Black Friday Traffic Queuing Software
Black Friday tradition
Traditionally in the US, Black Friday is the day that follows Thanksgiving Day or the 4th Thursday of the month of November every year. This period has always been marked as the beginning of a holiday shopping season as the country shifts its focus to the December holidays.
As with the sales of Boxing Day across the globe, the Black Friday sales usually kick off with promotions, most of which are found online nowadays.
Black Friday, set for November 25th, 2016, will see an increase in the number of shoppers not only in local stores but online as well. It is the official or unofficial start of a holiday shopping season. Virtually all stores match out with blockbuster sales to attract as many customers as they can.
This is the period that you’d expect many people to stand in line a couple of hours even before stores are opened to grab themselves the year’s bargain. It’s a tradition for every store to have something interesting to everyone. For those who hunt bargain shopping, then undoubtedly, Black Friday is the biggest bargain festival.
For some years now, starting from 2013 precisely, the Black Friday offers have always started even before Friday, with other stores starting as early as Wednesday. Perhaps it won’t be a surprise to see Black Friday starting on a Monday of that week. In terms of the revenue, it may not be the best day for some stores. Today, biggest sales days include the Thanksgiving Day, Cyber Monday and Green Monday.
For the local stores, it’s usually easier to manage the sales traffic into the store. They can decide to increase the number of attendants to take care of customer purchases. But for the online stores, it’s usually a very big challenge. As the number of customers visiting an ecommerce store continue to increase, it may become next to impossible to make a successful purchase from such a store.
As with online purchases, most customers usually don’t have the patience to wait especially when so many other stores are offering similar products at a reduced price. As such, if a store can’t manage its traffic, it might end up not making a lot of sales.
Now with products that are in stock for not having been purchased during the Black Friday sales week, store owners may have to sell them out on clearance sale. This is because after the holiday shopping, not so many people make their purchases again till the December holidays.
Most of the online stores that are unprepared for the high traffic shopping unfortunately end up recording losses instead of massive profits as it’s always the norm with Black Friday sales.
Even though it’s not a holiday technically, it’s the day that most consumers spend much of their day seizing the advantage of 24 hours only sales. Many take the time to make purchases right from the comfort of their homes while on the Thanksgiving vacation. This focus on the promotional sales has deemed the day as the busiest on the shopping calendar, especially in e-commerce.
The online rush experienced during this period results to webshop failures come Black Friday. This results to a lot of frustration and dissatisfaction by clients. This in turn results to a great loss not only in revenue but reputation as well. Throughout the whole day, most of the news headlines are usually about webshops that were not able to withstand end user overloads.
A store’s reputation is ruined even for the days to follow since most people after having a bad experience with a store, they usually find alternatives. Most of the owners of the online stores fear the end user peaks especially when they come when they are unprepared. It’s therefore very essential for managers of webshops to be prepared for this day early enough.
Black Friday traffic queuing software
Luckily, such online store owners can use an online queue software that offloads the excess shoppers into a queue page where they are sequentially held till they are redirected automatically to the webshop to carry on and complete their transactions.
Using the queuing software alongside an ecommerce solution, the Black Friday web shop performance will be boosted. Store owner will not only be able to optimize their revenue, but will also optimize their client satisfaction.
In the 2015 Black Friday in US, retail sales totaled $2.74billion, which was a 14.3% increase from the 2014 Black Friday sales. This is an indication that many people are increasing their preference to online shopping, and particularly using mobile devices. During the 2015 sales, more than 1 million shoppers chose to make their purchases online rather than in local stores.
As the online shopping becomes increasingly competitive and campaign driven, with over 51 percent of online expenditure taking place during the peaks, the performance of webshops becomes very crucial so as to maximize the holiday campaign ROI through maximizing conversions and revenue. The failures of Black Friday or even slow response as a result to increased number of visitors can be really fatal.
An ecommerce queuing software can help a lot. The software is used together with an ecommerce solution to make the webshop traffic more manageable by creating queues. It will be better for a customer to know that there transaction is queued due to a high traffic, which is more understandable during the Black Friday peak than a non-responsive or slow responding webshop. This way, the client’s satisfaction remains high, and webshop’s reputation is maintained or even elevated as the store scoops in more revenue.
