Published 21 Nov 2016

Keeping the lights on during Black Friday

By, Pulsant

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It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again – and I’m not talking about the boughs of holly, holiday movie channel and chatter around who has the best Christmas advert. It’s time for Black Friday once again, the day of the year retailers offer crazy discounts and consumers scramble to get the best deals possible. In the few years since the UK adopted the practice from our US cousins, the day has only grown in popularity.

Last year UK consumers spent £3.3 billion online during Cyber Weekend. To put that into perspective, £1.1bn was spent on Black Friday, which marked a 36% rise from 2014 and making it the first time ever that we broke the seemingly unreachable mark of £1bn. By all indications this year will shape up to do the same – break a few records and push spending up another notch.

This day, in fact the entire “Cyber Weekend”, forms a critical part of retailers’ revenue plans. But last year Black Friday didn’t go off without a hitch for everyone. Apart from irate consumers who couldn’t find all they wanted, a number of retailers had issues with their websites – pages loading slowly and customers having trouble accessing the site at all.

While brick and mortar retailers also have challenges – like ensuring stock levels can match demand and that their stores are equipped to handle the clamouring bargain-hunting crowds – the challenge for online retailers is a little more complex. While having sufficient inventory is a consideration, the availability of their website and backend supportive infrastructure is crucial.

Online customers demand a shopping experience that is easy, streamlined and reliable, on top of one that offers sufficient discounts and promotions. While the last two issues are ones for sales and marketing, website uptime is an issue for the IT department and associated service providers.

At Pulsant, we put our experience and expertise behind our e-commerce customers, especially around seasonal events that can affect the way their website or cloud platform performs. Essentially what this means is that in the build up to these massive events, like Black Friday, we are proactively offering advice and consultancy about being able to scale up cloud services platform quickly so that customers are able to run their business as they should, serving their customers in the best way possible. We use a combination of our own modelling tools, analytics and expertise to find the best way to configure and optimise their platforms for these peak periods, including monitoring and scaling down after the event.

This year we have also introduced Pulsant DDoS Protect – a security service to run alongside our cloud solutions that brings an added level of cyber safety to operations. The cyber threat landscape is evolving at pace with attackers (and attacks) getting bolder with each step; just consider the attack earlier this month on a UK bank. As a result, we’re doing all we can to ensure our customers’ infrastructures are safe and that their operations can continue without disruption.

So in the run up to this year’s Black Friday, get in touch with us to find out how we can help optimise your infrastructure so that a 50% discount for your customers still means 100% availability for your website.