Why shifting expectations for e-commerce customers have changed network capacity requirements

30/11/2021

E-commerce adoption has accelerated even further during the COVID-19 pandemic, to the point that many businesses have had to scramble  to serve customers predominantly or even exclusively online, a shift that is likely to be irreversible.

But while the expectations of those customers have long been for a frictionless and straightforward purchasing experience, the past two years have heightened expectations to new and business-critical levels.

The need to support deep and immersive online experiences in particular, as well as the new demands placed on supply chains from customers who want products and services delivered ever-more quickly, places new requirements on the underlying network infrastructure that has to carry all of that requisite data.

It means that as well as rethinking customer engagement and delivery, businesses are having to rethink their connectivity too. Not just the local access network connection quality to ensure they’re always-on, but the long-haul network that interconnects their business operations and entire supply chains, enabling them to be more agile in how they service their markets.

Then there is the sheer volume of transactions now being undertaken, which is forcing retailers to optimise their network footprints, as well as to continuously reassess their delivery strategies to ensure that their businesses have sufficient digital capacity to cope with demand. Online transactions and immersive shopping experiences can only have assured delivery if they are  underpinned by scalable and secure network infrastructure. Latency, as well as the ability to boost capacity to respond to spikes in the demand, are key factors impacting the end user experience.

What is less obvious though, is that the ability to assure positive e-commerce customer experience and effective network performances rests in large part with where the associated data is stored and processed.  As more and more businesses have moved customer shopping and transactions online, data centres closer to the network edge have come to the fore, in contrast to centralised data centres that every shopper has to access,

This ability to move computing power and data storage closer to the end-user has become fundamental in enabling a better retail experience, as has the ability to provide low latency across the network routes that interconnect them.  Raw network capacity combined with geographic proximity to shoppers has become critical..

The shifting nature of expectations make the demands on the network crystal  clear. The ideal website load time for mobile sites is now a maximum of two seconds, while doubling that typically results in abandonment rates of up to 87%. Network infrastructure lies at the heart of the ability to keep to the two second rule, and so avoid a massive loss of business.

EXA Infrastructure has seen these demands increase across Europe over the course of the pandemic. We have a commitment to serving large e-commerce platforms, as well as other large organisations, and are called upon to deliver top class infrastructure with commercial flexibility to meet such rapidly-escalating demands. Our bespoke project experience allows even the most demanding customers to expand their capacity needs quickly and grow business through EXA Infrastructure transport solutions. ​

Our suite of transport services provide highly scalable bandwidth, reliable and low-latency connectivity for internet backbones, content delivery, e-commerce and financial transaction support. Our wavelength services deliver massive bandwidth across Europe, the North Atlantic and North America, whilst our Ethernet services provide low latency, uncontended connectivity between major financial services and enterprise locations globally.

Our network infrastructure connects major data centres and cable landing stations, enabling seamless integration into our customer’s business delivery platforms. The EXA Infrastructure network is constantly expanding into emerging markets and connecting new data centres.as we grow in partnership with our customers.

In addition, we operate more than 300 ‘colocation’ facilities in Europe and North America, which are fully integrated into our network and include 14 Tier3-equivalent data centres. Within these locations we offer flexible space, power and connectivity options.

As a leading niche colocation provider, EXA Infrastructure goes the extra mile to design and build customised solutions for our customers. From private cages and suites, to bespoke commercial, operational, or security requirements, we strive to deliver flexible and cost-effective solutions.

And our highly-distributed colocation sites, directly connected to our network, are ideally located for moving data centre connectivity to the edge of the network, closer to where customers need their e-commerce experiences and transactions to be fulfilled.

Cristina Crucini
Director Marketing at EXA
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