Many retailers are tuning and testing their commerce platforms to make sure that their commerce sites are secure, free of vulnerabilities and can scale for the biggest shopping days of the year — Black Friday + Cyber Monday. I recently spoke with a senior commerce project manager on our team, Chris Durfee who talked about the work he was doing to help retailers get ready for this critical part of holiday season. He has compiled a list of tips to follow to ensure your commerce platform is humming and ready for the busy online shopping season.
Perform a Health Check – it’s designed to help ID vulnerabilities in your platform, 3rd party hosting sites, etc. This is a service that Perficient Digital offers, but you can perform this on your own. If you do, be sure to add these three items to your check list:
- Perform Site testing (CPU utilization / page load) and or traffic analysis if anticipated traffic volumes will spike
- Check for security vulnerabilities and make sure patches are in place
- Confirm site SSL certificates expiration dates and extend your certificate in advance so that it will not expire on or near the busy holiday shopping season.
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Establish a Comprehensive Catalog & Cart Testing Process– make sure that you thoroughly test catalog and cart promotions that are set-up for any items on ‘special’ during Black Friday and Cyber Monday including:
- Item configuration: inventory, warehousing, special workflows, special shipping
- Customer Configuration: do you need to set up any special customer groups or reporting in order to track sales and site activity?
- Site Promotions / Customer Communications: will you be creating any special landing pages, sending out email blasts, PPC campaigns with click thru tracking, retargeting, or other?
Lock Down Dates for Your Code Freeze — you can minimize the risk of introducing any unplanned dependencies or possible outages. We recommend setting up a go/no-go threshold leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday by deploying changes well before Cyber Monday or wait until after your holiday shopping is complete to minimize risk.
Run a holiday season “Dry Run” – perform a cyber-monday dry run on your staging or demo environment to test all of your planned online activities including:
- Configure your catalog
- Set up your promotions
- Send a broadcast email to an email seed list
- Have the seed list promotion recipients respond to the email
- Track the seed list reponse through the cart to checkout process and verify sales activity through admin/back end reporting tools
Perficient also runs through our own testing in advance of the holidays and we have resources on standby should you have issues with your site. To learn more about our commerce holiday preparation activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org