The countdown is on - we’re just a week away from Black Friday, meaning that you have already prepared your website to face the traffic demands it will - hopefully - face and surmount. In previous years, we’ve written about getting ready for Black Friday because it has traditionally been a peak-traffic occasion, but it has become common for outages to occur at other random peak-traffic times because there are actually other major, but sometimes predictable, traffic jams. As it happens, major shopping days are no longer limited to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend each year - with the end-of-year shopping season beginning online earlier and earlier, and the biggest stumbling blocks lately happening in the US on Thanksgiving Day itself.
The nature of Black Friday is changing, with the trend leaning toward more and more brick-and-mortar retailers staying closed on the big post-Thanksgiving (in the US at least) ‘biggest shopping day of the year’. But this isn’t just an altruistic reprieve on the part of retailers, giving their employees a well-deserved day off with their families: the new reality is that most people are doing their shopping and searching for the best deals online.
In the years since the 1990s, when Singles’ Day was launched in China to rival Valentine’s Day, it has ramped up to not only rival but completely crush famous, volume-heavy shopping events, such as Black Friday. In the last few years, Singles’ Day, which takes place annually on 11 November, has become a countrywide online shopping spree, with each year far surpassing the last in online sales.
The last few days, hours and minutes tick by before Black Friday and similar days, all designed to drum up feverish consumer fervor for festive holiday bargains. Most e-commerce sites enforce a code freeze leading up to these all-important days, hoping to prevent outages and other unforeseen headaches. (Assuming that the biggest retailers follow this practice, it seems it’s not a foolproof strategy.)