You’re most likely underestimating holiday traffic.
Fall and winter sales are sky high- no surprise about that. However, experts claim that eCommerce management is still failing to take the required precautions to prepare for peak demand resulting in a massive increase in e-store traffic.
Even huge companies make mistakes by failing to provide the quality of service that customers demand during holiday shopping. Store owners can lose up to $10,000 for every hour their website is unavailable during peak sales. Why do these unfortunate events happen even to an established business?
One of the main causes for the holiday sales failure is the inaccurate prediction of the expected increase the website visits. This problem is logical, according to experts, because retailers do not have a testing tool to forecast the increased traffic with a 100% accuracy rate.
Given this scenario, how can you get your Magento store ready for the holidays then? Here are some tips:
Tip #1: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Stop chasing time by starting to prepare months before the holiday season kicks off. Large companies know when and what to prepare before the Big Bang comes.
Months before the holiday rush, start analyzing and planning for the next sale after the current one is completed.
Based on https://www.atwix.com/services/magento-performance-audit/ experience, the preparation period for the holiday sales is:
6 months before the holiday: Run Magento performance audit to give you a snapshot of where you are at.
3 months: Start implementing all technologies related to sales to ensure no issues can happen during peak season.
Approximately 1.5 months: By this time, everything must be all set.
Tip #2: Data Analysis
Sales campaigns generate an insurmountable pile of data. If you use these figures the right way, you will be steps ahead of the competition.
Data Traffic – determine how much traffic goes through your eCommerce has annually and how many people/visits/orders you can manage without problems.
Order Numbers — Know the traffic quality, conversion rates, average order growth, and warehouse, OMS system bandwidth, and constraints.
Overall Infrastructure Metrics: Know your present hardware’s maximum capacity and bandwidth.
Bottlenecks in Application Integration — identify application gaps, integration concerns, and issues that must be resolved quickly before the holidays begin.
Tip #3: Adjust the Plan If Necessary
They say that great businessmen are excellent planners.
Plan system stress tests (frequent health checks) – It keeps the system in check and helps to spot problems before they arise.
Plan application releases and freezes — It allows you to manage what and when an app is released and code freeze operations before the sales season begin.
Prepare an action plan for all departments for the sales season, shorten order fulfillment time during sales, and eliminate department bottlenecks or dependencies.
Plan marketing activities – Make a strategy for managing marketing campaigns, including email campaign rules and campaign iterations (don’t try to do everything simultaneously).
Tip #4: Keep Your Focus
It’s critical to be focused on the right things at all times.
Improve the infrastructure and scalability by adding extra hardware resources and autoscaling groups.
Improve application performance and reduce bottleneck risks by focusing on application enhancements.
Implement alerting mechanisms, create duty teams (structure and responsibilities), and introduce monitoring technologies (NewRelic, Pingdom, etc.) to monitor activities.
Escalation procedure – Create a clear escalation procedure, knowing the first point of contact for an emergency, a facilitation person, and a clearly defined chain of command.
Tip #5: Stress Testing
It’s critical to always know the system’s capacity at any given time.
Health check – Stress testing and detailed infrastructure analysis should be performed regularly. It identifies infrastructural and application jams and ensures that the system can handle heavy loads.
Procedure training – Test escalation procedures regularly. Even if there isn’t a fire, it’s a good move to double-check that the “fire alarm” is working. During testing, any issues with the escalation method should be discovered.
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