Black Week and Christmas are rapidly approaching and e-commerce is facing its most hectic period. A lot can happen when there is a greater-than-normal load on your e-commerce site, and something going wrong can have dire consequences. You have to be prepared lest your customer experience be impacted by high traffic, e.g. in the form of delayed response times or, in the worst case, that the site crashes. That’s why we put together a check list of concrete tips for ideally preparing for a period in which uptime and response times are vital.
Getting started late? Keep in mind that it's better to have a simple plan than none at all. If you can’t check off everything, at least ensure that you have an overall plan. Start with the most business critical aspects and work from there. Good luck!
1. Assign a project manager
Black Week and Christmas retail are a project in and of themselves in which many people are involved (in-house and out at suppliers) making it’s easy to miss or forget things. Therefore, it is important to assign a project manager to be responsible for ensuring your progress. If you don’t have the time or resources in-house, you may benefit from bringing in an external resource during this period. You will be paid back for investing in this many times over since you can reuse and refine the processes you set now for the coming years.
2. Identify business parameters
It is important to prepare by setting clear targets. Start from your current situation, compare it to last year and define your expected targets and a best case scenario.Use existing data and set the most important KPIs for your particular line of e-commerce – visits, response times, sessions, turnover, etc. For your e-commerce site, also set performance limits that, once reached, you will need to take particular measures in the case something arises. If you already have a good idea of your KPIs from the start, you will actually be working from real data rather than just a feel for how things are going. This way, you can set real fact-based targets for what you want to achieve rather than let your decisions be determined by emotion.
3. Involve your suppliers
Compile a list of your suppliers and document areas of responsibility and contact persons. Distribute this information to your other suppliers as well as to your own organization so everyone knows who to contact should anything unexpected arise. It is good to have one supplier (preferably a technical implementation partner) as your single point of contactwho can be in charge of the contact chain.
Your e-commerce is an ecosystem of services – from main suppliers such as platform and operational suppliers to technical implementation partners and all auxiliary services, such as for payments, etc. It goes without saying that it is vital that you are clear in your communication with your most business-critical suppliers. In addition to supplying contact information, it is important to inform suppliers of your market plan as well as through which channels your promotions will be distributed so that everyone is aware of and prepared for possible peaks on your site.
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