DRIVEN: ECOMMERCE AT WORK.

26. Migrating to Magento Commerce Cloud, is it Complicated

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I had a chance to moderate a panel discussion this week with some interesting people in the B2B space. Hope you will learn too.

  • Ryan Van Hoozer, VP of Operations, Marysville Marine Distributors
  • Kenn Glenn, Marketing Director, Marysville Marine Distributors
  • Adrian Luna, Channel Leader, Webscale Networks
  • Devon Plopper, Sr. Account Executive, ShipperHQ
  • Gowtham Ram, Account Manager, DCKAP

Show Notes

  • What role a hosting environment play in an online store?
  • What does ShipperHQ do?
  • Where does ShipperHQ fit in the eCommerce ecosystem to drive conversions?
  • The experience of migrating from Magento 1 to 2.
  • Launching a website on large scale vs small size corporations.
  • How was the experience in launching a website through a 100% remote team?
  • Approaching the design of B2B vs B2C websites.
  • Shipping best practices.
  • Process of setting up ShipperHQ.
  • Why do you need to consider middleware implementation as a part of your core project?
  • Some common mistakes distributors make during the initial discovery or vendor selection process.
  • Is the holiday season sale going to be different this year?

TRANSCRIPT

  Download this Transcript.

* There is a chance that this transcript may have some errors. But, we’ve tried our best to keep it 99% accurate 😎

Shiva Kumaar: Hi, You’re listening to driven ecommerce at work, the podcast where we bring in conversations with the eCommerce experts to talk about their processes and lessons learned in creating an impact on their online business. And I’m your host, Shiva Kumaar, head of digital strategy at DCKAP.

Hey what’s up everybody welcome back to another episode of driven eCommerce network. Hope you all are staying safe and healthy during this tough time. And it’s really been hard, you know, to work from home. Earlier I use to work like 8 – 10 hours in the office. But I think since we’re working from home, sometimes it’s hard for me to manage that timings and other things. So I’m still trying to figure out and pull in some interesting guests, and while we’re doing that. I also had a chance to get onto a panel discussion for the esession that we conducted recently. So I’m just going to bring that recording for today’s episode. And so, we’re gonna put the video version of this episode and DCKAP YouTube channel, go check him out if you want. And I’m going to put that in the podcast description as well. So, let’s get on to the episode.

Shiva Kumaar: Thanks for the intro, Cathy. Thank you. Cool. It was great to see all those panelists and good that we have a great attendee list. So I hope that all the panelists are ready. We will start up with the introduction.

So as you all know I’m Shiva Kumaar.

And, so we’ve got five people over here on the panel today, starting from Ryan Van Hoozer, Vice President of Operations at Marysville Marine Distributors and Kenn Glenn, Marketing Director at Marysville Marine, And we’ve got Adrian Luna, Channel Leader at Webscale Networks, Devon Plopper, Senior Account Executive at ShipperHQ and my friend Gowtham Ram, Account Manager at DCKAP.

Cool. So, the first thing that we need for every eCommerce store is the hosting. So I’ll just go ahead and start off the session with Adrian. To make it more clear for someone who’s not familiar with the hosting and why it’s important, can you tell us about the role the hosting environment plays for an online storefront, Adrian?

Adrian Luna: Yes, I appreciate it. I wish that was the first thing that we talked about when in terms of building these things out. You know, so it’s a common question that we get, asking us how hosting or what hosting plays a part in what we’re doing and to see overall production and performance of the environment.

I think, in general terms right, you just want to think of hosting as the foundation for all of the beautiful work that someone like DCKAP performs in terms of development, design, and just the creation of an overall brand experience. I mean, if you listen to the passion in Ryan’s voice, as he talks about the months and months of hard work that went into developing this storefront.

And then, you know, eventually that’s all gonna have to live somewhere for ongoing production. You heard terms like site page load speed times, performance, security, you know, everything revolves around the customer, interacting with the brand. And what we found over the years is unfortunately a lot of times hosting decisions can be overlooked, right or sometimes made in haste with everything else that’s going on and honestly it’s not a very sensational conversation to have.

