Netacea enables us to configure how many visitors can get onto the site – and we’re now able to easily manage this for ourselves in-house,” continues Sharon.
“While we have a pretty good understanding of the ebbs and flows of traffic during the normal trading season, if a celebrity is pictured in the media wearing one of our products we need to be able to respond fast. With Netacea we have the year round protection needed to deal with such unexpected events.”

Benefits:

  • 100% uptime during peak loads.
  • Rapid, seamless integration for immediate time to value.
  • Happy, informed customers during peak sales events.

“Netacea not only gives us year round protection from traffic spikes, we’ve also been able to reduce our infrastructure by 20% and move our staff from reactive fire fighting to other proactive mission critical work.” - Sharon Lowrie, Technology and Business Change Director

The Result

Thanks to the Virtual Waiting Room, Hobbs is now protected against the slowdowns or outages that previously occurred during major sales events like Black Friday and Boxing Day.

Just as important to Hobbs, it now has a safety net in relation to website performance issues that has allowed them to reduce their dependency on expensive ‘spare’ capacity and right size platform resources.

“Netacea gave us a very elegant solution to the challenge of dealing with demand peaks and unexpected events,” confirms Sharon. “As a result, we’ve been able to decommission resources – reducing our infrastructure by 20%.”

But that’s not all. Some unanticipated productivity benefits have also resulted from the implementation.

“Not having to pull all hands to the pump and constantly re-scale infrastructure means we’re all now free to get on with other mission-critical project work,” concludes Sharon.

About The Netacea Virtual Waiting Room

When the maximum number of visitors is reached, Netacea delivers a waiting page to all additional visitors without any access to your servers ensuring protection for your servers and quality of service to your site visitors.

By putting all additional visitors into a fair, first-in-first-out waiting room we ensure that all visitors get the best possible experience and your site remains available 24/7 no matter how busy it gets.

Netacea’s Virtual Waiting Room is a scalable, cloud-based service that sits in front of your website and controls access for all visitors. To learn more about our solution, sign up for a Virtual Waiting Room Trial to demo the product and test it on your live site or mobile app.