Tis (almost) the season.

There’s an electronic billboard that I pass every morning driving into the office.  For the past few days,  one of the images on it has been a happy turkey saying how many days are left before Black Friday.

If, like me, you work in the eCommerce world – that countdown is both exciting and a little bit scary.  By now we’ve all seen the numbers.  eMarketer is predicting 14.3% growth in holiday season online sales from last year.  Forrester tells us that customers are focusing more than ever on key sales days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (As an aside, good on you NRF for making Cyber Monday a big thing).

That being said, we also all know one other thing: a few big retailer sites are not going to be ready and will come down on Friday.  And we will know which ones because they’ll be in the news.  Obviously, that’s both embarrassing and potentially devastating for the retailers and the folks running the eCommerce operations.

Is your site ready?  Are you sure? It’s too late to do much on the technical side this year but there are a few things you can still do this year to mitigate potential problems.

  • Make sure your monitoring is running correctly so you can see trouble coming before it happens.
  • Make sure you have a playbook to manage and fix problems.   Even if that means turning off functionality, or diverting a portion of traffic, or lighting up additional capacity in real time.
  • Make sure you know what demand generation campaigns will be running and what that means for your site. It may be better to spread demand generation dollars over additional days rather than blowing out the site.
  • Make sure your team is ready to support the site and knows who’s job it is to monitor it.

I hope everyone has 100% uptime and kills their sales goals this year.  If not, give me a call and we can work on a plan to make sure that next year is problem free.

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