Aim high! Cloud computing in e-commerce
Posted by Paweł Gazda on 06.07.2015 16:03
The specificity of cloud makes it perfect for all kind of Internet businesses. Why cloud computing, rather than a dedicated server, or traditional web hosting is gaining so much e-commerce industry recognition?
Power of e-commerce
E-commerce industry is growing rapidly worldwide and to think that even 10 years ago, online shopping aroused much concern among potential customers - both in terms of transaction security and comfort of using the platform. Today situation is completely different and the changes can be seen on every market, including Polish.
Studies show that as many as 84% of all Poles like to shop online. It is also interesting that 82% of respondents like to browse through the range offered by online stores without intending to buy anything, just for the pleasure. Basing on the same study we can learn that insufficient information discourages us to make online purchases. An insufficient number of pictures or inaccurate product descriptions discourage 65% of customers from purchasing. Security issues of the trading platform are important for 96% of respondents.
All these data show that e-commerce industry has done its homework, but much remains to be done. First of all, it is worth noting that the market each year gets bigger, with new Internet users, and generation raised on the Internet since birth is just entering adult life. This is a great opportunity for e-shops, but are everyone ready for the new mass of customers?
E-client is king!
Competition never sleeps - well-known credo among traditional retailers is also reflected in e-commerce. If the online store is not prepared to handle a large number of customers, to put matter the easiest way - the server becomes clogged.
This can be compared to a situation where a hundred people want to pass through the door of our shop at the same time - naturally, nobody will go through, and despite many potential customers, we won't serve even one. Dedicated servers or shared hosting clog in a similar manner.
The real ordeal for the old hosting solutions is the mobile devices boom and spontaneous growth of this segment of e-commerce. In practice, this means for the most Internet marketers that they must find new resources to bear the additional traffic generated by customers using e.g. smartphones.
It is worth noting that potential customers who are on the way home from work and browse the offer of e-shop on a mobile device probably visit the site on a desktop computer, before making purchasing decision. Therefore, it is important that even at the stage of mobile applications you provide the client with comprehensive information.
But how to handle the ever-growing number of customers on the same old server hardware? Of course, you can expand it if it is still held in the company headquarter. Such solution is a great news for any computer manufacturer but it is clear that mood boosting of hardware companies will not be profitable in the long run.
At one point the company will face another dilemma - whether to invest further in its server and bear all the consequences of its use, or choose outsourcing of hosting solution? Here the company will face another dilemma - which technology to choose?
Shared hosting is a thing of the past. Serious business can no longer rely on such solution, especially if we are talking about fast growing industry as e-commerce. The main competitor is therefore VPS and dedicated server.
Migration an online store to virtual server is a gamble, due to the fact of what VPS really is. It is a virtual machine that runs next to many similar on one physical machine. In practice, this means that if one of the other hoster customers heavily load the machine, the performance of your piece of the machine will drop. This in turn translates into well known to all e-merchants problems with the availability of the trading platform. So how about a dedicated server?
Every, even the most powerful dedicated server also has limited resources. They are obviously larger than normal virtual server, but when a sudden increase in the number of customers appears, for example associated with the seasonality of the business, the server shall fall.
From a financial point of view, the company will pay more each month, to finally, at a critical period for that business, fail to cope, and ill-chosen web hosting technology is to blame. So why cloud computing is a panacea to the problems of the e-commerce?
Cloud computing is mainly scalability
This means that the IT infrastructure on which the specific e-business is built, can be improved in just a few minutes. No need to waste time searching for equipment, you do not have to waste hours to negotiate the upgrade of dedicated server by phone - it's done with just a few clicks in the admin panel. If your company resources are not increased so simply and quickly - then know that in competition it may look just like that.
We learn from mistakes, but in the era of new technologies does it need to apply to your business? No, it does not and it should not, especially since we are talking about technology that is available to everyone and does not necessarily mean greater financial outlay. Fast increase of resources is not everything what cloud computing has to offer.
The cloud is also availability
Seasonal shops that generate most of the revenue in a particular month (or months) are constantly faced with the phenomenon of excessive spending on IT infrastructure during the period of lower activity and the lack of sufficient power, at a time when they generate the lion's share of their income. Examples include manufacturers and e-sellers of Christmas ornaments, rather no one browse their site in August. The answer to their problems is Autoscaler.
Autoscaler, which is a tool to automatically change the power of the machine depending on its load, is no longer a song of the future. It is a tool that performs well in e-commerce and is a response to seasonal heavy traffic on trading platforms, e.g. during the holiday season. The lack of appropriate solutions can result in a spectacular setback, as in the case of BestBuy, one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the United States, which did not coped with the web traffic of the holiday shopping season in 2012. In response, the customers did what any of us would done seeing the sign "Closed" - they went to the competition. Humorous text "We were expecting snow, and blizzard came" did not convince potential customers to wait until the page was loaded - when in other e-stores everything works fine.
Cloud triggers potential and allows you to forget about problems
These arguments should convince the undecided that cloud computing is a good idea for any business. The cloud, however, has much more to offer.
First of all, a company that migrates to the cloud, don’t worry about expenses on hardware, and those in the case of server hardware can be large. But it’s not the price for many e-stores which is the most important aspect, but the fact that intervention is needed in IT infrastructure. This causes downtime, so customers do not have access to the trading platform. It does not matter whether we are talking about the server being held in-house or it is leased from a hosting company (someone at that hosting company will have to intervene in the unit that is running the e-shop).
The cloud also relieves the human resources, since both maintenance and continual improvement of services is a cloud provider responsibility. Administrators can therefore spend more time on the ... administration. It is also worth noting that cloud can be handled by every administrator.
Another argument in favour of cloud computing is security of corporate data and e-shops customer data. About the safety of our solutions, you can learn more from the separate document "Extended specification of Oktawave cloud platform security aspects", which is located in our Knowledge Base. Oktawave also meets all the requirements of GIODO (Inspector General for Personal Data Protection) concerning the processing of personal data.
From a business point of view, the matter is simple - by opting for cloud, the company will stop waste time spent on development and maintenance of IT infrastructure, and instead focuses on the sales of their goods.
Still not convinced? In Oktawave we know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so we offer 25 PLN for each customer to start. It's enough to test Oktawave and illustrate the difference between the old technology and cloud computing. If you need help with the migration or with installation of your software, we will give you a team of qualified individuals that will change the way you manage your e-commerce IT. Visit us: http://www.oktawave.com/.
* - research conducted by TNS Poland and Ceneo portal by the end of 2014.