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Akamai helps Urban Outfitters support 50% increase in site traffic, reduce response time to under one second, and increase quarterly direct-to-consumer revenues by 35%
Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an innovative specialty retailer and wholesaler offering a variety of lifestyle merchandise through three brands – Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. In addition to its retail stores, the company promotes its products and brands directly to the consumer through its e- commerce websites and catalogs. Urban Outfitters has achieved compounded annual sales growth of approximately 29% over the past five years, with sales of approximately $1.2 billion in fiscal 2007.
As a leading multi-channel retailer in a highly competitive market, Urban Outfitters understands how website aesthetics and features play a critical role in ensuring a satisfactory shopper experience that encourages store visits and purchases. Constantly incorporating new technologies that help keep its websites fresh and engaging, the company planned to launch redesigned websites for its three brands on a new web platform. Knowing that high web performance and availability would be critical to the success of its re-launch, Urban Outfitters turned to a trusted partner – Akamai.
Urban Outfitters needed to meet four key requirements to support its brand and objectives:
Seamlessly Handle Traffic Surges: As a retailer earning the majority of revenues during the back-to-school and holiday seasons, Urban Outfitters needs its sites to scale to handle any amount of Internet traffic.
Ensure Optimal Customer Web Experience: The company wants to make sure that its customers enjoy a superior online shopping experience, regardless of their location.
Protect Brand Image: Well aware that its websites are an extension of its brands, Urban Outfitters wants to deliver rich, engaging websites without fail.
Sub One Second Response Time on Home and Gateway Pages: To satisfy its target demographic of consumers, it needs to keep web page response times as fast as possible.
Supporting Peak Season Traffic
Urban Outfitters’ brand sites are heavily trafficked by consumers from all around the globe. While the company serves an average of 120-130 million page views monthly across all brands, that number spikes to 200 million per month during the back-to-school and holiday seasons. “With Akamai, we supported a 40% increase in monthly page views while decreasing front-end bandwidth utilization by over 30%,” explains Keary McNew, Manager of IT Engineering for Urban Outfitters, Inc. Betancur strongly believes that enterprises need to reconsider the traditional approach of buying more software and web servers to support growing web traffic. “Akamai allows us to pay an amount for content delivery that is equal to the amount of traffic across our sites. In essence, I can allocate costs back to the various Redcats USA’s brands based on site popularity or sales,” says Betancur.
Delivering a Fast and Consistent Site
As Urban Outfitters planned the re-launch of its sites, it knew that optimal performance was a must, especially for interactive features such as checking inventory and adding merchandise to a shopping cart. “Today’s consumers expect websites to perform quickly and without fail. This is especially true of our Urban Outfitters’ site, where we are catering to the younger generation who expect a seamless online experience,” says McNew.
Prior to implementing Dynamic Site Accelerator, highly trafficked pages – such as the home page and gateway pages that serve as the landing page for products – were not being delivered as quickly as the company wanted. “Our goal is to deliver those key pages in less than one second but we weren’t able to do that. As soon as we put Dynamic Site Accelerator in place, we achieved our goal,” continues McNew.
Promoting Brand Loyalty
Urban Outfitters views its websites as a logical extension of its businesses and brands. Putting Akamai in place enables the company to ensure the web performance needed to support the rich and interactive applications that promote that concept. “Our relationship with Akamai is very strategic, allowing us to focus on our core business and ways to build customer loyalty and generate higher revenues. In the past, if any of our brands had asked for a rich and dynamic web feature in order to encourage a personal and engaging connection with our customers, we would have worried about performance. Now we can be confident that our content and applications will be delivered quickly and without fail,” concludes McNew.
About Urban Outfitters, Inc.
Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an innovative specialty retailer and wholesaler which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise to highly defined customer niches through 111 Urban Retail stores in the United States, Canada, and Europe, two Urban Outfitters websites and an Urban catalog; 96 Anthropologie retail stores; an Anthropologie website and catalog, and Free People, the Company’s wholesale division, which sells its product to approximately 1,500 specialty stores, department stores and catalogs, as well as through 11 Free People stores, a web site and catalog. For more information, visit www.urbanoutfittersinc.com.