5 Tips to Prepare Your Magento Store for the Holiday Season
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, X-mas Sales. Somebody is waiting these days as a great sales opportunity. Somebody is preparing for a sleepless night. We want to share with you a few tips we’ve learned from the collaboration with our customers.
Tip #1 Time is a king
Guessing, when is the right time to start preparation?
Large brands never stop preparation. Once they complete the current sales, they are running into analysis and start preparing for the next one.
- 12 months: Working on lessons learned and data analysis
- 6 months: Run quarterly based system stress tests
- 3 months: Start implementing all performance improvements and the other activities to be ready for holiday sales
- 1.5 months: Confirm Readiness
- Ready and go
Tip #2 Data Analysis
Sales campaigns are generating a lot of information. It the right hands it gives the power to be invincible.
- Data Traffic – understand what the overall traffic growth on the annual bases, what number of people/visits/orders we could handle without any issues.
- Order Numbers – understand the traffic quality, conversion rates, average order grows on annual bases, understand the warehouse and OMS systems bandwidth and limits.
- Overall Infrastructure metrics-understand what the current hardware maximum capacity, understand hardware bandwidth.
- Application-Integration bottlenecks – understand application gaps, integration problems, issues need to be addressed and improved immediately before the next campaign starts.
Tip #3 Plan, plan and plan again
Large merchants are good at planning, it’s a well-known fact.
- Plan System Stress Tests(health check on regular bases) – It helps to keep the system in the tone, helps to identify the problem before it appeared.
- Plan Application Releases and freezes period – It gives control of what and when will be released, code freeze activities before the sales season starts.
- Plan Organizational Activities – Prepare an action plan for the sales period for all departments, reduces order fulfillment time during sales, minimize department bottlenecks or dependencies.
- Plan Marketing Activities – Prepare a plan for manage marketing campaigns, define email campaign rules, campaign waves/iterations (don’t run everything in a single thread).
Tip #4 Focus on the right things
It’s always important to be focused on the right things.
- Focus on Infrastructure improvements and scalability – Add more hardware resources, Introduce autoscaling groups.
- Focus on Application improvements – Tune application performance, Minimize bottleneck risks.
- Focus on Monitoring activities – Implement alerting mechanism, Setup duty teams (structure and responsibility), Introduce monitoring tools (NewRelic, Pingdom, …).
- Escalation procedure – It’s important to have a clear escalation procedure, know the first contact point for emergency, facilitation person, clearly defined responsibility chain.
- Focus on all departments-, Cross department communication (e.g. Marketing team inform the duty team about the beginning of the marketing campaign)
Tip #5 Stress Testing
It’s always important to know what the system capacity at any moment.
- Health check – It worth running periodical stress tests and deep infrastructure analysis. It helps in identifying infrastructure and application bottlenecks, make sure that the system is ready for high load.
- Procedure training – Run periodical escalation procedure testing. Even if there is no fire, it worth checking how the fire alarm works. Any problems with the escalation procedure should be identified during testing.