But it is a conversation that is absolutely mission critical to the ongoing success of the storefront, whether that is B2B or B2C. So, for us, I think over the last several years, public cloud technologies like AWS, like Google, Azure, they’ve been looked at more and more as like the most viable options for eCommerce storefronts and largely due to the fact that if built and managed correctly, these more modern environments are actually capable of handling the requirements of these modern sites and stores.

So, as buying habits change, as traffic to websites and online stores increases, just the need to architect a proper environment in that public cloud, it’s just been more and more apparent that it’s a conversation that needs to be had and part of that conversation is taking it into account expected traffic. Having an understanding of the application that the hosting environment is meant to support or the complexity of integrations. You listen around, talk about the different integrations into the storefront and what it’s expected to do.

And then taking all of that and using experience and supporting the application to be able to apply that proper performance and security measures to make sure that it’s solid and ready to go. So I think to recap all of that, these days hosting a storefront is no longer just about spinning up a server and keeping it online and making sure that you have somebody that’s just monitoring to make sure it’s online right?

You’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of the visitors to the site or the storefront. I mean, the online buyers are expecting your brand to have a fast, secure, and seamless experience as they’re navigating. So having a modern hyperscale hosting provider is going to ensure that the foundation can hold up and support, not just the site, but really the overall brand. So I guess that’s the best way to put it in a nutshell.

Shiva Kumaar: Okay. Devon, what exactly does ShipperHQ do? Can you please give us some intro about what the ShipperHQ is all about?

Devon Plopper: For sure. Yeah. As Ryan kind of mentioned, there’s so many different things in the specifically, even just the shipping ecosystem.

So ShipperHQ, we’re shipping software, but we are just in the cart and checkout experience. So what we’re doing is we’re really curating and managing the methods and the rates that are shown in the cart to the customer based on a wide variety of parameters, like what Ryan had mentioned, different things like where are they ordering items from, what’s the closest warehouse to them, are they eligible for free promotions, kind of where there’s any complexity like that, that’s where we fit in. So we’re helping people like Ryan, really show customers exactly what you want them to see.

Shiva Kumaar: Good. So can you talk a little bit more, I mean, where does ShipperHQ fit in the eCommerce ecosystem to drive conversions?

Devon Plopper: Yeah. There’s so many different things that we do to really help drive conversions. I think Ryan hit on a couple of really key ones. Delivery dates are huge right now. I mean, people really want to see transparency in the cart and checkout.

I think, you know, choosing what carriers that you wish to display is something that is really coming in when people are reevaluating their shipping strategy too. Ryan had said they were using UPS and once they realized they could show shipping delivery dates and it was much easier for them to say this is a better option for us because they’re going to help us fulfill what we want to do now.

I think it’s something that’s really important to think about. There’s still a lot of eCommerce companies that just want to show ground shipping. But I think people are really a lot more educated about what services they like. They have an affinity for FedEx versus UPS, or maybe they are fine getting something ships, USPS and allowing people to choose what’s going to work best for them helps people just be done and check out faster. Another thing really was setting expectations, offering in store pickup has been huge. ShipperHQ, especially post pandemic has helped a ton of eCommerce customers come online with store pickup because that was something that was kind of like a nice to have and now it’s really a need to have.

Shiva Kumaar: Cool. So Ryan, it was a nice presentation. And how has migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 cloud been so far?

Ryan: It’s been pretty good, better than expected. As I’ve mentioned in my presentation, we’ve been through this type of transition previously. It is not a smooth thing or it can be a pretty rocky transition.
There’s a lot of moving parts and having capable partners is and communicating well, as I mentioned in the presentation is just so important for the project to go smoothly. We turned the sites on, on a Saturday morning and didn’t miss a beat. We started collecting orders right away and the volume, traffic and orders was almost exactly what we were receiving the week prior. So, it was a pretty seamless transition. Obviously there have been hiccups, but from the customer standpoint, I think it’s been really smooth. I don’t think that there’s been much interruption in service at all on the backend side.

There’ve been some of those things as what I’ve mentioned, where we’ve had to kind of scramble and address issues that we’ve created for ourselves, but again, nothing catastrophic. And that really goes back to, did you plan well, did you communicate well, did you define the scope in detail, so that you didn’t run into a lot of surprises when you come to the launch time.

