Top 3 actions to keep your shop from overheating during the Holiday season
By Camilla Ley Valentin, CCO
Yes, there is still time!
As tradition calls for, peak shopping seasons are usually haunted by slow webshops or even crashes, as visitor volumes start to exceed your wildest expectations.
NRF (National Retail Federation) is forecasting holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion.* “This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession. In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
Add to this that Shop.org for the first time in its history today released its 2012 online holiday sales forecast, expecting sales to grow 12 percent over last holiday season to as much as $96 billion. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates total 2011 4th Quarter e-commerce sales increased 15 percent.
So, the million dollar question remains: How sure are you about the forecasted increase in transactions and visitors to your site this season? And how sure are you that your shop capacity will be sufficient?
At Queue-it, we are website performance management experts, and these are our top 3 actions to meet the season prepared:
It all starts with communication between Marketing and IT. Communicate the forecasts, talk about past successes and failures, get a shared understanding of the campaign plan. Thats’s action number one.
Number 2 is about testing and checking. Do one last round of load testing and make sure your end-to-end capacity matches campaign expectations on visitor volumes. Check that your site response time monitoring is set up correctly. Repeat the test and check whenever you have completed a code change or other significant update.
Now, although you have done everything in your power to prepare for the peak shopping season, things beyond your control will happen. Anything from extensive success (meaning more visitors than planned crashing your site) to a failure in a third party component, can still take down your site at the worst possible time, losing revenue by the minute. This leads to action number 3, which is agreeing on your queue strategy and setting up the Queue-it SafetyNet to safeguard your shop against those unforeseen peaks.
* NRF defines the holiday season as sales in the months of November and December and forecasts holiday sales growth each year based on U.S. Commerce Department data such as previous months retail sales, the housing market, employment and more. NRF’s consumer spending surveys are not a part of the forecast model.