Apart from just finding a queuing software to use alongside your e-commerce solution, you’ll need a couple IT and other best practices to handle the potential webshop failures. Behind the scenes, database administrators (DBA) offer great support to the sales operations, ensuring the site is available all the time and scalable. They also identify issues and optimize performance of the systems during this high demand period.
It is therefore essential to have purpose built tools in place to manage databases and support increased traffic. To make sure that ecommerce stores are not overwhelmed by the cybergeddon, the following are best practices that every store’s team can use during the busy holiday shopping season.
During an intense overload as a result of web traffic, most web servers may go offline. Clients making their transactions on the other end will not only be frustrated but may also start losing their trust on such a webshop.
Stores should have in place tested plans on how they’ll respond to overloads due to increased webshop traffic. Balancing the load between the active servers at a time of high workloads should be more important. A proven and tested database backup should be in place. In the event that master server switches off, there will be a functional and suitable replacement to have the website running.
Servers, applications and databases need to be given the proper amount of workload. Overloading any of these components is what could lead to a probable failure hence monitoring and supervising should be done all the time.
Database administrators should be kept on active duty round the clock while monitoring as well as providing a clear escalation chain if any issues arise. The performance of applications, databases as well as servers should be cross monitored to determine if workloads require more bandwidth. Clear communication as issues arise is the thing that draws a fine line between a fast resolution and a long outage resulting to revenue loss.
During the high traffic shopping season, most webshops are usually at the verge of losing critical information about their customers through hacking. It is the time when the security of most shops is at a great risk. It is important for a store to be able to secure the personal and financial information about clients for them to continue being compliant with the regulations.
Towards improving security, store managers should ensure that every critical security and maintenance patches are put in place and that customer data has been encrypted.
Build a mobile app or responsive site
Out of all the total sales during the 2015 Black Friday, $905 million were made through mobile sales. That was 33.2% of the sales was made, compared to the 27% in 2014. This is a clear indication that most of the shoppers are increasingly using mobile platforms more. So, if you can have a mobile app, both for Android and iOS, it would be great.
Alternatively, you can decide to make your webshop mobile friendly. With a large percentage of sales made through mobile platforms, it is highly likely that those without mobile responsive sites or mobile apps will lose a great deal of revenue and probably customers as well. Start making the significant changes right away ahead of the Black Friday in November.
Plan additional options of payment and return policy
Any store would probably want to reconsider a couple of policies in light of the Black Friday shopping frenzy and remain competitive. Most of the stores both online and offline ones will have extended and more liberal return as well as exchange policies. You must consider if this is the right move that will work of your store as well. Webshop owners can achieve that by considering level of impact that the policies can have on the sales and how it will affect the established processes in place already.
Additionally, this would also be the time to reconsider extra payment options. For instance, if you’re used to accepting MasterCard and Visa only, you may consider adding other options such as Bitcoin or PayPal. Remember, this is aimed at reducing impact level and improving customer satisfaction. When there are several payment options, customers will always be pleased to try out new ones especially when they are easy to switch to. Options such as PayPal are easier to switch to and may lead to good conversions as well as revenue from those visitors who have or prefer them.
Choose the ad channels to use
Any business whether big or small needs to choose ad channels in a strategic manner. Becoming over-scattered will lead to a compromise of the campaign at the end. One of the greatest ways of preparing for the Black Friday sales promotion is by starting to prepare your marketing materials and needs. There are so many components in marketing campaign that need to be in line with one another to achieve success.
It would be best to choose a number of advertising channels that are deemed as the best and directing the best effort towards them. Some of the options to consider include using blog posts, email marketing, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and retargeting. Retargeting aims at advertising to those people that have previously visited your webshop to let them know about your promotions.
Ensure that your website updates in real time
One of the greatest potential source of webshop failures apart from software and IT bit of the webshop is lack of enough inventory. Customers cannot only be disappointed when a webshop offers slow responses, but can as well be upset to see that almost everything is gone and nothing left for them. So, you do not want to run out of the products.
If your website does not make updates in real time, then you are at risk of losing customers and facing angry consumers. Ensure that your webshop makes updates as soon as a purchase is made and that your inventory is well stocked. To determine how much stock you’ll need, you must compare the data from your last year’s sales with the potential sales of this year.
Let your IT team work on the update mishaps that your webshop is facing right now to find a solution early enough before Black Friday sales set in.