- Posted by Gabriela Angelova
- On 01.03.2016
- 3 Comments
- Black Friday, campaign management, e-commerce, e-shop
Each year more and more companies of more and more countries participate in Black Friday campaigns. Many stores make promotions with discounts that reach up to 80%. However discounts are not guaranteed to make many sales in that Black Friday.
There are some issues that should be considered before starting a Black Friday campaign like hosting and software of the site. When an online store makes promotion of hundreds or even thousands of products within 24 hours it can realize hundreds of thousands of millions of entries. And since the promotion is designed so that people buy because they know not what they want and need to buy, but because something is cheap, they browse the site much more thorough than usual. So they see instead of 2-3 products over 10-20 if not more. At first glance, this is good, but only if we are prepared.
Lets imagine the worst case (but very possible) scenario – overloaded site, not responding database, unavailable server, thousands disgruntled customers.
How it should be done?
Professionals stop the work on their sites weeks before Black Friday. Nothing updates, there are not placed any new functionalities, that have not passed tests, they do not even edit product descriptions. Everything stays as it is certain that it will work and has been tested to withstand the influx of people.
What to do to be prepared?
If you use shared hosting you should inquire what the current traffic that you do for a day. Do you reach your monthly limit or CPU time that you are given by your hosting plan? Multiply it by ten and again if you stay in limits – wonderful. If you exceed even slightly, switch to a higher hosting plan. It will cost you more but it will guarantee you sales. In the other case, in the beginning of the day, the site will stop working and when you pick it up again, day will has passed and your users will be disappointed by your services and you will lose them.
The best option is to go to your own server or VPS
Activate all possible systems for caching information. Most mainstream e-commerce systems have built-in modules. Most hosting companies have installed such applications on their servers so setup is quick and easy especially if done by a programmer or your IT team.
Use CDN (Content delivery network) – these are services that aim to replicate the static content of your site to tens or hundreds of servers around the world. Thus, when a user visits your site, it will not download the image of a product necessarily by your server, but it can be done from a server that is closest to it. Such networks are often used by the largest companies in the world and the goal instead of all traffic to focus on their server (a server with shared hosting or not) is that in this case the traffic is distributed among the huge number of servers worldwide. So your site works faster for each user, yet the load could fall between 30% and 60%.
Optimization is not just SEO
Websites work with databases which constantly are receiving requests for one or other information. This is a standard process, but when a query is misspelled or database structure is not thought through, a request may take instead of a 0.00001 seconds, it could take 2-3 or even 30 seconds. This is unacceptable. It seems trivial, but when you have 10,000 simultaneous users to your site, each of them sending between one and 10-20 requests to the database – to get product information, to compare the product with another, to use the search engine, to see a list of products, to reorder products by price… Now consider – 10,000 requests for 2 seconds does exactly 20,000 seconds or 333 minutes, which is just over 5 hours. Now you understand that if consumers are competing with each other simultaneously to order on your website, you’ve already lost them because the majority of people will remain on hold until the database is handling requests.
What should you do? Optimize! Any application written by a programmer can have one, two or more overlooked parameters to make meaningless actions delaying the return of the response by seconds. The work of your programmers must be such as to check any application under real conditions. If it takes more than half a second it should be optimized. This can increase the number of orders received between 50% -80%.
There are series of small details as the mentioned above, which can either ruin your Black Friday or make it the most profitable day of the year. Our recommendation is always when planning similar actions to consult with experts on the subject no later than 2-3 months in advance, so that any adjustments to be finalized a week before Black Friday. Then just sit and wait for big profits… 🙂
If you need an expert advice on managing a Black Friday campaign, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help you make big profits.