Shiva Kumaar: So, Gowtham, can you tell us about your experience in migrating both the sides from M1 to M2 cloud? Was that easy or was that hard?

Gowtham Ram: Definitely. Sure. So I think every website migration is different in its own way. So do, as DCKAP, we have ample amount of experience in migrating websites from different platforms or from M1, our meetings will have its own challenges, but I think our working with Ryan and Kenn made things really simple for us.

As Ryan said that the communication was great from both ends and Ryan clearly knew what was needed and made that meeting pretty comfortable for us in the first place. I think we started off with a detailed business requirement document that helped draft the blueprint for this project.

And also, the team, they did a detailed study of the document and they ensured that there were no surprises at the last moment and we knew what was needed. And that was part of the plan throughout the project. And also, for UI/UX, Kenn played a major role. He helped us with the layouts and few mock ups that helped our UI/UX team or, you know, or draft a plan for the mockups and layout.

So I think these expertise that Marysville team brought in, that was really great. That just took a lot of burden from our shoulders. And also, they trusted us a lot. And whenever we came up with any solutions, they trusted us and they were ready to take up the solution and go ahead. And even when we had last moment challenges and we had to customize things or make few changes, they understood that.

And, that helped us to come to a conclusion and make things move. So I think overall it was a great experience working with them, and I hope that we have a long term relationship going with them in the upcoming years.
Shiva Kumaar: So that’s the first part. Can you talk a little bit about the complex part? So how complex was that or did you find anything complex when it comes to the customizations on this project?

Gowtham Ram: Yeah, sure. So I think other than many things that are kind of complex, but I know due to the time concern, I think I would pick one in terms of shipping or choosing or the warehouses.

So there had to be a complex logic where, as Ryan said they have around five warehouses. So right now what happens is when a customer places an order, we had to, you know, an algorithm had to run across and check from where the particular from, which is the closest warehouse, we’ll have to check if that particular warehouse has all of the orders of the stock in the first place.

And if that did not work or what had to be done is to check for the next warehouse which has all of these stocks. So this had to be done. And in case, you know, all warehouses don’t have all of the items, then you’ll have to take a warehouse, the closest warehouse, whichever product is available, the number of quantities, speed up and then move onto the next one.

Pick up what is over there and go to the third one, you know, make up the final list. And also adding to that in case a product is not available at all, it had to be added in the back order list. So this is one complex thing that we had to work on. And there are a few more things that are yet to work, which we are planning to post go live.

So I think even ShipperHQ played a role in this, helping us pass on all the details to them, to fetch the pricing for them. So I think this was one complex. Warehouse management was one thing that we were able to handle for them, Shiva.

Shiva Kumaar: So Kenn, from your xperience, what’s the takeaway in launching a website at a large corporation versus a small to midsize corporation.

Kenn Glenn: Yeah. So the main difference when we launched this website for Marysville Marine versus some of my experience with the larger corporations is that a larger corporation kind of has too many cooks in the kitchen. You’re talking to a lot of executives and middle management and everyone is trying to put that together, what they think they need or what they would want for the website.

And with Marysville Marine, Ryan, as he’s detailed, had a very clear vision of what he wanted, and what he needed this website to do and how he needed it to perform. So, that is one of the biggest differences in knowing exactly what we want, what we need for the website.

So, like I said, my experience in the bigger corporations, it was just, a lot of people internalize what they think they need for us. Ryan went through and said, okay, this is exactly what we need on the back end. This is what the business needs. And then we really came together and said, what do the customers need?

So we really had a good focus on the customer and that’s something I think I’ve had a lot of experience in, when in terms of having a bigger corporation developing the website, it’s more internalizing what the business needs. We did a really good job of balancing both. And then, like I said, we did a really good job of saying who really needs to be involved in this project from the Marysville Marine side.

So, you know, we had just Ryan heading the project, our IT department and then myself or the UI/UX and design aspects of it. But we didn’t bring everyone else in until Ryan said at the end, when we were doing testing, when we started getting it out to our other departments and having them take a look at it.

