MyOptique is a pan-European eyewear business that sells glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses. The company operates an online-only model, which opens up the potential for rapid growth and wider market opportunities, giving the retailer advantages over traditional high street rivals.
The company has enjoyed over 50 per cent growth over each of the last eight years and is one of the British Government’s ‘Future Fifty’ technology leaders. The Group has six online retail brands; together they have served three million customers and have shipped over 280 million contact lenses and 7 million glasses and sunglasses.
MyOptique aims to remove the barriers for customers buying eyewear from online vendors and therefore needs to provide a seamless user experience, especially to support the company’s continued growth. This relies on a dependable and reliable infrastructure in order to accommodate the expectation’s of consumers when they are shopping online.
Howard Bryant, CTO at MyOptique, explained: “In ecommerce, site performance is everything. Customers can be skittish when buying online and easily put off by slow or unresponsive websites, so we need to do everything to prevent that from happening.”
MyOptique’s need for a robust and dependable online service became clear after it underwent an aggressive growth programme and invested in advertising spots, causing high spikes in web traffic over short periods of time. MyOptique initially responded to this by increasing the physical web-server account by 50 per cent. However, this approach was not sustainable in the longer term and the company concluded that its reliance on physical web servers would end up hampering its growth prospects.
After discovering Claranet at an Amazon Web Summit in 2015 where Claranet was giving a presentation on Amazon Web Service (AWS), MyOptique turned to Claranet to build an environment that could support the business’s future growth, and auto-scale infrastructure to reflect peaks in demand. Claranet managed the migration seamlessly while MyOptique’s previous setup continued to function.
Bryant explainsed: “When we started this process were by no means expert, we had a lot of complexity to deal with, in terms of our existing infrastructure and managing the migration to our new infrastructure. There’s no time in our business to simply turn the business off so we had to ensure the migration was seamless.
“It all started out with a visit to our office were we would actually go through what we intended to do and the design for how we do it. Then after that we had an employee from Claranet helping us every day for the next four months build this infrastructure completely within theAWS environment while our existing system continued to function in parallel.”
Claranet’s fully virtualised AWS environment supports the site in times of increased traffic and ensures smooth and consistent operations. The solution is able to increase the level of virtualised servers depending on user demand at any given period.
Bryant said: “Although we could have gone to AWS directly, we realised that we didn’t have the expertise needed to truly take advantage of the platform. On our own, there would have been a steep learning curve in undertaking this project; with Claranet, that curve has been much shallower.”
Claranet was able to get MyOptique’s virtualised servers up and running in four months from start to finish. Now, the websites remain stable no matter the level of web traffic.
“Our marketing department is continually driving high volumes of traffic to the website, and the auto scalability provided by Claranet’s virtual servers means that our customers are no longer dropped from the site during peak times, leading to a consistently enjoyable customer journey.”
Additionally, MyOptique has seen the largest number of concurrent users on the website at any one time, with no drop in performance to the website, despite only being live on the new infrastructure for a few months.
“The virtual servers had automatically scaled up to serve customers without us having to lift a finger. We’re able to offer our customers a best-of-breed customer experience whenever they visit our site, due to our work with Claranet. Now we can continue our growth plans and our stake in this burgeoning market. We're continuing to grow year on year, which would be difficult to maintain and manage without Claranet’s AWS expertise.”
Head of technology, Andy Dawkins commented: “Working with Claranet has been a breeze. We’ve been kept up to date with everything that is going on at every step of the way. They are great people, they are down to earth, and they explain it to you on a level you can understand."