New Imperva Waiting Room Enables Organizations to Deliver Consistent Optimal Website User Experiences During Peak Traffic Periods
Organizations benchmark website success by the volume of legitimate traffic and online sales it generates. Website architects want to drive as many visitors as possible and they need to be sure the site can handle all the traffic it receives. If a site is slow and clunky, visitors will quickly go elsewhere.
“Never let them see you spike”
There are a range of factors that cause website traffic spikes. They can be the result of cybercriminals targeting the site with a web attack and the server being subject to high volumes of unwelcome bot traffic. They can occur when the site experiences increased volumes of legitimate traffic during times of high demand. The key to creating an appealing, frictionless customer experience is to ensure that they never notice a change in performance. Imperva mitigates attacks by cleaning out the illegitimate traffic to guarantee an optimal experience for legitimate users. What can enterprises do when an increase in legitimate traffic volumes affects user experience?
Peak traffic periods can happen at any time, and are sometimes predictable. Enterprises expect legitimate traffic increases during major holidays or special promotional days like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, or on special occasions like Mothers’ Day. In some scenarios, however, website traffic can peak so quickly that a scaling plan or architecture may not be able to keep up. To prevent a website from being overwhelmed, and to ensure a seamless experience for site visitors, we have introduced Imperva Waiting Room.
When the alternative is a slow or crashed website, research has shown that a virtual waiting room is preferred by customers. Data related to how customers respond to poor website performance is astounding. 79 percent of shoppers that face a poor retail website performance will avoid shopping with the retailer in the future, and the cost of lost orders can pile up quickly.
Imperva Waiting Room protects areas of a site that are sensitive to over-capacity issues by allowing a virtual queueing system to engage once a performance bottleneck is reached – set by the website management team.
The concept of the Waiting Room is simple. Consider a friendly gatekeeper standing in front of a coffee shop. During ‘normal’ traffic, visitors can easily enter, grab a coffee of their choice, sit down, and enjoy it. What happens, however, when there is suddenly a high demand – maybe at lunchtime or during #internationalcoffeeday – and lots of potential customers try to enter the coffee shop at the same time?
The gatekeeper monitors the traffic knowing the number of customers the shop can handle, and politely asks people to wait in line as soon as the store reaches capacity. In the same way with Imperva Waiting Room, we monitor the traffic to a website, and based on the threshold that has been configured by the site owner, we limit the rate of the new requests sent to the origin server by placing any requests over the threshold into a virtual queue.
Visitors to a site who are placed in the queue will have a positive experience, with a customizable page to indicate the estimated wait time so that they can know what to expect:
Once the number of visitors has reduced, new visitors are let in within the defined thresholds the application can handle. No code changes or architectural changes are needed, and a Waiting Room can be set up in just a few minutes.
We built the Imperva Waiting Room on top of our Edge network, served by our network of PoPs around the globe, with the goal to provide a seamless, out-of-the-box product with a ‘set and forget’ methodology. Our customers can now benefit from our security solutions, such as DDoS and bot protection, and at the same time protect and control their traffic – all in one.
More relevant now than ever
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated ecommerce growth years into the future. Digital Commerce 360 estimates the pandemic contributed an extra $218.53 billion to ecommerce’s bottom line over the past two years. Today, consumers continue to flock online to shop for and buy a wide range of goods, pushing ecommerce sales to new heights. In many instances, websites have struggled to keep pace with this increased legitimate traffic. To overcome this challenge many ecommerce enterprises have committed to developing a thoughtful virtual waiting room designed to actually boost the ecommerce user experience.
The use of health and government services online has also increased, where people are relying more on digital services for scheduling doctor appointments, vaccines, tax reports, and other services historically done face-to-face. Now offered online, these services still need to maintain the same high-quality customer service. EY.com reports that since the start of the pandemic, 62 percent of the world’s healthcare organizations reported increased use of digital technologies and data solutions to continue to care for patients and vulnerable citizens. These organizations are also looking at virtual waiting rooms to manage online demand for critical services.
Imperva Waiting Room is also ideal for controlling user traffic during normal operations. If, for example, a website is experiencing technical issues and is temporarily unable to handle regular volumes of traffic, Imperva Waiting Room can be used to reduce the incoming traffic, allowing the website to be restored gracefully. Waiting Room can handle queuing based on geography, cookies, and more. It can be used to give a fair experience for all customers and prevent ‘scalping’ during important product releases. It can even be used to give VIP customers faster access to a website, while other visitors may be queued.
If you’d like to know more about Imperva Waiting Room, and how it can help the smooth running of your eCommerce platform or application, please contact one of our Imperva representatives for a no-obligation chat to find out how we can help.
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