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IREU Merchandising Report 2019

IREU Merchandising Report 2019

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Company Spotlight: Fastly

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What does your company do and what is your USP?

Fastly helps good companies do great things online. Chances are, you use Fastly’s technology daily. If you read the Guardian, BuzzFeed, or the New York Times, listen to Spotify, shop online at Boots, Reiss and La Redoute, order from Deliveroo, book travel on KAYAK or Airbnb, use GitHub and New Relic for work, or use Pinterest – Fastly is making it possible. The company is the lifeblood of these rich online experiences, sat in the background ensuring that the most popular destinations online are consistently fast, secure, and scalable.


In today’s internet climate, users demand a secure, fast and dependable online experience. By allowing developers to build better, more scalable applications on top of its platform, Fastly enables effortless innovation and reduced infrastructure costs, and is ideal for handling today’s massive, distributed attacks — proactively blocking threats at the edge where they meet users.


How do you deliver on this USP?

Fastly was born out of frustrations with legacy cloud infrastructure and content delivery network (CDN) providers. Essentially, a CDN moves content nearer to consumers – or caches it – to take strain off a company’s main servers. Traditional CDNs were born in the early days of the web and could only cache static content such as images: content that didn’t change over time.


What we did was allow our customers to cache dynamic content as well – content that changes because of the environment whether that’s what the latest news is, what’s in stock at an ecommerce site, a live match report that changes rapidly but unpredictably or even personalised content served up for the user.


We are able to increase our customers’ conversion rates by delivering image-rich, pixel perfect experiences, quickly and reliably, across web and mobile platforms. We improve the speed and scalability of our customers’ sites and apps so they update and serve content in real time, ensuring end users have a fast experience, all the time, no matter where in the world they are.


Fastly is highly programmable which enables our customers’ ecommerce, mobile and security development teams to focus their resources on what matters most by freeing them from manual processes. Lastly, we ensure our customers can build trust with their customers by securing their data without sacrificing performance and protecting against common security threats.


What are the main challenges for retailers that you are helping to solve?

Sites are expected to be responsive and fast in order to succeed. For retail customers, if it’s fast you’ll look at lots of products. If it’s slow you will get frustrated and abandon your cart.


Secondly, there is security. This covers everything from needing a firewall to distributed denial of service attacks, where a massive amount of traffic comes at your site so that servers are overloaded. During peak season retailers also experience surges in traffic so it can be hard to differentiate between good and bad traffic.


The old approach was simply to blacklist suspicious traffic, but if you can’t separate between this good and bad traffic then you may be blacklisting the wrong traffic.


We use intelligence and analysis to make this distinction so you can continue supporting the good traffic.


Which retailers do you work with?

It is a mix between traditional retailers and platforms that people build on. Boots was a fairly early customer in the UK. In Europe, we have the likes of La Redoute and Daniel Wellington. We also work with Wayfair, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. As well as traditional retailers we have online players like the Dollar Shave Club and Etsy. We also work with Shopify and Magento Cloud.


What are your plans for the next five years?

We’re adding more features around integration with third parties and compliance with rules such as GDPR. We are also exploring security and edge computing.


There are other initiatives including increasing visibility and observability. Basically anything that helps us with our mission to help the world’s largest sites but also those that aspire to be.


Give us your one-sentence elevator pitch.

For internet retailers we secure and protect them, help them grow and save them money – all while making the experience better for users.

 

 

Case study: Deliveroo

Customers all across the world rely on Deliveroo to find and order great food from their favourite restaurants. In a given area, there may be as many as 300 restaurants to choose from, and it’s critical that Deliveroo not only provides these choices quickly but also has the power to swiftly and securely move customers through the ordering process.


Deliveroo needed to create redundancy to prepare for major spikes in demand as a result of restaurant promotions, or peak dining hours, but didn’t want to maintain servers that would mostly sit idle. Fastly empowers Deliveroo to scale when necessary while also giving them the ability to tailor their CDN configuration based on what they needed — such as setting up custom headers to migrate their restaurant order managers from their previous setup.


The app’s global user base is growing significantly, and they wanted the ability to meet demand no matter where requests originate. With Fastly, they’re able to provide consistently fast experiences across the world.


Security was also important. Deliveroo handles personal information — such as customer names, emails, and addresses — to ensure smooth online ordering and delivery and needs to protect their customers’ privacy. With Fastly, Deliveroo can terminate Transport Layer Security (TLS) at the edge of the network, ensuring fast and secure dining experiences.


With Fastly’s CDN, Deliveroo can create and deploy its own custom configurations. When Deliveroo was just getting started with Fastly, they found it easy to engage with support, who got them up and running quickly.


Deliveroo found that Fastly’s CDN resulted in a 7% improvement in global load time (and in some areas as much as 50%), translating to a 1% increase in site conversion.


“Fastly has worked out great; being able to manage our own configuration plus having the support we needed to get going was amazing. The Fastly support team got us up and running quickly, building us custom configurations to make for a smooth and painless migration,” says Martin Phee, senior software engineer at Deliveroo.

 

This Company Spotlight was produced by InternetRetailing and sponsored by Fastly. Funding articles in this way allows us to explore topics and present relevant services and information that we believe our readers will find of interest.

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