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Black Friday 2019: How to Be a Success Story
Black Friday is just around the corner. If you have an e-commerce website, you must have big hopes and dreams for one of the most profitable days of the year. Discounts to offer. Marketing campaigns to run. Sales to make. Are updates to your server infrastructure on your list?
Let's see why you should take this latter question very seriously.
Why Retailers Love Black Friday
Black Friday has been gaining momentum worldwide. With people falling in love with the convenience of online shopping, online retailers have seen huge spikes in revenue in the last week of November.
American online retailers saw a 23% increase in 2018 compared to 2017, reaching a total of $6.2B, with more than a third of transactions coming from smartphones, according to TechCrunch.
European businesses have been cashing in on the shopping fever too. In 2018, French retailers saw an increase in sales by 265% on Black Friday compared to the October average. Critero reported similar spikes in UK, Germany, and The Netherlands.
In Romania, eMAG, the most prominent local e-commerce website, saw a 28% increase in sales in 2018, the fashion retailer Fashion Days, a 44% increase, and the online library Libris, a 50% increase compared to 2017, according to GPeC.
Why Retailers Fear Black Friday
People love discounts and, on Black Friday, traffic to e-commerce websites typically triples, which is all great till websites crash. It happens to the best of online retailers, and it's frustrating for everyone. While people hit the refresh button and take on social media to complain, companies struggle to manage the disaster.
Every minute down means lost revenue and reputation.
For example, experts cited by Business Insider estimate that J.Crew's 150-minute website crash on Black Friday cost the company $700,000 in lost sales. Their appealing 50%-off-everything offer turned sour when visitors' enthusiasm was met with the "Hang on a sec" message. Macy's faced a similar problem for two years in a row. Problems with the website, the mobile app and the credit card system cost the company millions of dollars in sales.
There are plenty of similar stories. But let's not dwell on failure and, instead, talk about what you can do to avoid it in 2019.
A Success Story
Once upon a time, someone on the Bigstep team wanted to buy a nice present for their girlfriend on Black Friday. Yes, we think that's nice too. Our colleague visited this online retailer's website with high hopes but was disappointed to see that the website was down.
Fast forward a few months, the retailer became our client and was determined not to repeat the Black Friday blackout. The Bigstep team tested different solutions and found the best fit for one of Romania's most important lingerie and swimsuit manufacturers.
We replaced the old virtualized server that proved inefficient and difficult to scale with the Bigstep Metal Cloud, which provided:
- Scalable storage. The retailer could scale as needed, fast. No need to open tickets and wait for the data to be migrated.
- Minimal downtime and low latency. The Bigstep technology allows customers to benefit from a five-times increase in performance and speed.
- Cost performance. Our client ended up spending less than before on a solution that was better, faster and more flexible.
Black Friday 2018 was a success. The retailer's website worked without a glitch, and our team made sure everything ran smoothly.
To help the client maintain cost effectiveness and predictability, we offered two configurations ideal for different scenarios: day to day operations and high-traffic periods. True to the scalability of our solution, the client can switch between configurations anytime, without any noticeable effect on the shopper experience.
Thinking that changes take time, hours or even days? With Bigstep, you can provision a server in minutes. Scale up and down as needed, quickly.
How About You?
Do you want visitors clicking the refresh button, getting frustrated and going to other retailers – with a stop on social media letting others know how poorly you performed? Or do you want to make sales?
The answer is obvious. So, the next question is: is your infrastructure ready to handle the Black Friday traffic surge? Don't assume it is. Ask yourself and your team this question. Remember that the number of online transactions has been growing steadily over the last years, so you need to be able to adjust quickly. What worked (or not) last year, might not do it this year.
To be competitive, you need high speed, low latency, minimal downtime and scalability. You can have it all in time for Black Friday 2019. We offer quick and painless migration, set up and up to 5 hours of sysadmin hours for free with one of the two packages created especially for e-commerce websites.
And no boyfriend will disappoint their girlfriend ever again because a website was down — the end.