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Office doubles online sales with Akamai

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Office says it has doubled its online sales since adopting content delivery network Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator. The retailer has also reduced its hardware costs by 40% and is now basing its online business strategy, which has the goal of generating 10% of sales online by the end of 2009, on Akamai technology.

The Office website went live with Akamai in November 2008 and the results, says Paul Doeman, head of ecommerce at Office, were almost instantaneous. “We saw an immediate 20% increase in online orders once we went live with Akamai. This suggests that previously customers were, at certain times, leaving our website or were unable to complete a transaction, due to high traffic levels.”

“Akamai also helped us through the Christmas 2008 period, one of our busiest times of the year, with no performance issues or outages and with record transactions and visits to our website,” he added.

Office previously relied upon a UK internet service provider to host its website and, as a consequence, was limited to a fixed capacity to support it, even during periods of high customer traffic. In August 2008 the Office website had a major outage due to the volume of visitors responding to a promotional email the company had sent out.

“With this major outage we realised our current website hosting and service model was inhibiting our online business and decided to search for an alternative,” says Doeman. “We also wanted to avoid having to make direct purchases in infrastructure or equipment as we didn’t want to have to develop an expensive in-house cost centre to support this. So we decided to look at content delivery providers and other service-based options.”

Office worked with Foresite e-Business Solutions, the solutions provider that manages Office’s website and ecommerce infrastructure, to evaluate options and to choose Akamai.

“Akamai has allowed us to outsource almost the entire website acceleration and delivery package,” says Branwell Moffat, projects director at Foresite e-Business Solutions. “Akamai’s monitoring and management tools were vastly superior to the other providers we evaluated and provide us with meaningful information on website utilisation and enable us to effectively manage the Office website. In addition, Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator solution allows transactional data to be delivered in real-time to site visitors, something that’s particularly important for Office as it has a rich media website with content and pricing information updated on an hourly basis.”

Because more than 80% of all requests to the website are now served entirely from the Akamai network, Office has also been able to reduce the amount of servers, network infrastructure and bandwidth required to support its website and, as a consequence, has reduced these costs by 40%.

The company now plans to use Akamai as the cornerstone of its long-term online growth strategy. “With its global reach and managed website delivery services, Akamai is the perfect partner for Office as we start to push our brand and sales internationally online,”said Doeman. “We are particularly keen on the way that Akamai is helping many US footwear retailers with online sales kiosks in retail outlets, and we see this as also being part of our longer term strategy.”

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