Black Friday and Cyber Monday are six months away. However distant this may seem, wheels across the entire e-commerce industry have begun to turn, shifting their focus from projections and forecasts to tactical decisions on how to improve operations within budget.
With this in mind, here are a few things you can do right now to get ready for this year.
1. Make your IT budget go further while improving reliability during peak loads
For e-commerce sites, there is always a struggle between performance/reliability improvements and IT/Infrastructure budgets. In larger organizations these functions are managed by separate divisions and are often siloed, making full transparency difficult to achieve. The goal across the organization – sell more – may be the same, but that has not incentivized tearing down silos. For smaller sites and organizations a few people have complete visibility and the challenge shows up as a budget allocation issue. In both cases, the issue is how do you improve performance and reliability without overspending?
Many e-commerce sites have turned to commercial CDNs or caching services to improve performance and reliability. For rapid deployments these are great options, but as you grow, so do your costs. One of the things you can do immediately is search for software-defined solutions, like Varnish Enterprise, with per-server, service-based pricing that enable you to utilize your entire investment in infrastructure. From a peak-load perspective Varnish Enterprise lets you scale as far up as your servers and network can support without increasing throughput costs. In addition, Varnish installs on any hardware and can work with your current commercial CDN and caching services eliminating the pain of ripping and replacing existing approaches.
2. Optimize for mobile commerce while improving performance
One of the more recent challenges for e-commerce sites has been to keep up with the growth of mobile commerce. The reason is that unless you are a new company, you have some level of technical debt to contend with. In other words, the investments you've made to optimize for desktop shopping, which should have lasted for three to five years, are strained by the rapid growth of mobile commerce. In the US alone, mobile commerce in 2022 is expected to exceed $430 billion dollars and by 2025 this figure is expected to grow almost twofold to over $700 billion dollars. How do you ensure at least some of the investments you are making today will help your mobile commerce growth in the future?
In order to ensure the technology you use to improve performance supports your evolving needs in the future, it needs to be highly customizable. Even though there has been consolidation in mobile OS platforms over the years there are still various resolutions, devices, networks, and applications that need to be supported. This is one of the reasons our open source product is used by close to 20% of the world’s top 10,000 websites. It is highly customizable and can be used to ensure the best customer experience regardless of device. This is enabled by Varnish Configuration Language (VCL), which can be used to tailor performance and reliability based on your unique requirements. Varnish Enterprise takes this one step further and gives you access to plug-ins called VMODs that allow you to rapidly deploy hundreds of beneficial features and services. When combined VCL and VMODs give you an unprecedented level of control so that you can support your mobile commerce needs of today and tomorrow.
3. Layer on security in a non-disruptive, transparent way
In today’s world, protecting your assets isn’t enough. You also need to know how and where the security technology you use was developed and identify potential risks for backdoors and vulnerabilities. You also need to be able to use the security features in a non-disruptive way as close to the source of the threat as possible.
Many of the VMODs offered through Varnish Enterprise are focused on protecting your assets and service availability. This includes SSL/TLS support, AES 256 bit encryption, and a web application firewall (WAF) that protects from DDoS and any other malicious requests at the edge before they reach your application or origin servers. These are all features that can be added to existing processes without needing to modify your applications.
Get ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, we know time is of the essence. Our next webinar, 3 Ways to Prepare Your Site For Black Friday & Increase Revenue, will do a deeper dive on these topics. You can register here.
But if you want to do something this week, you can set up a call with one of our experts. If you are already using Varnish Cache, we can further improve your page load times, reduce latency, help you support evolving mobile commerce needs, and improve security so that you can provide a better experience for customers. And we can do this quickly.
If you are not currently a Varnish user and want to get started right away, you can request a free trial. Either way, we look forward to talking to you!