HauteLook

Akamai Web Performance Solutions supports 200% growth in HauteLook member base and 400% revenue boost

"Akamai has supported us through our amazing growth surge, enabling us to continue delivering a great member experience every day.”

Kevin Diamond , Chief Technology Officer , HauteLook

The Situation

HauteLook, a premier members-only site, offers private, limited-time sale events on the world’s top brands for women’s and men’s fashion, accessories, beauty, kids, home and travel. Each day, HauteLook offers discounts of 50-75% to millions of members in the U.S. and Canada. In the last three years, over 1,400 high profile brands have chosen HauteLook to host more than 3,500 private events on the site chosen by People Magazine as “one of the top 15 ways to save money.” With no bricks-and-mortar presence, HauteLook empowers consumers in the U.S. and Canada to shop simultaneously in a unique sample- sale format.

The Challenge

Each morning, HauteLook sends an email invitation to its members about the newest, most exclusive sale events. Due to the high quality of the products offered and HauteLook’s large member base, it is not unusual for the HauteLook site to be inundated within minutes of the email being sent out. Combined with the fact that every page on the site is dynamically generated, the traffic surges were putting tremendous strain on the retailer’s servers hosted in Los Angeles. “In order to satisfy member expectations for an outstanding online shopping experience, we needed to deliver dynamic content without fail to all site visitors,” explains Kevin Diamond, Chief Technology Officer for HauteLook.

The Goal

HauteLook needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:

  • Scale instantly: As a rapidly growing startup, HauteLook needed to support peak Internet traffic with ease.
  • Deliver high levels of website performance: The retailer wanted to ensure its dynamic web content was delivered quickly to all shoppers.
  • Reduce infrastructure requirements: Because it would be cost- prohibitive to build out data centers in multiple cities, HauteLook wanted a web performance solution that enabled it to limit infrastructure expenses.

Why Akamai

The Right Partner with the Right Solution

The dynamic nature of HauteLook’s site warranted a solution that combined caching with dynamic acceleration to ensure that product availability and rapidly changing content would be delivered to site visitors quickly. HauteLook debated building out data centers and employing in-house caching measures, but decided Akamai Web Performance Solutions were the best option. Considering what it had spent to deploy one data center, the retailer knew it would require a tremendous investment to expand its presence. It also realized that static caching alone wouldn't solve its issues. “None of Akamai’s competitors offers a solution that comes close. We felt Akamai’s expansive infrastructure and advanced technologies were the right choice at the right time,” says Diamond.

Why Akamai

Handling Traffic Surges with Ease

The Akamai content delivery network (CDN) acts as a shock absorber for flash crowds and daily traffic spikes, allowing HauteLook’s existing infrastructure to scale on demand to support surges in traffic. According to Diamond, at peak times, site requests regularly exceed those of top news and entertainment sites. Akamai has offloaded about 95% of the requests to the HauteLook site, helping it to handle a high volume of Internet traffic and ensure 100% availability. “Since deploying Akamai Web Performance Solutions, we have grown our member base by 200% and our revenues by 400%. Akamai has supported us through our amazing growth surge, enabling us to continue delivering a great member experience every day,” continues Diamond.

In fact, Akamai Web Performance Solutions have enabled consistent performance, even when traffic peaks to over 70% of average on a daily basis.

Ensuring a Satisfying Shopping Experience

Just as important, Akamai’s unique ability to accelerate dynamic content is designed to ensure a fast, consistent web performance for all site visitors. Explains Diamond, “As we further grow the business, we want members to have the same site experience as on day one. With Akamai serving our content, members can access the site the second a sale event goes live, shop in an extremely fast manner, get merchandise before someone else, and check out quickly.”

Securing Critical Data

With a goal of making the shopping experience as easy as possible, HauteLook stores its members’ shipping and billing information. Because of that, it needs to employ the strictest of security measures. To that end, it satisfies PCI compliance on two levels. When members’ data is flowing over the Akamai network to the retailer’s data center, it’s delivered in a PCI-compliant way over Akamai’s PCI-certified SSL network. Once the data reaches the HauteLook data center, the retailer ensures the data is stored and managed in compliance with PCI requirements.

Looking Forward with Confidence

Now that HauteLook can be confident about the web performance and scalability of its site, it feels free to pursue new initiatives. “With Akamai, we gain peace of mind knowing that we’ll deliver an enjoyable experience no matter how many people come to our site. This allows us to continue to push the envelope in terms of new technology and offerings, knowing that it won’t degrade the experience,” concludes Diamond.

About HauteLook

A leader in online retail, HauteLook brings the thrill back to shopping through 48- hour sale events with the world’s top apparel, accessories, beauty, kids’, home and travel brands. Every day, HauteLook offers discounts of 50 to 75 percent off retail prices to over 3.5 million members in the U.S. and Canada. Membership is free and open to everyone. HauteLook is headquartered in Los Angeles. Visit www.hautelook.com to learn more.