Episode #11 of the Tiny Graphics Advent Calendar, published by Marius Popescu for De Amicis.
Do you know that in Japan there are vending machines for ice creams, underwear, and even umbrellas?
What could be more local than a vending machine? Apart from the lack of human contact, that seems like a very progressive solution, one which goes from huge malls to town shops and to street corner vending machines.
I’m not at all into the e-commerce business, apart from ordering from time to time online (especially at this time of the year). I recently tried to understand why some solutions are better than others. The technology is always fascinating, but is there the right place to look for one product’s main advantage?
Take for example the online shops costs, and the first one that comes to mind is the servers and hosting related costs.
How many servers should you have for your online shop
I guess it depends on what you’re selling and to whom. To sell ski material in July you won’t need more than the smallest power. But then comes autumn, and special offers, and Black Fridays. And then you will need much more horsepower to help you serve your customers.
Let’s take another example, a champagne online shop. Your champagne online shop definitely needs more servers before Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s day. Oh, and also before marriage “seasons”. Ok, you may need more than the basic servers more than once or twice a year.
If you look at the total cost of ownership for an online store, you can make many calculations. However, you can be sure you’ll not be able to estimate the right costs in advance, for any year.
Provide an infrastructure that adapts all year long, as your customer’s business does
More customers, more capacity. Fewer customers, less servers. A solution synchronized with the actual needs of your company.
Instead of these explanations, we could show the value of our products with the graphic above, by adding more details. Take a year to see all four seasons. Draw a curve looking just like the traffic highs and lows through the days and months, but draw your site’s traffic.
Now calculate how many customers a fixed infrastructure would be able to serve. Peaks would pass over your servers at Christmas and other big events. In the summer your server would sometimes be alone, no visitors in view.
How about doubling the servers, to be sure they handle all the peaks in a year? That looks better. However, you have long periods of time when most of the servers are not used. And that costs money because you are not selling enough.
To summarize, the main advantage of this type of infrastructure is to provide your online shop with as much capacity as needed to serve as many customers as you get in the store, even during peak times. This seems a performant and cost-effective solution, isn’t it?
Some online shops can adapt so much to your device, you can even install them like any other mobile app. Though the technology is called PWA (for Progressive Web Apps), I like to call it progressive webshop. Keep handy those champagne apps, winter is coming.
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