Daniel Wellington sells sleek, minimalist watches, and has seen remarkable growth (4700% between 2012 and 2015) thanks to aggressive international expansion efforts paired with a savvy social media strategy. Learn how Fastly helped Daniel Wellington to scale while accelerating deployment processes, handling unusual traffic demands, and keeping their customer and payment data safe and secure.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Customer since: 2016
Customization with VCL (Varnish Configuration Language)
Named the fastest growing private company in Europe in 2017, Daniel Wellington quickly went from a small Swedish watch company to an international juggernaut, all through calculated international expansion and a groundbreaking influencer marketing approach. One of the earliest companies to use social media “influencers” instead of traditional fashion marketing to promote their stylish watches, DW (as it’s often called) needed a way to handle unpredictable, large surges in traffic to their desktop and mobile sites. Relying on external people with large social media profiles helped DW reach a wide audience with little cost, but it also made it nearly impossible to predict a surge of traffic from someone’s throng of dedicated followers.
Daniel Wellington turned to Fastly to help scale their technology to handle those capricious traffic demands, primarily by putting their content close to end users for the fastest user experience. Because up to 80% of their website traffic comes from mobile, that also meant optimizing for speedy content and image delivery across all devices. Ultimately, that meant that when they brought on one of the biggest social media influencers of them all — Kylie Jenner — they were ready for her millions of Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook followers.
Daniel Wellington’s growth was also fueled by highly successful expansion into Asian markets, which also placed unique demands on their web and mobile sites. The further away their site is from their customers, the slower it is to display. Fastly’s edge cloud platform helped Daniel Wellington increase the speed of website content requests by serving them from as close to the customer as possible, instead of from DW’s centralized cloud servers. This performance gain means customers don’t have to wait around — and as any online retailer knows, a faster website leads to more conversions and sales.
“It’s vital to deliver content to customers quickly. It helps to ensure that our customers don’t leave the website, because the faster the webpage, the more likely that they will buy.” Lezgin Bakircioglu
Global Head of IT Operations
Daniel Wellington knew it was vital for their internal operations and technical teams to be able keep up with the pace of change. As their Global Head of IT Operations, Lezgin Bakircioglu, explains, “We were accelerating so fast and we had everything handled by external companies. Because of this, we were basically burning out all the relationships because we had so many high demands.”
In the early days, this growth put a lot of strain on Daniel Wellington’s previous Content Delivery Network (CDN), the platform that sits between the website and visitors to manage traffic, deliver content and images quickly, and keep the website secure. When a business is moving as fast as Daniel Wellington, and they are continually pushing new code to their live environment, a CDN has to be agile enough to keep up and provide the right level of responsiveness. Without the ability to deploy CDN changes instantly with previous providers, DW’s agile processes occasionally resulted in a poor end user experience. After migrating to Fastly, Daniel Wellington found that Fastly’s technology stack and philosophy of transparency merged seamlessly with their technical teams’ needs.
“Fastly matches us technically, both in terms of the development stack and the ease of integration with our existing infrastructure. This gives us the possibility to test changes to our site or code locally, before pushing out to production. We can test how we cache content to avoid problems when we release code into the production environment.” Lezgin Bakircioglu
Global Head of IT Operations
To build a great end user experience, the Daniel Wellington tech team realized they needed to empower their developers to have end-to-end ownership of their work, with the goal of increasing the speed and quality of deployments. It’s vital that a business like Daniel Wellington focuses on product innovation and entry into new markets, and their ability to stay ahead of the competition and delight customers is the result of having their team focused on the right things as well as utilizing the right technologies.
Previously, their IT Operations team did most of the heavy lifting, provisioning servers and ensuring that there were no issues during releases, which slowed their ability to get new code to production. DW changed the Operations team’s focus to architecting a platform and deployment pipeline that enables developers to write, test, and deploy code to production quickly and seamlessly.
They also needed a technology stack that would support their goals, adopting a serverless, cloud-based architecture. Fastly’s capabilities and ease of integration with their new platform allowed Daniel Wellington to reduce their content development and delivery costs. Leveraging the ability to push changes via Fastly’s APIs, the DW team has implemented a system in which real-time communication tools, including chatbots, facilitate deployments, including changes to their content delivery configurations.
As a result, developers, content management, and business teams are able to manage changes themselves and move more quickly, allowing the technology teams to focus on value-add activities and efficiency gains. Since becoming a Fastly customer, DW has deployed new code 1,800 times, or around 64 new releases per month to different environments on average. In that same period, they’ve made over 2,700 changes to their site, which include changes to Fastly’s CDN. Of those, 96% were triggered by the development or business teams.
“Because we can integrate Fastly into our development process via APIs, we’re able to push more responsibility to the business, enabling content creators to instantly update the website globally with confidence. We’ve reduced the amount of errors as well as the time spent managing site updates for the engineering team.” Lezgin Bakircioglu
Global Head of IT Operations
About 80% of Daniel Wellington’s customers visit the website on mobile devices. Mobile networks vary in speed, so reducing the amount of data that needs to be downloaded has a direct impact on the mobile experience. For a company like Daniel Wellington, one of the biggest contributors to mobile performance and sales conversions is the ability to deliver optimized product images.
Daniel Wellington leverages Fastly’s Image Optimizer to automatically optimize and deliver images based on information sent from their visitors: device screen size, browser, resolution, and format (including webp if the browser requests it). Fastly’s edge cloud platform dynamically serves optimized images based on one original version, ensuring quick and efficient delivery without added complexity for the DW tech team.
Where mobile connection is poor, Daniel Wellington utilizes lazy loading with image optimization to ensure an image appears for shoppers as quickly as possible, serving first a low-pixel but quick-to-load image, and then overwriting it with the optimized version.
The optimization metrics speak for themselves, with the average static content webpage size falling from 2.9 megabytes to 590 kilobytes, an 80% reduction, as reported by Daniel Wellington.
Daniel Wellington’s reputation rests on keeping website, customer, and payment data encrypted and secure. Fastly provides a traffic encryption service that uses the TLS protocol to encrypt traffic between the customer and Daniel Wellington’s website and payment tools.
Daniel Wellington also takes advantage of other Fastly capabilities like Origin Shielding, logging, and monitoring to provide a safe and secure environment for paying with confidence.
Fastly helps people stay better connected with the things they love. Fastly’s edge cloud platform enables customers to create great digital experiences quickly, securely, and reliably by processing, serving, and securing our customers’ applications as close to their end-users as possible — at the edge of the Internet. The platform is designed to take advantage of the modern internet, to be programmable, and to support agile software development. Fastly’s customers include many of the world’s most prominent companies, including Vimeo, Pinterest, The New York Times, and GitHub.