Case Study: Alice McCALL Performance Optimisation


How Alice McCALL was able to generate a 220% ROI with MindArc for VOSN

The Brand:

“alice McCALL is the eponymous label of Australian fashion designer Alice McCall. With a focus on intricate detailing, season after season, the brands designs remain uniquely feminine.”

The Win:

On 26th October Alice McCall achieved a 220% return on investment for Vogue Online Shopping Night (VOSN) through a partnership approach with MindArc in the weeks leading up to the sale.

How we did it:

Using the power of scalable performance and pre‐emptive testing. We used performance technologies such as Varnish, Redis and a Content Delivery Network.

Leveraging Varnish is key for any high performing Magento site. Varnish is a powerful reverse proxy which sits between your customers and your server to show your browsing customers a snapshot of your offering to minimise their interaction with the server itself. This lightens the load on your server requests significantly, especially when you have hundreds of people browsing your sale categories on VOSN.

We also used Redis to help with the backend admin use and customers session caches. We combined this with a CDN to help serve customers with website media more quickly. CDN’s are fantastic for international customers as they store your websites media on the servers closest to their IPs to help speed up load times.

Stress Testing:

We also ran a Virtual Traffic Stress testing scenario on top of existing traffic on live site to see tipping  point with alice McCALL. We used a stress testing tool that hits:

-Homepage x every 2 secs

-Category every 3 secs

-Product x every 3 secs

-Add to Bag x every 2 secs

-Checkout x every 5 secs

We ran our stress testing on a “ramping algorithm” which means we steadily layered our virtual traffic to mimic a live traffic spike. If you run constant traffic to your server, the CPU and RAM will overload and crash. Through using our stress testing technique, we could identify how much traffic the server could hold before crashing and then make optimisations to extend that break point.

On the day of the sale, the live traffic ended up being half of what we stress tested and optimised for so the site ran smoothly without error for the duration of the sale which resulted in a huge days sales for the Alice McCALL team.

When the sale launched, our developers were on hand with their monitors trained to the servers to keep an eye on the traffic spikes.