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August 6, 2020

Holidays: how is e-commerce performance for seasonal peaks?

Eduardo Arantes
ABM Content & Communication

Holidays that are based on promotions and discounts represent a great challenge for e-commerce, not only because of sales, but also to support the large volume of accesses and payments happening in a short period. Moreover, today we are facing a pandemic scenario that has increased the use of digital channels for sales in several countries.

Let's think about Black Friday, for example. It is still common to see downtime for some websites, with queues to access them, and purchases that cannot be completed due to service instability. In addition to the problems related to a very disappointing user experience, this impacts directly on business revenue. If you consider the investments in marketing campaigns and products as well, the result is extremely negative.

In this scenario, it is especially important to think about Digital Transformation as a path to be taken, and it goes beyond Digital Marketing. Investing in online channels for fast and secure service is the first step to achieve impressiveresults.

Nowadays, APIs are part of any IT team routine that has some type of digital investment, and they are key to increase the power of your e-commerce.

For those who still don't know the term, API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a tool that allows easy integration between different systems.In general, it allows us to make two software platforms  exchange information in real time. APIs enable what we know today as “marketplaces”. To make it happen, simple integrations and efficient management are fundamental. Marketplaces consist of several stores selling through a single website.

However, this is not the only business model available. Investing in your e-commerceplatform to deliver great performance to meet high demands, especially on holidays will in addition to guaranteeing the stability of your website,also reflect directly on your revenue.

Robust API strategies allow retailers to explore new business models, as well as allowing them to prepare for these scenarios, avoiding unavailability through more scalable services, in addition to creating the foundation for new digital experiences such as Chatbots, VR, Mobile Apps, integrations with delivery services, and much more.We have developed a step by step guide on how to prepare your APIs for “Digital Tsunamis”, such as Black Friday or other special dates:

1- Define APIs and Key Integrations

Based on your customer's journey, what are the APIs that, in case of unavailability, will prevent your business from closing sales? These APIs must be tested and kept under constant monitoring during the “Tsunami”.

2- Simulate and optimize

Days and weeks before the event prepare your website and run multiple load tests simulating this scenario of many simultaneous accesses.

3- Prepare your team

Create open communication channels with all teams, via Slack, for example. Therefore, information will flow between all participants.Involve key personnel who can make quick decisions and solve problems before they become critical.

4- Monitor your performance

Constantly and timely monitor your APIs and other services that may impact your business during this period.

Create monitoring dashboards and alerts, enabling faster action if a problem appears.

Be proactive and keep all teams informed of all situations.

5- Celebrate the results

These periods generate spectacular results, which must be shared, but they are also great challenges for teams and require big efforts from everyone involved. So, celebrate your team's results and dedication!

Companies like Natura, one of the largest cosmetics organizations in the world, have been concerned about service stability for years. To deliver a good service on dates like Black Friday, planning starts months before. "Global companies like Natura face very high demand on these holidays, so it is essential that the full company’s online structure is available 100% of the time, as minutes of downtime can represent thousands of dollars that are lost", says Marcilio Oliveira, COO of Sensedia, which is one of the companies that support Natura's digital strategies.

It is not just for these holidays that retailers must adapt their digital channels and e-commerce. After the pandemic, the way consumers make their purchases will change significantly when we think about shopping in physical stores versus online shopping. Retailers must also think about the security of their customers and provide options that are convenient and easy to adopt. This is a good moment to reimagine your e-commerce, considering the adoption of new technologies to boost your sales.

Thanks for reading!