Preparation pays off for sites that planned for growth and delivered great performance

With the extended Black Friday sales done and dusted just how have online retailers fared? The latest figures indicate that UK consumers have apparently spent around 4% more money this year than last year and analysts predict £5.8bn will have been spent across online and high street stores.

What is clearly emerging from the early figures is that the biggest growth in spend has been recorded for the online stores, with consumers avoiding historical scenes of chaos on the High Street.

Barclaycard, which processes almost half of the UK’s card transactions, said the total spend was up 4% on last year by 5pm on Black Friday itself and the amount of transactions was up by 6%. The figure covers all payments, not just those to retailers. While Nationwide, Britain’s biggest building society, said £115m was spent by its customers between midnight and 5.30pm, or £110,000 a minute, up 38% compared with a normal Friday.

Preparation for what has become, for the Western economies, a retail phenomenon, has proved to pay off for those that invested to cope with the scale.  This year we have again worked in close collaboration with our clients to ensure their online retail operations have been health checked and performance tested in advance to ensure the infrastructure can take the strain of unprecedented demand.  In addition, campaigns have been well thought through and phased in advance of Black Friday to maximise opportunity over the period.

This prep has driven great results for our clients – which we witnessed first-hand as we monitored the sites around the clock throughout the Peak weekend keeping our clients updated on the traffic, site performance, conversion and sales.  All our clients saw healthy year on year growth and no sites suffered as a result of the increase in demand. With ranges from 38% to 214% growth Year on Year, of the clients we have spoken to so far, it was a welcome acknowledgement of the power of online retailing and the success of our client’s great products and marketing effort winning over the consumers.

Our clients saw healthy year on year growth, with ranges from 38% to 214% growth.

Two of our clients – Jack Wills and The Works – independently made (and remained in) the Top Ten of UK online retailer performances according to Internet Retailing Research which in conjunction with its partner NCC Group, tested websites on an hourly basis on both mobile and desktop devices to track their performance from pre peak all the way through peak trading.

So reflecting on a good outcome, it is fair to say that our challenge in the months building up to Black Friday was to collaborate with our clients through our fantastic ‘Expert Services’ team to ensure that their websites could cope with demand around the world better than ever before. That meant working with them to ensure that their responsive sites were optimised and tested well in advance, and that a full contingency plan was in place in the unlikely event that a site ever goes down, that job scheduling was optimised and that we were there for them 24 hours a day to ensure any anomalies were quickly identified and resolved.  In the event, all that preparation paid off as our clients had a hassle-free technical service to rely on regardless of whether they were running on Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly known as Demandware), Magento or IBM Websphere.

So many congratulations to our clients on another bumper peak trading period and our thanks to our great Expert Services team who worked around the clock, monitoring and proactively informing our clients of the load and the results.  A great team effort and the fruit of a great partnership with our clients!

As online retailers, breathe a sigh of relief now that the sales madness of the Black Friday weekend is finally behind us, the underlying work continues as we support our clients through the crucial Christmas sales period.

Is Black Friday a key part of consumer behaviour over the festive period? We asked 1,200 British shoppers- download your free report here