It’s almost here. Or it is already here. Is it Black Friday tomorrow? Or is it already Black Five-day? If you are Chinese you are probably still in the bargain shopping frenzy that kicked off on 11 November for Single’s Day.
And that is the nature of ‘Black Friday’ this year. Depending on what you read, interest in it is bigger than ever, no one is interested, retailers hate it, retailers love it, shoppers hate it, shoppers love it.
What it really demonstrates is that ‘peak’ is now a very moveable feast. In fact, peak could well be all the time, as outlined by our guest opinion from Vincent DeGennaro, General Manager EMEA, SOASTA, who makes the really good point that While much is made of the Black Friday weekend, the reality is that every day is potentially a Black Friday for retailers. Whether it’s a planned event or an opportunistic flash sale, retailers have to ensure their digital platforms are available, scalable and reliable.
Soasta and InternetRetailing have published an eBook – that you can download for free here – that outlines this concept of the continuous peak and how to deal with it (I won’t go into how here, read the book). But it’s a good point. While interest in Black Friday may or may not be waning, shopping is changing and retailers are going to have to create their own range of peaks throughout the year, shaped by their marketing, their stock, what they sell and the seasons.
Christmas is just the start of it.
Consumers want a personalised service and this means perhaps that what you sell – or part of what you sell – suits a certain demographic. Your marketing department may want to push it because the wet weather ties in nicely with it – and lo, you have a peak.
This is a burden for any ecommerce of m-commerce department as it takes all the learnings of Black Friday, takes all the hours of stress, late nights and stress testing of networks, sites, apps and everything else and means you have to do it pretty much all the time.
But shouldn’t it be like that all the time? In the age of hyper demanding consumers who’s expectations already out strip what can be done technologically (or is that just me?), all the effort that goes into stress testing, network resilience, site availability, peak planning and so on should be an on going task anyway?
Things like Digital Performance Management can help with this, constantly matching what you do digitally – across marketing right through to sales, via all the browsing and cart abandonment – with how optimized your site needs to be.
But while this helps to make it happen, really it is a philosophy that the business needs to develop right across its whole operation. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and the sales help focus the mind on what needs to be done. All you need to do now is do that all year round – just what you want to hear as you gear up for 96 hours of no sleep, but someone had to say it, right?