So it’s really more streamlined on the smaller side and I would recommend anyone should do it that way versus on the larger side where it was just kind of maybe too collaborative.

Shiva Kumaar: So Gowtham. How has launching websites from home been, is that good? You see for you for the first time?

Gowtham Ram: Yeah, I think it’s been different, definitely because you know, launching a website back at office used to be really different. We all come on a bit early in the morning. We have the entire team in the conference room, booked the conference room for the entire day, the snack comes in, the lunch comes in and sometimes even the dinner comes in if launch is not really great and if you have some pending issues.

So, we have everyone from the development, the SEO, the QA, the networking team, everyone over there, looking at the large monitor, seeing how things are going on as everything’s more than everything. So that’s the way, you know, we have been launching websites so far, and after we started working from home, this was one major thing that kept on running in the back of our minds.

Like how are we going to launch websites? Because it needs all of our all expertise from all teams to be there at the same place to just make sure everything is smooth. So I think, yeah, that was a big challenge, but yeah, I think, we started getting adapted to the zoom calls and everything.

We are on the bridge all the time, making sure everyone is available, if there’s any issue, just let them know and immediately join. And sometimes even the client jumps on the call, if they see an issue and we were able to resolve it as soon as possible. So yeah, we do miss those times where we used to all be together and launch a website and celebrate the success. But yeah, this is a kind of a new area we are getting accustomed to and hope things turn back how it was earlier.

Shiva Kumaar: Good. So Kenn, what information did you use to redesign your site?

Kenn Glenn: I mean, we used a whole lot of research and we looked at a lot of other websites within our industry. We looked at a lot of other websites that are specialty websites, we specialize in boat parts and things like that.

So we started looking just, it didn’t have to be boating, but we looked at like guitar center. They specialize in a lot of guitars and things like that. So we wanted to see how they were presenting that information and those products to their customers. So we did a lot of research and started thinking outside of the box.

And then we honestly did a lot of heat map testing on our current website like I said before, from coming from a big organization, everyone can argue for why something might need to have a space on the website. But with no data, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a gut argument.

So we wanted to go in with as much data as we could. So we took our old website and just ran some heat map, testing, click testing, and things like that. And we really found out a lot of the things that we had on our homepage, our customers didn’t really care about. They really wanted to go to the search, and the menu bar needed to be clear. So we took a lot of that data to inform our mockups and our wireframes and just kind of went from there.

Shiva Kumaar: Cool. And can you tell us a little bit about approaching the design of your B2B side versus the one for the B2C side.

Kenn Glenn: Yeah. So, that was something that we had a lot of conversations about internally. At the end of the day, a customer is a customer. They’re going to behave the same way. They want the same things and they want to have a very similar experience, a very prototypical experience across all devices or any website. It doesn’t matter if they’re buying something on Amazon or buying something special on our website or buying something on guitar center or anything like that.

So we needed to figure out. The feature set. What was the most important to those two customers, but keep the experience very similar. So on the Marysville Marine side, on the B2B, it was important for those customers to be able to buy in bulk, have bigger carts, and have a lot of admin access and tools to be able to edit their admin features because they might have someone else from their department come in and buy something for one time and then they might need to add that access.

So it was basically a feature set and on the various, for the B2C side, the Marine Parts Source website, it just needed to be a clear cut eCommerce website, very standard and we just needed to make sure that the product was easy to find and easy to purchase.

Shiva Kumaar: So, Devon it’s a modern era of eCommerce where we all learn from Amazon the same-day delivery, honestly. I mean, if you really look at it, the past two or three years shipping has changed a lot, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a small or large scale eCommerce brand. I think everyone is focused towards creating a great customer journey. So what are some of the non-shipping best practices that we can implement right now to stay ahead of the competition.

Devon Plopper: Yeah. It sounds like a lot of the things that we would recommend is we know what Marysville Marine was doing and really taking the time when you’re reevaluating your shipping strategy to think about what carriers you’re using, we’re integrated with 40 plus carriers.

So we connect directly to your carrier accounts, to display negotiated rates and that’s how we pull in information like estimated delivery days to be able to show what is available. And then I think deciding whether a date and time being able to show the estimated timing, transitive delivery date is something that’s going to work for you.

