Grupo Exito: A success story of Dia sin IVA
Sales tax in Colombia is a whopping 19%, so it was a big deal when the government announced it was designating three days this year as tax holidays (“Dia sin IVA”). Colombians who had largely been confined to their homes for the past three months now had the chance to venture out… and open up their wallets.
The first two Tax-Free Days saw Grupo Exito, one of Latin America’s leading retailers, experience an unforeseen growth in customer demand, reaching more than half a million online orders on all categories accumulated.
How much can a balloon inflate?
If you thought the stock exchange is a stressful environment where every decision is crucial to both the buyer and seller, then imagine what happens behind the scenes during big retail events like Black Friday, Cyber Day, Singles Day and Tax-Free Days. Just like a trading floor trembles in bids and asks fluctuating within seconds, with people on the phone nervously negotiating sizable transactions, the Colombian Dia sin IVA caused quite a challenge to the backend developers of many online retailers.
Accommodating an unprecedented amount of transactions at such short notice posed a challenge for the average retailer in Colombia. But not for Grupo Exito, and definitely not on VTEX’s watch. As their site was built on VTEX IO, preparing for and selling on the Tax-Free Days went smoothly and flawlessly. The secret to this achievement? Scalability.
Scalability in cloud computing is the ability to quickly and easily increase or decrease the size or power of an IT solution according to the demand. This is why you can sign up and use most cloud solutions in just a few steps, usually within seconds. It’s the reason why you can add resources like more space to your digital storage account just as quickly.
VTEX’s true multi-tenant SaaS platform has full scalability, like an infinitely expanding balloon. The more air you blow inside it, the bigger it gets without exploding in your face. Once you stop pumping air, it safely and securely contracts to its initial form.
VTEX relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure that the platform has horizontal scalability. This allows the service to grow on demand, regardless of the size of the demand. With this scalability in place, the website admins of Grupo Exito were able to focus on managing transactions and dealing with the business and operations, not having one drop of worry on the infrastructure side.
The Olympic Games of Online Shopping
VTEX has been handling massive online retail events for over ten years. Every event presents a new challenge, but with experience, each one becomes easier to deal with. While the third of the series was postponed by the Colombian Government until the pandemic passed, the first and second free tax days took place on the 19th of June and on the 3rd of July, respectively.
Record orders per minute
Grupo Exito hit the record of order per minute a couple times, with the absolute peak of more than 1,000 orders in a single minute, July 3rd. And VTEX IO could handle all that traffic – with no setups or extra costs. Needless to say Grupo Exito is not our only Colombian client so everything that was happening on their store on such a big scale was also occurring nationwide. Since we have a multi-tenant SaaS platform, all of the 3,000 stores on VTEX were operating at the same time, on the same instance, without a hitch – even with Colombian merchants, including Grupo Exito selling at peak volumes.
When retail events of these proportions occur, VTEX merchants like Grupo Exito already have all the resources at hand. Our customers do not need to make further investments in infrastructure and can grow organically as their computing needs increase without paying for additional resources. The elasticity of the platform is unlimited, and the lower and upper threshold fluctuate as needed, just like a balloon would expand in anticipation, before you even get to blow some air into it.