Black Friday: Retailers need to learn from last year’s mistakes

By Sam Rutley, MD at PushON.

“Before Black Friday had even got underway, a number of e-commerce sites, including JD Sports and GAME went down as they struggled to cope with traffic surges. [There were soon] more casualties including Debenhams, highlighting that, despite Black Friday not being a new phenomenon to the UK anymore, some retailers still haven’t taken the necessary steps to prepare for it.

“Both GAME and Debenhams suffered the same fate last year, showing that little has been done in anticipation of the Black Friday surge.

“Retailers should be implementing scalable hosting solutions, such as Amazon WebServices, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure or Private Cloud, which allow merchants to deal with peaks and troughs on Black Friday. And, having a strong content delivery network (CDN) in place to serve content within locality will also improve performance during these spikes in traffic.

“But this year, to reduce the strain, we did see a number of retailers kick starting their Black Friday offerings almost an entire week early, with the likes of John Lewis, Amazon and Superdrug being just a small handful of these.

“This new extended Black Friday period doesn’t just please the bargain-hungry consumer, it is actually hugely beneficial to the retailer (ignoring the obvious commercial value), who, during busy trading times not only has to ensure its website is robust enough to handle the spikes in traffic, but also has to deal with the logistical backend headaches that come hand in hand with busy periods.

“By spreading the Black Friday effect out over a longer period of time, less pressure is put on a retailer’s website and supply chain, ensuring it can fulfil demand, meet delivery standards and ultimately keep customers, both new and old, happy.”

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