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According to an Adobe study, Cyber Monday is historically the largest online sales day in history with 6.59 billion dollars in sales. The study shows “Overall web traffic to retail sites increased by 11.9 percent on Cyber Monday, with the season average at 5.7 percent." This puts significant pressure on tech professionals to up their game when it comes to ensuring e-commerce sites can stand up to a mammoth surge in traffic. Here are some lessons from past Cyber Mondays.
Cyber Monday, 2017 J. Crew's site advertised a site-wide 40% discount and a further 10% off for customers checking out by noon. The response was so positive that traffic managed to crash their site quickly turning a positive into a negative. To address this and alleviate customer concerns about missing out on their deals, J. Crew took to Twitter to announce they were extending the sale until 3 a.m. on Tuesday.
In the past, many other big box brands like Target, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, PayPal, and even Amazon have also suffered the same fate during their Black Friday or Cyber Monday bonanzas. Target's site went down in the midst of their 15% off of Lilly Pulitzer sale on a Cyber Monday, Amazon experienced an outage last year on Prime day, and during a 3 billion dollars e-commerce day at Macy's, their site buckled. In the past, Cyber Monday outages have caused as much as 70% of PayPal customers trouble processing payments during Cyber Monday sales.
With Cyber Monday sales expected to be up from last year's 6.5 billion dollars by 14% in 2018, companies like Amazon capturing almost half of the Cyber Monday revenues, losses could add up to as much as 3.7 billion dollars if their site went down. According to one business intelligence report, last year almost 2 billion dollars may have been lost due to “stability and speed issues with major retailers."
With the anticipated surge in traffic and 6.59 billion dollars in sales at stake, e-commerce retail IT departments should be frantically working to beef up their security and website performance measures to avoid some of the glitches experienced by these top e-commerce brands in the past.
E-commerce giants like Amazon, Target, Macy's, J. Crew, Walmart, and others are taking no chances this year. Their IT departments are stepping up their game to ensure that their sites are able to handle the surge in traffic by hiring experienced web developers or web application architects and quality assurance testers, analysts, specialists, and managers to make sure that sufficient load and functional testing is done to simulate real-world scenarios under heavy loads. Companies are also ensuring they back up their sites and have cybersecurity experts look for and test potential security gaps. Essential IT roles such as these can help e-commerce retailers identify and address potential issues such as bottlenecks and critical failure points. With almost 7.5 billion dollars up for grabs this Cyber Monday, being prepared for a spike in website traffic can reduce a significant amount of uncertainty and stress.