Like Ryan had mentioned, sometimes it’s a little tricky to launch in the first place because there’s a lot of other people involved in the whole process, like FedEx delivery drivers and your operations manager, how is that going to affect everybody? So really considering that I would say a best practice we really recommend for people launching that, is adding an extra lead day to make sure that you’re setting the right expectations. And if you exceed them great, you can remove that once you feel like you really have your processes down.

I think, having strategic free shipping with ShipperHQ, you can set free shipping promotions on specific products and it doesn’t require any promo codes. It’s just something that’s set and it can also turn on and off. So, yeah. Things like that are just running behind the scenes that really eliminate extra steps in the checkout and showing people the transparency, Marysville Marine is using the local pickup. I feel like that’s a huge differentiator in terms of the new kind of equal commerce space.

And I think the last thing is really making sure that when you are designing your shipping strategy, you’re not just thinking broadly. Maybe if you’re only shipping domestic, you really want to hone in what options do I want to show the East coast versus the West coast. You want to have different options for your international customers. There’s a lot of ways where you can really tighten that up and hone in and make it easier for people to see the options that are going to be the best for them.

Shiva Kumaar: So coming back to ShipperHQ, what does the process look like to set up ShipperHQ and how often do you need to monitor the back end logic?

Devon Plopper: Yeah. So setting up ShipperHQ, I think like Marysville Marine had mentioned, over communicating is really important. With ShipperHQ, we work with really tiny customers all the way up to huge enterprise customers and everything in between. So we have a lot of different options available.

We have some people that will kind of DIY their set up if they have really simple requirements. But I think one of the best services that we offer is we’re a really small team. We have some really dedicated account executives like myself and a couple other people where we can actually schedule time to talk through your entire scope of work and build it out for you.

So it’s very similar to the kind of the process you guys were describing about over communicating what you need accomplished building out a scope of work, talking about that, bringing in people that like the operations manager and when you’re discussing it to make sure that everything’s working end to end.

And once we have that scope of work built out, it’s typically around a seven to nine day business day turnaround. So it’s really quick once you know what you need to get done for us implemented on the backend. We’re often kind of the last step in getting people’s eCommerce sites launched, but yeah, it’s something people should be thinking about much earlier in the process, if they can.

Shiva Kumaar: Okay, so Gowtham, talking about shipping, I think, up until a couple of years ago, integration was just considered as an add on or extension and not a must to have solution, right? So things are changing and integrating all of the applications like eCommerce, ERP or shipping has been becoming part of the core project right now, I mean, especially in 2019 and 2020, I would say. So can you tell us a little bit about Cloras and what crucial role that Cloras played in integrating Magento 2 with the Prophet 21.

Gowtham Ram: Definitely Shiva. So as Ryan pointed out, Cloras played a crucial or even a critical role right from the PCL spot.

So Cloras was the differentiator that helped us win this project. So that shows how important Cloras is in terms of our integration. And when it comes to what implementation we have done, Marysville uses almost 11 services of Cloras. So right from a customer creation or product updates or inventory updates, creating orders or processing orders or dynamic pricing, offline orders, just to name a few are things that we use Cloras for. So Cloras basically ensures you could have unique and complex logics that are written for the data that’s being synchronized between P21 and Magento. So it just doesn’t pull data and put it over there if you need to be validated or any value to be added or to be filtered, everything can be done using Cloras modifiers over there.
And also, you could also closely monitor if the data is sinking correctly or if there’s any success or failure in terms of the sync and in case there’s any sync failure, or you really need not wait for a Cloras developer to come and let you know what that is. You can just open up the logs and see what the issue is that it clearly highlights what’s wrong with Cloras.

And even if there’s success, you could also see what data’s success is synchronized and what data is not coming. So that’s something great about Cloras. And also, again, as in the presentation, what was mentioned, the mapping is really simple, so you really don’t need to know any coding or anything for mapping.

