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Platform Scalability + Hosting Environments: 3 Questions to Ask

As a savvy eCommerce business, you’re fully aware that website performance matters in the digitized, instant-gratification world in which we live. Improved web performance impacts an increase in pages viewed, products viewed, cart conversions, and revenue.
Take a moment to consider this – 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load, according to a recent study from Google.
Website performance is linked to the scalability of your commerce platform during periods of high traffic volumes, such as the holiday shopping season. (As a side note, retail websites saw record volumes of eCommerce sales during the 2016 holiday season.)
It’s no wonder then that 74% of online retailers are concerned their existing platforms won’t scale for future growth, which brings up the question:

How do you determine the scale and capacity to support your eCommerce business?

Simply stated – it’s a blend of art and science. You need a strategy that accounts for seasonality, special promotions or campaigns, and cyber holidays. These elements contribute to increased traffic and sales spikes compared to the daily ebb and flow of your online business.
Understanding the technical architecture of your current platform and key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive your online business will introduce a data-driven approach to calculate scalability requirements. As you consider commerce platforms and their supporting technical architecture, make sure you address these questions:

  1. What is the best hosting option for the platform and supporting platform integrations based on your current and future business needs?
  2. How will the platform’s performance be maintained as site traffic and order volumes increase?
  3. What disaster recovery and/or high availability options exist in the event of infrastructure failure?

When considering the hosting environment, the most common options include:


The advantages of cloud include its massive scalability and pre-configured or customizable environments that reduce hardware and management burdens for IT. Based on your business needs and budget, you can opt for a lower-cost public cloud, or choose a private cloud that ensures your networks are secure and compliant.


The benefit of this option is that you have complete control of the hardware, security, performance, and scale. However, this places the operational and fiscal responsibility for the eCommerce infrastructure on the shoulders of your IT team.


This environment provides the advantages of cloud and on-premises hosting – dedicated hardware to remain secure and compliant with the performance efficiencies of cloud. You can control critical systems and data in your on-premises environment while moving certain workloads, such as email or content delivery, to the cloud.
If you’re considering a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based commerce platform, the infrastructure is typically provided as part of the service. However, you should still ask the same questions to ensure that the platform will scale for your anticipated growth.
To learn more, download our latest guide – Best Practices for Choosing a Commerce Platform, Part 2 – where we explore the top three considerations for evaluating digital commerce platforms and illustrate how we’ve helped clients successfully launch their eCommerce re-platforming projects.

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Stephanie Gallina, Senior Manager, Microsoft + CXC Partner Marketing

Stephanie has more than 15 years' experience in marketing communications, leading and executing marketing strategies for corporate and non-profit organizations. She elevates the awareness of relevant digital solution topics and thought leadership for Perficient.

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