The Holiday season is easily the most stressful time of the year for retailers. It’s the time when doing a quick checkup on your systems is vital, whether you’re on a platform like Shopify or Magento or on your own custom system, it is still necessary to make sure you are ready no matter how big or small you are.
Having been through cyber week on 12 separate occasions during my time in ecommerce, and having a 28 minute outage of our payment service on Cyber Monday, I can assure you that the stress and panic you feel are not emotions you will enjoy. To help avoid any downtime this is a list I have used in the past that will let you sleep better at night.
Monitoring, monitoring and monitoring
Having an issue and not knowing about it is probably as bad as it gets, don’t let your customers be the ones to tell you that you are down. Make sure your NewRelic or Pingdom alerts are properly set.
Know who to call and build a process that will help you reach the correct 3rd party vendor if they are having an issue.
If you aren’t on a platform make sure your systems are load tested for 3x the traffic and reach out to your 3rd party partners and ask them what their holiday plan entails.
Plan your marketing
Double check your send dates, your offers, and most importantly be prepared for the traffic you’ll receive from that killer deal you’re running. In some instances it might make sense to share your marketing plan with your 3rd party partners so they can be prepared.
Triple check promotions and price changes
Before you publish to Google or your search provider make sure your prices and promotions are accurate, you don’t want to sell something for $1 that was supposed to be $100.
Disaster recovery plan
Also assume a disaster will happen, those with DR plans will shine. What will you do if your ERP goes down and you need it for stock status or to end a promotion?
So much focus is on the website and sales, but if you sold a million orders on Cyber Monday and your shipping system went down you are no better off. Don’t neglect the back-end systems that allow you to process and ship.
Are there any last minute things that will help improve your site speed? Could you optimize some images or better leverage your CDN? Now is the time to check Google Analytics to see how you are doing.
The Searchspring team does a lot of planning and preparation around this time of year, pushing performance changes and ensuring our escalation procedures are in place so that we won’t be the ones you have to call.