After the cache warming and partner feed changes (along with a few other API tweaks, primarily reduction of the number of requests made to gather up-sell and conversion marketing products) there were noticeable improvements in sell-through and user retention. These time charts show that overall cart creations increased for similar sales periods, and also that cart loss due to timeout had been reduced.
Through a deeper understanding of the legacy commerce systems the API team found optimizations that could be brought to bear which yielded sizable system and financial performance improvements. When these issues were originally brought to senior management, the initial response was to simply increase the horizontal scale of the server infrastructure. While in most companies that would not be the measure of first resort, the long-standing technology groups at the company had always brought this option to the table as a reflex. In that legacy context this is not a surprise, as some of the systems at that company date back to the late 1970s. Horizontal scaling was (and in this case – is) the only option for technology of that generation. In this case we found new and useful ways to “pierce the veil” and work more efficiently in and around the existing solution stack. From that point we continued to refine the API layer – and likewise – measured changes in system and user behavior in a way that provided new insight to IT and marketing executives.