Poundland Prepares for First Online Christmas With Rackspace Managed Cloud

Leading discount retailer plans for big traffic spikes

London, UK – 15 December, 2015 - Rackspace® (NYSE: RAX), the #1 managed cloud company, today announced that Poundland®, one of Europe’s largest discount and value retailers, is using Rackspace managed cloud services to support its first crucial Christmas period since its new website launched in September 2015.

Since opening its first store in 1990, Poundland has gone on to open more than 620 stores in the UK and 50 Dealz stores in Ireland. Its success has accelerated in recent years due to consumers becoming increasingly conscious of their expenditure and the company’s value for money approach continuing to resonate with a growing number of shoppers. In response to huge demand, the retailer launched a UK-wide ecommerce trial earlier this year.

During the approach to Christmas, which is a key sales period for Poundland, it’s imperative that the website infrastructure is ready to handle large traffic spikes as consumers rush to buy Christmas products and other items. To achieve this, the website is run on a Rackspace Dedicated Server Solution, which provides a 100 percent Network Uptime Guarantee, high performance bare metal servers and enhanced security.

Paul McDermott, Head of Ecommerce at Poundland says: “This Christmas is the first major test for our website. As it’s relatively new, we don’t have any statistics available from last year which would give us an indication of how much traffic we can expect to receive. Therefore, having a dependable and scalable solution in place is incredibly important. The 24/7 support offered by Rackspace is another key element of achieving our goal to provide a great browsing and shopping experience for customers, many of whom will be using the site for the first time.”

Rackspace was initially recommended to Poundland by one of its channel partners Ampersand, a commerce agency that has worked with the retailer to deliver its new multi-channel presence. After a technical and commercial evaluation process, both Poundland and Ampersand decided that a Rackspace Dedicated solution should power the new website so it remains fast and processes transactions smoothly, even during extremely busy periods like Christmas.

Ampersand and Rackspace also provide support and expertise for Poundland’s use of Magento™, the ecommerce platform, which provides several key website features such as the shopping cart system and catalogue-management tools.

McDermott and his team have rolled out a number of new features on the site since it was launched. These include options to buy bulk cases as well as single items, and the introduction of Shopping Made Easy categories which group together products for a specific requirement like a children’s party for example. A ‘Shuffle’ gamification feature has also been launched that enhances the browsing experience by providing product suggestions in a fun and entertaining way.

The retailer is using the website to trial a new multi-price offering, where items worth more than a pound are available, such as fragrances, audio equipment and kitchen appliances. All of the new features run on Rackspace infrastructure to help ensure they are deployed effectively and perform to a high standard.

Darren Norfolk, MD of Rackspace UK added: “Following the success of discount retailers in the UK, Poundland turned to Rackspace to help replicate the momentum created in its physical stores on an ecommerce platform. This requirement brought a big IT transformation project with it as the business had to expand its approach from purely focusing on brick and mortar stores. It’s pleasing to know that our proven track record of working with Ampersand to implement and manage well performing online stores helped achieve buy in from various teams within Poundland when making the step towards ecommerce.”

The retailer’s main aim for ecommerce in 2016 is to focus its efforts on attracting new customers and handling the increased day-to-day traffic. To support the growing demand, it will implement high availability networking and a redundancy solution for its load balancers and firewall. Security will be another top priority over the next 12 months, when the company will implement a new security solution. It’s considering using the Rackspace Managed Security service to gain comprehensive protection.