You can just drag items from Magento, drag items of P21 and just map them. It’s as simple as that. So this ease of use that Cloras has really makes it a big differentiator that helped us, no matter what complex logics or customizations we had to do in terms of Magento that was easily handled in Cloras and it was those data were pushed into P21. So yeah, that’s, I think, really made a big difference in this entire project, Shiva.

Shiva Kumaar: So, Ryan I’m sure this project was one of the finest launches you’ve had in 2020, I’m pretty sure for us as well. I mean, especially during this pandemic situation.

So how did you approach this project during the vendor selection process, adding some of the points from your presentation, I think you talked about communication, certification integration and similar customer stories, right? But it’s an era of hundreds and thousands of eCommerce experts and agencies.

So, where do you think distributors are making mistakes during the initial discovery process or what kind of things they can be aware of during the initial stage?

Ryan: Well, probably one of the biggest hurdles I would assume is just where do you start? There’s a lot of options out there right. And so we tried. I mean, for us, I think that we were able to narrow it down pretty quickly because we had such a specific set of needs that we wanted to address. We looked at all the platforms to figure out which eCommerce platform was the right fit for us. And it was a fairly easy decision to identify that Magento was gonna fit best just because of the fact that we have multiple locations, multiple sites, so forth, but it may not be as easy for somebody else who maybe doesn’t have that complexity.

And I did a lot of reading of articles and whites papers and that sort of thing online, just to see, to educate myself about what’s out there, what are the right fits for us. And then, like I said, once we had a pretty good grasp on that, the fact that we were going to use Magento, we went to Magento and said, tell us, who would you recommend?

And the big factor in helping to narrow down the developer partner was we wanted to integrate with our ERP system, which is Prophet 21. It’s a distributor program at its heart that narrowed the playing field quite a bit. And again, we wanted to try and minimize the number of developers involved in the project.

If we could find one that could do the entire thing both the front end and the integration part that was ideal. And there were very few out there that we found that could accomplish that. So, that’s what led us to DCKAP was Magento’s recommendation. And, again, we looked at the Cloras piece and really found that was attractive.

So what mistakes are people making? I mean, probably every mistake that you can think of but, it’s just I think you got to examine what are your needs, what are your customer’s needs? And that’s going to be unique to each situation, and then you need to try and just the software and the developer with who you think can best make those needs happen.

Shiva Kumaar: Good. Thanks Ryan. So before jumping onto one final question for Adrian, I’m going to pick the Q&A from Susie. So I’ll let either Gowtham or Adrian take over this question if you want. So the question is what are hosting options for customers who haven’t migrated to Magento 2 yet? How are you keeping clients safe who are ready to go more or to move off from a gentle one?

Adrian Luna: Yeah, I can actually take that one if you’re okay with it Gowtham. That’s been a huge topic over the past several months, obviously Marysville had planned accordingly ahead of time, but yeah and we’ve seen a lot of storefronts run into this issue. Some of it was just pandemic related, COVID related, right?

Just normal processes in their business were delayed. And some of that led into development actually moving beyond that June 30 mark. So we’re still talking to brands that are in the situation right now. So now that we are post end of life, obviously there’s no longer any patches being developed or anything like that. So, in terms of easy stuff, the ongoing security patches, Webscale specifically is working with experts to continue to provide those patches and even at a faster rate than what were traditionally available before PCI compliance support has been incredibly huge.

Being able to manage the check boxes for making sure that you’re doing your part and the hosting provider is doing their part for compensating controls has been a really big topic of conversation for us. And then in addition to that we’re doing a lot of this through deploying a programmable web application firewall, through content security policy measures to prevent against any type of cross site scripting attacks, intrusion, this detection capabilities, and then your typical black listing and white listing capabilities, all really in an effort to go above and beyond what just a patch provider may be offering, just because nowadays I think it’s even more important than ever to have a secure storefront with considering the bad guys are getting better at what they do.

And I think one of the biggest keys to our success for M1 support has been not necessarily intending to keep them muddy on it for a long period of time, but just to provide that extra runway while they’re working on a project like this, knowing that.

As Ryan said, you can plan for a certain date, but very often, and it’s going to continue to go beyond that date. So you need to stay. And I think, again one of the things that put us out above and beyond in terms of M1 support is our ability to actually deploy the support over the environment where it is now.

