How Scalability and Bots Impact Product Launches

Have you ever gone to an ecommerce site right as a highly anticipated launch was occurring and found yourself locked out or inventory immediately gone? Flash sales or new product launches can be both a blessing and curse for ecommerce sites: While they bring motivated visitors who are ready to purchase quickly, they can also be plagued by scalability issues, bots holding product up in shopping carts, and malicious traffic that aims to re-sell items on a third-party site such as eBay.

At times, selling out quickly can boost a brand’s reputation: Kylie Jenner’s online makeup launches have led to an “economy of scarcity” where items sell out in minutes and are quickly listed on auction sites for 10 or 20x the original price, and limited edition sneakers backed by celebrity athletes have been in high demand ever since the famous Air Jordans were first released.

However, for less high-profile product launches, customers become frustrated with slow websites or products that sell out quickly and abandon the site, resulting in a lost sale and poor user experience. There are a few different culprits for this occurring:

  1. Poor Scalability: If a website doesn’t scale well, it will not be able to handle a large influx of traffic. Websites can mitigate this by caching as much content as possible and using a globally distributed content delivery solution such as Section. By caching content, the majority of customers will be served from the cache and the load on your origin server will be dramatically reduced.

  2. Scraping Bots: Many bots are constantly scraping prices and product information from ecommerce websites in order to match prices on other websites. This high volume of scraping bots can have detrimental effects if the website is not built to handle enough traffic (see point 1).

  3. Bots Who Abandon Carts: Malicious bots may be programmed to place hundreds of items in a cart and then abandon it without completing the purchase. This action will tie up inventory for real visitors, showing them an item is out-of-stock when it is not, and also negatively impacts conversion rates and ROI for ecommerce sites.

  4. Bots Who Purchase Product: Bots can also be programmed to actually complete a product purchase by being pre-loaded with credit card and shipping information. These are most often used for products which have a high resale value: Some websites even sell access to pre-built bots that claim to work on a number of ecommerce websites.

Protect your site from bad bots with Section’s Edge Compute Platform provides protection to ecommerce sites experiencing heavy traffic by increasing scalability, decreasing load on website origin servers, and blocking bots via smart solutions such as the Threat X WAF. If you’re having trouble with bad bots or scalability, speak with one of our representatives today.

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