|As apparel retailers intensify their efforts to duplicate the rich, multimedia-driven visual environments of their physical stores in the online channel, video streaming and interactive shopping applications present real challenges that can compromise site performance. What are best-in-class apparel companies doing right to ensure that customers' online shopping experience is just as fun - and fast - as it is in their brick-and-mortar stores?
First, they're prepared for the peaks. That means they've provisioned sufficient bandwidth to handle the crushing volume of page requests that can accompany big sales, holiday shopping and seasonal shifts. In the past, this could only be accomplished through building out server capacity, but this approach meant that an expensive, fast-depreciating investment went largely unutilized most of the time.
Today, leading online apparel retailers rely on companies such as Akamai to provide virtually unlimited bandwidth on demand. That means they can create marketing strategies and sales plans without limitations imposed by the IT department, knowing that successful traffic generation won't lead to poor site performance. Akamai spreads user loads over a network of more than 30,000 servers around the world, so there's plenty of capacity to handle even unexpected - but welcome! - site traffic.
Second, the most successful online apparel retailers are prepared for disruption. So if the Internet decides to go on a little vacation, say from noon to 3:00 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, their sites will continue to perform at the same level, loading quickly and reliably and enabling shoppers to complete transactions regardless of Internet outages or trouble spots. Akamai provides an infrastructure that's not only deep but also broad, overlaying the public Internet and creating shortcuts and workarounds for bandwidth-intensive data delivery - no matter what issues appear in certain spots on the Internet.
Finally, best-in-class apparel retailers are already well prepared to deliver HD Video, enhanced shopping cart and sizing applications, and tools that haven't yet been imagined that will make the online shopping experience even more like the real thing. They're confident that they can meet future demands without adding infrastructure or complexity to their operations, because they know that Akamai is thinking three steps ahead too. They know that Akamai helps more than 75 of the top 100 U.S. retailers deliver rich media content, sophisticated applications and all the other features that make AJAX-powered Web sites such powerful selling platforms. And more are joining all the time!
Leading apparel retailers (and Akamai customers), such as Victoria's Secret and Urban Outfitters, have long since realized that a site that's rich in content and offers a high level of interactivity is meaningless if it's not delivered quickly, reliably and securely. Akamai delivers these sites up to five times faster - ensuring that every transaction can be completed quickly and consistently, even for highly interactive sites.
Would you like to learn more about what you can do to improve site performance while delivering an incredible online shopping experience? Click here to download your copy of the Akamai White Paper: Web 2.0 Is Here - Is Your Apparel Site Ready? You'll learn more about today's B2C Web site trends and understand the challenges associated with dynamic applications, rich media content and maintaining site performance during peak shopping periods. To learn more about Akamai's solutions for online retail please visit www.akamai.com/retail.