Cloudinary Blog

How bidorbuy reduced R&D costs and improved site performance

How bidorbuy improved site performance with Cloudinary

bidorbuy is the largest online marketplace in South Africa. Launched back in August 1999, the Johannesburg based online marketplace brings buyers and sellers together to trade merchandise via online auctions and fixed price sales. 
 
The challenge: managing an image laden website
 
bidorbuy mobile app screenshotAs the largest online marketplace in South Africa, bidorbuy hosts over 1.7 million products on its site. With thousands of images loaded daily, managing such an image based website has presented some unique challenges. As the site’s success is driven by selling products accurately represented by their images, these challenges must be faced head on. The potential buyer’s initial decision is almost entirely based on the image that the seller has uploaded, so a fast–loading site with sharp images is a must.
 
The bidorbuy platform needs to handle a significant volume of image uploads in a fast and secure manner, storing the images and applying modifications before efficiently delivering them to the end-users. These are not easy tasks, and there is an obvious business need to optimize this process, as even a single-digit improvement can result in significant savings and improved user experience.
 
Initially, bidorbuy managed their images with a separate infrastructure - running Apache HTTP, Varnish and standalone processes, which would statically generate thumbnails for their product pages; however, they soon ran into scalability and file-system issues. bidorbuy required a solution with flexibility in order to support the different sized images required for their site and native mobile applications. With over 300 million images, it became challenging to provide an appropriate disaster recovery solution (i.e. restoring from backup would take 5 days).
 
Since over 80% of the source images for bidorbuy’s products are hosted with 3rd parties, a solution that could simply generate thumbnails from remote images without having to retrieve and store the image was required. 
 
The solution: use Cloudinary to generate thumbnails on-the-fly
 
bidorbuy products page screenshotUsing Cloudinary, bidorbuy found their solution. They started by using named transformations, generating thumbnails dynamically as and when needed. This was especially handy when displaying different images on various delivery platforms (i.e. high-res retina images on Apple retina devices). “The automatic browser detection and image optimization on the fly for browsers (i.e. automatic WebP delivery) is a great addition” says Gerd Naschenweng, bidorbuy’s CTO.
 
bidorbuy also used Cloudinary's auto-upload and remote fetching features to migrate existing bidorbuy images straight to Cloudinary. Gerd mentions that Cloudinary's choice of CDN, Akamai, and the local CDN nodes it provides “has dramatically improved end-user experience and obviously reduced our administrative requirements with regards to images.” 
 
To sum up, in Gerd’s words, “This year, we will decommission self-hosted infrastructure and storage as Cloudinary has reliably served images for us over the last nine months. This will not just result in a reduction of operational expenditure (infrastructure, storage, monitoring, reduction of bandwidth), but will also free up administrative staff managing our self-hosted infrastructure.”
 
Are images an important aspect of your website or mobile app? If so, drop us a line so we can talk about the ways Cloudinary can help. 
 
Are you an existing customer and would like to share your Cloudinary experience? Let us know! We would be happy to feature your story.
 

Recent Blog Posts

Cloudinary Product Gallery Enables Dynamic Buyer Experience

We live in a world where we spend increasingly more time online. As our routines change and adapt to new trends and technologies, we perform more and more of our daily activities in virtual environments. A key example of this is shopping. There are many reasons why online shopping has become so attractive for many buyers. A near endless variety of products is accessible from the palm of your hand. Customer reviews give buyers more confidence in their decisions. It's increasingly easy to search for attractive prices. And the list goes on. But a customer's desire to "touch" or "feel" the product is an interactive experience that can be hard to overcome when shopping online.

Read more
A Guide to Website Image Optimization and Performance

Part 1 of this series delves into the background for this guide. Here in part 2 are the ins and outs.

Wait, hear me out. I know, we just talked about this: Nobody is sheepishly pleading you, “Please, might we have just one more image on the page?” No, I’m not telling you to pick that particular fight. Instead, use a little smoke and mirrors to avoid requests for images that your audience needn’t render right away and might never need at all while loading them asynchronously—only as needed.

Read more
A Guide to Image Optimization for Website Performance

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the rules of putting images on the web.

For such a flexible medium as the web, software development can feel like a painstaking, rules-oriented game—an errant comma might break a build, a missing semicolon might wipe out an entire page. For a long time, the laws of image rendering seemed similarly cut-and-dry: For example, if your markups contained an img element , the singular content of its src attribute would be foisted on the audience regardless of their browsing context, period.

Read more
Digital Asset Management Platform: Meeting Customer Expectations

Consumers today expect media-rich experiences. No longer a novelty, it’s second nature to swipe through multiple photos on mobile apps, zoom in on product images for a closer look, visualize online travel reviews, socialize cool video clips while browsing, and encounter brand messages when walking into brick-and-mortar stores. These experiences weave together visual cues and clues with relevant content to create meaning and more authentic connections for customers.

Read more
How to Customize Cloudinary's eCommerce Android App

Recently we added the Cloudinary Demo - eCommerce App to the Google Play Store. This app demonstrates the best practices for optimal delivery of images on a storefront, including category pages, product pages, and a shopping cart. At the time, we published Introducing the Cloudinary Demo Android App, Part 1, which provided an under-the-hood tour of how the eCommerce Android App was designed and how Cloudinary was integrated throughout.

Read more