From birthdays and anniversaries to holidays and graduations, there’s a high demand for gifting retailers year-round. The US gifting market is estimated at $130 billion with 50% of orders placed online.  Orders are divided into two general categories:  event and holiday. Events like birthdays, anniversaries, get well, and sympathy occur daily and account for approximately 60% of total sales for specialty gifting retailers with consistent monthly online traffic.  Holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day provide the other 40% of revenue. With that amount of revenue and orders, it’s essential for online gifting retailers to continuously optimize the function and efficiency of their retail ordering system.

The Client:

A premier floral and gifting retailer providing online offerings including flowers, plants, sweets, personalized gifts, jewelry, and gift baskets world-wide.

The Problem:

A successful Christmas marketing campaign resulted in higher than normal volume exceeding retail ordering system capacity.  As website page load times began to increase, so did customer frustration. Orders were lost as the retail ordering system was unable to keep up with customer demand.  A poor customer experience would not only result in the loss of one holiday order, but could easily cost the retailer future holiday and event business. Geneca was brought in to enhance the client’s retail ordering system and equip them to better handle future order influxes.  

The Goals:

  1. Immediate fix to prepare for the Valentine’s Day rush 6 short weeks away
  2. Long-term solution in place before Mother’s Day, a 4-month project
  3. Overall increase in retail ordering system performance for day to day orders to delight event customers
  4. Prevent problem from reoccurring in the future

What Geneca did:

Geneca worked closely with the client to fully understand the use of the retail ordering system from a business scenario standpoint to effectively load-test the entire environment. In order to address the system problems before the Valentine’s Day rush hit, Geneca set up a hardware environment and designed a realistic load of transactions to simulate a real day on the servers.  Bottlenecks were identified and fine-tuned for the retail ordering system to handle a greater capacity of orders.

After observing the Valentine’s Day traffic, Geneca crafted upgrades to the system architecture and made refinements to the system’s processing performance ensuring the client would meet the demand of Mother’s Day orders, as well.   The revamped platform also enhanced day to day speeds ensuring a smoother customer experience. Geneca designed a retail ordering system assessment methodology to continuously identify and address areas of potential risk allowing the client’s internal IT team to handle future growth proactively.   

Results:

While the initial Christmas rush pushed the retail ordering system beyond capacity, the changes allowed Mother’s Day to do 4x the volume at 50% of capacity.  The client is now able to meet both day to day event and increased holiday ordering capacity without any loss of performance providing a strong customer experience and revenue growth for the future.