Managing an eCommerce infrastructure during the pandemic—lessons learned and best practices
The coronavirus pandemic has had an incredible impact on the global economy. This is one of the aspects of the pandemic that has undeniably dominated public conversations around the world. We certainly can’t deny the fact that most businesses were hit hard. But this past year and a half has also been a time of remarkable change and opportunity for the eCommerce industry.
Mistakes were definitely made. Brick-and-mortar shops were faced with a number of challenges, including the decision to move their business online while choosing the right technologies to do so. You would imagine that existing eCommerce businesses had an easier time adapting to the new reality but this was not always the case as they had to handle an unusual increase in demand and traffic.
One thing is certain, though—we learned a lot over the past year and a half and came out of this situation wiser and stronger. This sentiment is what gave us the inspiration to share with you our thoughts and our experiences.
Without further ado, we are excited to present our latest publication, Managing eCommerce Infrastructures During the Pandemic—How the pandemic affected decision-making around eCommerce infrastructure.
In this paper, we discuss a number of topics, including how the pandemic changed the eCommerce landscape, decision-making on eCommerce infrastructure best practices, and more.
Let’s have a quick look at the key takeaways.
Digital adoption during the pandemic
The digital gap among European countries shrunk significantly during the pandemic with digital adoption jumping from 81% to 94%. European countries launched different initiatives to help small local businesses improve their websites or move their business online.
Some countries already had policies supporting digital adoption, others launched new programs from scratch during the pandemic to help firms move their business online, while others decided to focus on supporting brick-and-mortar businesses instead.
The increased traffic, the mistakes, and the lessons we learned
The data we collected from the Artifakt Platform showed a significant increase in traffic and demand over the second lockdown in France.
However, companies were not well-prepared for this surge in traffic and we had to act quickly to scale the infrastructure.
A lot of companies, not only were not prepared for this new reality, they were not even aware of the important role infrastructure plays in an eCommerce website. With nationwide lockdowns happening all over Europe, businesses were forced to make fast decisions and move their businesses online in a fraction of the time they would normally invest in such a project.
Given the urgency of the situation, a lot of companies did not prioritize their eCommerce infrastructure properly and did not allocate the necessary resources to build up or reinforce it. But when traffic started surging, this is when the real trouble began. In these cases we have observed three scenarios:
- The company has the budget and the knowledge to scale quickly and create a reliable infrastructure (or rely on a provider).
- The website is not able to meet the demand and part of the clientele is lost.
- The website is down, business as well, and the company is at high risk of losing its only revenue channel.
Based on these scenarios, we put together a list of best practices that can help eCommerce businesses avoid the same mistakes, and build scalable and resilient eCommerce platforms. Here’s a quick list:
- Invest in an architecture that is based on the right cloud hosting infrastructure and is able to scale up and down at any moment, following the needs of the business.
- Always have backup servers standing by and duplicate infrastructure services in multiple data centers and regions.
- Choose a cloud hosting provider that offers scalable and unlimited bandwidth.
- Avoid cheap servers and data centers, as well as shared infrastructures.
- Make sure all security components are correctly implemented on a website.
- Create a scalable, resilient, and secure website by proactively adjusting the quantitative components and implementing fail-safe mechanisms.
Get the full paper to learn more on how investing in the right infrastructure can save your business.
Yes, the pandemic caused a lot of setbacks for the industry, and mistakes were made. But we can safely say that the pandemic also drove that evolution in a very positive direction.
Will eCommerce disappear after the pandemic is over, though? We think not. Once the world goes back to normal, we are bound to see a decrease in online traffic and eCommerce demand. We strongly believe, however, that the online traffic is going to pick back up, shortly after countries and physical shops open up.
At this stage, these are only assumptions. But no matter what the next months or years bring, we will make sure to be prepared and serve the needs of the industry to the best of our ability!