Stance

CASE STUDY

We have architected things to be very efficient, but Redis Enterprise Cloud surprised us with how effortlessly efficient it can be.


— Andrew Spencer, Directory of Technology,
Stance

Company: Stance
Industry: Retail

The Customer:

Stance has refreshed a previously overlooked apparel category: socks. Its original, diverse sock designs can be found on the feet of famous athletes, performers, and other iconic cultural influencers (think Punks & Poets) in more than 40 countries.

The Challenge:

Stance wanted to deliver a retail website that was engaging, refreshing, and massively responsive. High performance was critical—if one of its many celebrity creative directors (like Rihanna) highlights a Stance product on Twitter, for example, the website needs to be prepared to withstand a huge burst of traffic and maintain extremely fast checkout—without consuming massive internal IT resources.

The Solution:

To meet surging demand from ardent fans of its celebrity-endorsed apparel, Stance used the high performance Redis Enterprise Cloud platform to scale automatically when needed and deliver thousands of responses at sub-millisecond latencies, even at peak loads. The company’s stock-notification system uses Redis to fetch inventory information from the retailer’s system of record and transmit it to requesting clients.

The Benefits:

Redis Enterprise Cloud provides automatic scaling and no downtime, and relieves the Stance team from having to worry about the operations side of Redis. Plus, since Stance was moving services from Amazon Web Services to Google Cloud, Redis Enterprise Cloud’s position as the only provider to serve Redis from all public clouds was another huge advantage.

“Our stock-notifier system has to simultaneously inform thousands of clients about inventory availability with submillisecond latencies. Only Redis can do this.”
— Andrew Spencer, Director of Technology, Stance

Socks are often an overlooked wardrobe essential, and Stance’s founders set themselves on a mission to change that. Stance has ignited a movement of art and self-expression that has drawn athletes, performers, and other iconic cultural influencers—a group known as Punks & Poets—to the brand. Its socks are now found in more than 40 countries on the feet of those who dare to be different.

But with celebrity endorsements comes unprecedented levels of traffic. When Rihanna, one of Stance’s creative directors, tweeted about her limited-edition Stance product to her 60+ million followers, the site had to not only withstand huge bursts of traffic but also maintain an extremely fast checkout process for the limited-edition products. Stance began looking for a higher performing database that would enable it to lower application latencies using fewer internal IT resources.


Solving for high scale and low complexity

The Stance.com team wanted a forward-looking architecture that could deliver the most innovative shopping experience. Right off the bat, Stance Director of Technology Andrew Spencer knew Redis would have to be part of the solution. He already had experience using Redis to cache pages on the website, and knew he would need to handle thousands of simultaneous connections. Only a database that ran in-memory would do. 

“Redis is just that fast,” Spencer says. “Our stock-notifier system has to simultaneously inform thousands of clients about inventory availability with submillisecond latencies. Only Redis can do this.”

The stock-notification system uses Redis to fetch inventory information from the system of record and transmit it to requesting clients. The number of requesting clients can range from hundreds to thousands, but Redis’ latency stays consistently below 0.07 ms even as it was handling more than 1,000 requests/second. 

Stance also uses Redis to store snapshots of its 3,000 SKUs in memory, making the customer shopping experience frictionless. With product filtering achieved in sub-second response times, buyers find what they’re looking for nearly instantaneously.


Moving to Redis Enterprise Cloud

The Stance team had previously built and managed its own Redis deployment, but wanted to reduce operational costs. The team chose Redis Enterprise Cloud, a fully managed service, for its auto-scaling with zero downtime. Stance.com was also moving services from AWS to Google Cloud, and Redis Enterprise Cloud’s position as the only provider that serves Redis from all public clouds was another huge advantage.

With a very lean team, Stance has pioneered a new retail experience through technological innovation such as single-page app development, using Magento as an API, and the incorporation of Redis in its MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS) stack—now affectionately called MEANR by the development team. 

Stance.com is one of the first large e-commerce websites to be a wholly single-page application, and Redis is key to the performance and scalability of the platform. “Auto-scaling is great to have, and Redis Enterprise Cloud handles all our scaling needs without any downtime,” Spencer says. “Other options did not provide automatic scaling, and managing this is actually not trivial.”

Building the operations expertise in-house to manage auto-scaling is expensive both in people and time, and not as cost-effective as using Redis Enterprise Cloud, which has relieved the Stance team from having to worry about the operations side of Redis entirely. “We have built our architecture to be very efficient,” Spencer says, “but Redis Enterprise Cloud surprised us with how effortlessly efficient it can be.”