Etsy takes steps to help its technical performance during Cyber Monday – Business Insider


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Cyber Monday is a massive sales day for e-tailers, as it brought in $7.9 billion in online sales in the US in 2018 — outpacing Black Friday’s $6.2 billion, according to Adobe Analytics.

Cyber Week US Online Revenue


Business Insider Intelligence


This year it’s expected to reach new heights and rack up $9.4 billion, making it immensely important for all e-tailers. As an example, Etsy transacted almost $19,000 gross merchandise sales (GMS) per minute on Cyber Monday 2018, which was the company’s highest-ever single-day performance, making Cyber Monday 2019 a key sales event for e-tailers like Etsy that are looking to replicate or exceed their past success.

To capitalize on Cyber Monday’s e-commerce volume, e-tailers must be equipped to handle surging activity on their sites without creating interruptions for consumers. Etsy expects Cyber Monday traffic to be double its normal-day activity, which means its website will have to facilitate around 1 million queries a second, according to Etsy. This includes actions like searches, which also at least doubled on Cyber Monday 2018 relative to an average Monday.

If a site can’t handle this significant increase in traffic and queries, it can lead to performance issues, Etsy CTO Mike Fisher told Business Insider Intelligence. And if these issues cause sluggishness or downtime, Cyber Monday consumers hungry for deals may get frustrated and abandon their shopping carts, eating into volume on the holiday: A slow site alone can increase abandonment by 75% and cut loyalty in half — effects that can be exacerbated if the site goes down entirely. 

Etsy has taken a few steps to help its technical performance during Cyber Monday, which could be beneficial for other e-tailers as well.

  • Etsy increases how many people are on call to help consumers on Cyber Monday. The e-tailer always has people on call to help consumers with any issues they have on its site, but Etsy staffs up leading up to and during Cyber Week, which runs from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, Fisher said. Extra staff can help the e-tailer handle the increased shopper volume, upping its ability to assist customers who might be confused or having issues because of increased traffic.
  • The e-tailer runs a battery of tests and makes numerous plans for the event in advance. Etsy is currently already in planning for Cyber Monday 2020, Fisher said, emphasizing how much time goes into the process. The e-tailer plans out its computer capacity and tests its speeds throughout the purchase process to make sure it’s set up to succeed during the holidays. It also does a “premortem,” in which it examines what might fail or cause difficulties with its technology or business operations when the site faces increased traffic. This test also determines what it should do if something goes wrong. This sort of planning can limit the impact of glitches and other issues that can pop up on Cyber Monday, which might otherwise prove catastrophic for an e-tailer’s sales, making it a practice e-tailers should consider adopting.

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