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Scalability
a case study for Splashofpink.com

Shoppers on splashofpink.com experienced easy and extremely fast navigation with no lag time. The result was a higher conversion rate and a positive user experience. This turn-key solution offered splashofpink.com scalability as well as the potential to capitalize on future opportunities with confidence.

Marc’s team was able to acquire a custom engineered, temporary solution that allowed to scale up and scale down very quickly without the requirement of a dedicated in-house System Administrator. With punctual, temporary spikes in visitor traffic, JetRails Boosters are a very cost-effective solution that does not require long-term investments in additional infrastructure.

For more than 50 years, the bright colorful patterns and classic prints of Lily Pulitzer clothing have been flourishing in garden parties, Palm Beach resorts and the beautiful sandy shores of Florida. In 2003, Amy and Marc Cesaratto opened Splash of Pink, a boutique specializing in the Lilly Pulitzer brand. Through their high-end store and ecommerce channel, the appeal of the brand continued to grow as buyers of all ages forged an emotional connection to the clothing. Made famous by iconic parties and an impressive roster of celebrity clientele; Splash of Pink has built their reputation by perfecting the customer experience and providing a level of service that only a family-owned and operated store can deliver. Splashofpink.com was about to launch their largest annual sale alongside Lilly Pulitzer, who boasts more than 1.1 million Facebook followers alone. The boutique apparel company realized that their infrastructure would not adequately support the surge in visitor traffic triggered by their massive sale. On the verge of the epic event, Marc Cesaratto turned to the JetRails team to build an environment that would scale with demand.

Challenge

The anticipated spike in traffic was estimated to be relatively short in duration (approximately 48 hours with a very large spike in the first 3 hours of the event). Therefore, an elastic, scalable and cost-effective approach was required to ensure an immediate escalation of the infrastructure. The ability to quickly scale-down once the campaign had reached a conclusion was also a priority to maintain the integrity of the operations budget. In previous years, the Splash of Pink team had to rely on third-party services to throttle visitor traffic to the shopping site, resulting in multi-hour wait times for shoppers to complete their purchase.

The Splash of Pink Team needed additional guidance on how to fully assess what the heightened traffic pattern would look like, analyze the environment’s current capabilities, forecast the additional capacity needed and implement the infrastructure required to sustain the heightened influx of web visitors.

JetRails Action Plan

The site had to be assessed, and an in-depth analysis was performed to determine its ability to withstand significant traffic spikes. Armed with the data from previous sale events, JetRails engineers performed several stress tests which indicated that the site would not withstand traffic demands of the magnitude anticipated.

The current website was hosted on a dual server platform. A clustered solution was engineered with dedicated systems for the SQL database and the addition of seven load balanced web servers. A content delivery network was implemented allowing for immediate access to static content, optimizing web traffic navigation and speed.

The newly engineered platform was stringently tested, and the results confirmed that it would easily sustain 19X its normal hourly visitors. The platform was tested and put into production before the traffic spike. JetRails engineers monitored the platform during the event to ensure that visitors received a great shopping experience without any interruptions or delays.

Results

With the launch of the sale, splashofpink.com experienced nearly double the conversion rate on the first day alone jumping from 3% in 2017 to 5% in 2018. The site withstood the massive influx of visitors with 100% uptime and speeds that rivaled industry standards.

Once the event completed successfully the additional servers in the stack were removed. By engineering the system to include the content delivery network/load balancer, splashofpink.com maintained a configuration with built-in elasticity and an infrastructure prepared for on-demand scalability. This provided flexibility to accommodate future traffic spikes as needed.

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