Monday, November 28, 2011

Surviving a peak eCommerce Christmas - part 4

For the last few days I've been posting useful things to do on the run-up to peak Christmas online trading and ensuring your website can cope with the demands of your visitors . Here's my final post on the subject (for now):

Speak to the business
Understand the marketing activity planned over the festive period and the dates that they are aiming for most impact. What are their targets compared to last year? Rather than add to your load, they may be able to stagger their campaigns and flatten out demand over a more sustained period.

Have a plan for failure
You may see this as a little defeatist, but I always recommend having something up your sleeve in case the worst does actually happen. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put an alternative site in-place within minutes and it may even be the case that you actually turn your site off when it comes under unprecedented demand. However the worst experience to give to your users is a very plain “site offline” message. Nothing says ‘go away and don’t come back’ like a server error page. At the very least make sure this page (probably a customer 500 error page) has some useful information such as your telephone customer service number and a list of your stores.

In summary…. There are still a number of actions you can take to try and de-risk the situation. Keeping your site stable over the peak period will then allow you to focus on the functionality and performance improvements in the new year, so that you’re more prepared for future peaks in demand.

Previous postings are here:
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1
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