Preparing your e‑commerce site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If you’re one of the ever-growing numbers of online shoppers, you’re undoubtedly looking forward to the sales, discounts, incentives and premiums offered on these days.

As an e-commerce vendor, however, are you fully prepared for the increased traffic and challenges the holiday season brings? Industry experts predict that on average, individual consumers will open their purses to the tune of $743 during the frenetic weekend. That’s a 47 percent increase from last year’s record-breaking total. For e-commerce sites, taking advantage of the holiday rush means you need to be ready for the huge spike in online traffic when customers start comparing prices and shopping.

A Shift in Buying Behavior

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both part of a general shift in worldwide buying patterns. No longer do people want to fight holiday crowds at large megamalls. And mail-order catalog businesses have had their share of setbacks, too. With each passing year, consumers are more comfortable using their personal electronic devices (laptops, tablets and smartphones) for shopping. After all, the convenience can’t be beat.

With all this consumer activity rushing toward online vendors, the holiday season has become a critical period for e-commerce retailers. In this age of large data breaches, can websites promise worry-free security assurances? A reliable platform? An efficient and intuitive shopping and checkout experience? Data suggests that online shoppers are impatient and will only wait five seconds for a web page to load before skipping to another site. And worse: 68 percent of visitors will most likely never return to a poor performing site.

WebOps teams need to balance consumer demand, security and provide a seamless user experience. The ultimate goal is to maintain a highly responsive, highly scalable, and “fault-tolerant” web service. Important things to consider.

  • Make sure your site’s infrastructure can scale well beyond expectations
  • Employ load balancing to prevent debilitating downtime
  • Do your best to achieve zero downtime
  • Use web application firewall technology to shield your apps
  • Upgrade infrastructure/architecture as needed and ensure patches are applied
  • Commit to a long-term maintenance schedule