Tax automation software probably is not something the average consumer thinks about while making online purchases, but it caused a bit of frustration for e-commerce shops last weekend. Although the Thanksgiving holiday is usually a few days of rest and reflection for companies nationwide, this year the engineers at Avalara were frantically busy.
Avalara’s software automates compliance with transactional taxes, including sales tax and value-added tax - all extremely important aspects of ecommerce. However, right in the thick of the Black Friday shopping blitz, Avalara customers suffered some technical problems that forced some retailers to stop charging sales tax to buyers and as a result take a hit to profits.
Geekwire reported the NYC-based company Food52 noticed problems with their Avalara software early last Friday morning and as a result did not charge sales tax on Black Friday, covering the difference out of their profit margin. In an effort to be consistent and fair to their customer base, the company extended the benefit to Saturday and sent an email with this message:
Though Avalara prepared and tested its systems for several months in preparation for the Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy, Avalara admitted that the software did not meet expectations on Friday.
Once the issue was realized, Avalara's engineering team worked non-stop through the weekend to fix the latency problem, which caused server slowdowns due to issues with the processing of customer addresses.
As a result of Avalara's swift response and their commitment to excellence regardless of the Holiday, Geekwire reported Avalara had a “perfect processing day” on Cyber Monday and processed a record breaking 63 million transactions - marking more than a 110% increase in transactions from Cyber Monday 2014.
Transactions were handled at an average response time of 0.12 seconds and Avalara processed a peak of 1,800 transactions per second on Monday.
Avalara Executive Vice President of Engineering Peter Horadan told GeekWire "Our software is an important part of our customers’ infrastructure, which is why you saw their reaction [on Friday]. It’s also why we take our effort to meet and exceed their expectations so seriously.”
No software is immune to bugs or issues but the quick response and excellent work ethic of Avalara's team even over a national holiday weekend is extremely admirable and we are very proud to partner with a company so committed to their customers!
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