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Are You Ready for Your Chewbacca Moment?

Why scalability is a key part of a retail API platform, all year long.
Jun 07, 2016

Even if you aren’t into Star Wars, you've probably heard of “Chewbacca Mom” on social media and TV talk shows. The giggling Candace Payne’s Facebook Live video of her new Chewbacca mask, purchased at retailer Kohl’s, quickly went viral with 160 million views (and counting) and more than three million shares.

For Kohl’s, which was mentioned twice in the video, the exposure led not only to a run on Chewbacca masks, but unprecedented downloads of the Kohl’s mobile app, quickly pushing it to the top iOS app on Apple’s App Store.

Kohl’s also experienced a major spike in web and mobile traffic—an increase of almost 50% in a single day. Each visit to Kohl’s mobile app or website triggers an API request to its backend systems to fetch the product catalog or other information.

While the spike was certainly unexpected, Kohl’s was prepared. The company uses Apigee API management to secure, cache, monitor, and analyze its API traffic. Kohl’s easily handled the spike in interest and processed the millions of consumer requests without a single incident, thanks to effective API management.

The pervasiveness of Snapchat, Facebook Live, Periscope, and other social video tools, user-generated content has become a huge part of brand building for companies. When this content goes viral, it happens fast, and in a big way. It's not an event that retailers can necessarily plan for, like Black Friday

But these kind of unpredictable spikes in traffic and demand should be welcomed—as long as your business is prepared to handle a Chewbacca moment.

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