Days out from Adairs' biggest online sale of the year, serious production issues were faced which threatened to derail the event and its associated revenue.
In less than a week Technocrat were required to transform the performance of the site and position it to handle the huge expected volumes.
Working around the clock, and utilising Technocrat's best of breed developers, all technical problems were resolved just in time, and Adairs went on to experience their best sale to date.
Adairs is Australia's leading manchester and homewares retailer, with over 100 stores across Australia. Once a year they hold an online sales exclusive for members. This event is their single most profitable day of the year. Approaching this year's sale, the website experienced serious performance issues - particularly in relation to page load times. Adairs were naturally highly concerned due to the significant revenue at stake.
During this once a year sale, the Adairs website experiences a dramatic increase in visitors. The system is generally expected to handle volumes in excess of 1,000 concurrent users. In addition, history showed that page load times in excess of 40 seconds, caused customers to drop off the pages - leading to loss of revenue. The system was failing both of these critical tests.
With only a handful of days to ready the system, Technocrat had to assemble a large team quickly and establish relationships with numerous disparate partners and stakeholders.
Additional challenges included:
- Major security issues and inefficient code across the site;
- A lack of system documentation;
- Poor system memory utilisation;
- No staging environment for testing.
As time didn't allow for a major system rebuild, the team had to work creatively for quick performance wins.
Technocrat replaced the low performing server with one that utilised a much larger portion of available memory. This went a long way to decreasing page load times. In addition, multiple databases were implemented to support the high transaction volumes, and supply robust failover mechanisms. Where necessary, the team reached out to fellow experts in Australia and internationally to assist with some of the more obscure portions of the existing Adairs technology.
On the day of the sale, a brief bottleneck was experienced in the first hour, but this was resolved quickly. After this, visitors and sales continued uninterrupted for the remainder of the sale.
A strong partnership with Adairs' CMO and Digital Marketing Manager was critical to the success of this project. As was Technocrat's willingness to work around the clock and be available to Adairs at all times.
Technocrat managed to complete a significant amount of work in a short period – roughly 2 month's worth of hours in under a week. And the team delivered exactly what Adairs wanted – a robust e-commerce platform that could withstand very heavy traffic.
Here are some of the outstanding results:
- The average page load went from 40 seconds to under 2 seconds;
- On sale day, the website was able to handle over 1,300 simultaneous users without any performance issues;
- The client recorded an incredible rise in revenue from the previous year's event of just over 190%.
Technologies used on the Project
- Drupal 7
- DB Cluster Management
- Backend development