Retailers, use Black Friday to learn how to manage future flash crowds

Whether your website is sailing through without any problems or crashing at the first sign of a traffic spike, don't waste this opportunity to learn and improve.

Posted on 27 November 2015 -
Tibus BY Tibus

We’ve been warning retailers for some time to put in place measures to protect their websites (and reputations) ahead of the Black Friday sales rush.

Well, the day is now upon us so it is time to make the most of the situation, no matter how much or how little you did to prepare for this year’s Black Friday traffic surges.

The best way to do that is by using today as a data gathering exercise. By proactively monitoring your website today, you can arm yourself with valuable information to prepare for the January sales, Black Friday next year and other busy periods.

Monitoring systems

Using a monitoring system will not only alert you to potential problems if your server is getting dangerously close to capacity, but also help you to monitor the statistics.

Monitor on an hour-by-hour basis, paying particular attention to usage and server loads. That will help you to work out what sort of traffic volume or what sort of activity by your customers puts your server under strain.

If your website suffered an outage, became unavailable or customers were reporting poor website performance at a particular time during Black Friday, you can cross-reference with your monitoring system statistics to find out exactly what was going on at that time. You can then use the information to prepare for future flash crowds of traffic visiting your site.

It might be that there are some simple tweaks or changes of approach you can make in order to improve the performance of your website. We’ve collated some tips into an article on hosting high traffic websites, which might be of use.

In any case, sit down for a chat with your IT team and/or hosting provider some time between now and Christmas to assess what worked well and where there is room for improvement (don’t forget to take your monitoring system statistics to the meeting!).