iU.be counts on the scalability of the Combell cloud
iU is Belgium's only chain of personal care stores, operated by the Multipharma group, which owns 250 pharmacies. iU has 21 outlets in both shopping centres and shopping streets. In 2012, the company started developing a web store, which they launched in January 2014 after two years of preparatory work.
“Our iU.be web store must be online at all times, even during large-scale advertising campaigns”
Pascal Sabbe, E-commerce manager at iU.be, testifies:
As soon as we got the approval to start the project, we really started from scratch. The most important step in the process is of course the choice of business partners. The development partner is essential, but your hosting partner is of equal importance. As a business, you do not actually want to be involved in such matters, so it is definitely preferable to make the right choice right from the start.
Looking for the right partner
We hired an internal consultant who requested quotes from various partners. Our criteria were: a secure website for our customers (no downtime, fast loading time), reliable enough to clearly present our range of 10,000 products.
Another key criterion we used when we chose our hosting partner was that it had to be a Belgian provider with a good reputation, whose servers are located in Belgium. Because that is an important aspect for Google.
“Our criteria were: no downtime, fast loading time, and a reliable Belgian provider with a good reputation. That is why we chose Combell.”
If necessary, we must also be able to reach the partner as quickly as possible. Of course, we prefer not to have frequent contact with them, as having to contact them would mean that there are problems. In other words, we needed a partner that would take care of all our concerns, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and that we have nothing to do with the technical side of hosting.
SLAs guarantee quick intervention when required
Combell is one of Belgium's most famous players in the field, perhaps even the most famous. I already had great, positive experiences with Combell from earlier projects. I knew that the quality they provide was very good, and that they offered many SLA (Service Level Agreement) options that were also important to us. So, together with our IT department, we chose the most appropriate options. We have been working together for a while now, and fortunately we never had to enforce these SLAs, which in itself is also a great guarantee of quality.
We did, however, ask several times to carry out a performance analysis of our site, which is also a service outlined in the SLA. Reports then follow very quickly and are always very positive.
The benefits of a cloud environment
Our production site is very efficient. That is also why we chose a cloud environment. Plus scalability: if, for instance, our marketing department launches a large-scale campaign, we just need to inform Combell about this. This way, they can temporarily allocate more resources to the server, so that nothing can be lost on the site, even if everyone places an order at the same time.
“If I had to describe Combell, I would simply say that Combell is the benchmark for hosting.”
If I had to describe Combell, I would simply say that Combell is the benchmark for hosting. I do not hear a lot from them, but that is actually pretty good news. Because that means everything is running smoothly: our customers, our management, the IT department and the business are all happy. So, that is nothing but good news!