How We Helped Three65 Deliver in the SharkTank

It’s early 2015 and an enquiry comes in from Will Strange looking to have a catch up in regards to potentially fixing up or updating his Three65 website. After catching up with him we quickly realised this was no ordinary meeting, Will was in dire trouble with his existing website. It was slow, clunky and worst of all, he was about to appear on SharkTank.

This should be a positive thing, but in the state of the existing website and the load speeds he was achieving with no load, there was no way the website would stand up to anything near what would be directed at it. So we went back to square one. We needed to create a website that had a much better user experience and was designed to handle thousands of users concurrently. It needed to be lean, and have a solid hosting platform.

The perfect foundation for this was WooCommerce. Not only is it lightweight, it has unparalleled subscription support. In less than two months from wireframing, design all the way through to development we had managed to produce a masterpiece. We knew mobile would be critical, so we made sure the subscription process was so easy, before you know it you had purchased your lifetime supply of underwear.

We also needed a solid hosting based that could handle the load. Amazon’s AWS cloud service was the easy choice here. We met with Amazon to find out the optimum set-up to deal with the load we were anticipating as these guys are the experts in hosting large scale websites.

With the website re-designed and a solid hosting framework we braced ourselves for the airing of the episode. There I was with the realtime analytics in front of me and the TV turned to channel 10. During the next few hours the website was served to well over 7,000 users, at it’s peak we hit 2,148 concurrent users (that’s a lot). The orders have since been storming in with hundreds of pairs of underwear being bought.

So what were the learnings from this experience? Well there were a few.

Almost 65% of all visitors during the episode visited from their mobile. Desktop and tablet were almost identical to each other, both being just over 17% of all visitors. This just shows that having a mobile ready website is so critical, especially if you’re planning on appearing on television.

Of all of the conversions that happened during the episode, almost 60% came from mobile. What’s important to note here is this number is outstanding as far as we’re concerned. Your typical buying experience is for a user to research on their mobile then jump across to tablet or desktop to complete the research. In fact, Google has found, in Australia on average 59% of users will research on their mobiles but only 24% of  users will end the process on mobile. Achieving 60% of all conversions on mobile is well above the average!

Another key finding is how well WooCommerce has handled the orders. Many people doubt how well WooCommerce can handle large traffic websites (for no logical reason), most believe Magento is the only choice for large traffic sites. Given WooCommerce is built on WordPress which handles some of the worlds largest news sites, it doesn’t make complete logical sense to doubt it. In fact WooCommerce hasn’t missed a beat with the large amounts of visitors thrown at it and the orders flying in.

In summary, don’t under estimate the power of WooCommerce. If you anticipate a large influx of traffic, be prepared. If mobile usage is expected to be high, ensure the website is is designed to cater for it.

You can check out the Three65 Underwear website here or watch the SharkTank episode here.


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