You’ve heard it a few times here that migration is not exactly a fun process and you don’t want to have to do it twice. So that’s the other thing is, you know, we hadn’t forced anybody to migrate over to another environment with their current store, knowing that you’re going to have to do it again when you launch your M2 store.

So it’s been a big point of emphasis for us to be able to work with deploying these things across the front of an existing environment, what we call M1 on-prem support. So, yeah, and, it’s been a large success for us this month or this year and that’s actually right.

We had put the offer up initially before we jumped on the panel, just because we are still seeing those brands that need that help.

Shiva Kumaar: Good. Thanks Adrian. So one of the things that we’re seeing right now is traffic, it doesn’t matter, you’re running an eCommerce store or you’re an agency.

I think traffic is doing good, especially during the situation. So one, one thing that we personally hear is, I think for one of the agencies, I got a traffic double-down compared to last year’s Black Friday or Thanksgiving sale. So, how do you expect the upcoming holiday season, the Black Friday, to be different during this COVID situation?

Adrian Luna: 2020 is the year of the unexpected. So I think we can expect the unexpected. Yes. It’s going to be unique. It goes without saying I don’t want to make light of the situation. And the current pandemic has had a huge effect on the way that people interact with retailers, normal day to day buying process, even B2B suppliers.

And it’s been important for us with Webscale’s ability to monitor traffic in real time and also make that available for our clients through our interactive client portal. We’ve actually seen, I’ve seen a lot of clients have holiday type, Black Friday type events in May or June. There’s just a lot of customers already this summer that have flocked to websites as opposed to brick and mortar retail.

So, interestingly also, a lot of the big box retailers have already said that they’re not going to open their doors and they’re pushing all of their interactions with their brand, with their customers online. So this is only going to exponentially increase as the holiday shopping season gets ramped up and I think this was a trend.
I know this was the trend that we were already seeing, right? In the current situation, it’s just acted as an accelerant to get more people interacting with digital brands or interacting with more of a digital experience, and unfortunately, like I had mentioned and then the first question that went my way was a lot of times it’s an afterthought, right?

Clients will come to us after a site fails, due to a traffic spike or after they were targeted with some sort of sophisticated security attack. And of course we’ll handle those cases as we come, but I’m sure, everyone on the panel agrees that we’re here to communicate the importance of taking those precautions before any sort of increased traffic spike becomes a problem.

So, for us and specifically that means load testing. That means security audits to make sure that the production environment can actually handle the traffic spikes as well as any security tax beforehand, right? So it’s simulating traffic putting it over to the site and saying, Hey, you can, your threshold is about this much.

And looking at the way your site has performed in the traffic to the site over the past 12 months or so, we’re even measured up against last year’s holiday season, you can expect about this much traffic and here’s the threshold of what you can handle before you start seeing degradation and performance.

So yeah, it’s like I talked about in the very beginning, it’s gotta be more than just fitting up a server. It’s about working with you and planning for your brand experience planning for what you’re expecting for the holiday season, I know a lot of people for eCommerce and specifically this holiday or any holiday season really can make or break your year. So investing time in advance to plan and accordingly is absolutely worth the while. I think the last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of marketing budget and pushing a campaign out and having that campaign be a success or having some unexpected viral event that turn into a huge success in driving traffic to your storefront.

And when you need it to be online most, when you need it to be performing at a high level most, if it fails, I think that’s just a tremendous loss and an immediate opportunity. And also we’ll get to the brand. So again, I can’t say it enough, right? Just planning, planning, planning, and continued planning.

Shiva Kumaar: Cool. Perfect. Adrian. Thanks everyone. Panelists, good talking to you. And I had great fun. Thank you so much.

Adrian Luna: Appreciate you guys. Thank you.

Shiva Kumaar: Thank you so much for watching and listening to this episode of driven eCommerce at work podcast. This show is brought to you by DCKAP. The company well known for its e-commerce products suits for b2b distributors. To learn more, visit dckap.com. That’s www.dckap.com. Make sure you subscribe to Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, or wherever you’re listening.

Catch guys very soon with another interesting episode. Until next time. See you.

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