This year the Thanksgiving holiday has special significance given that I’m now working in the retail industry. Thanksgiving is quite literally the calm before the storm. The storm that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Those two days are the most important shopping days out of the entire calendar year to almost every retailer. What’s my biggest concern? That Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be too good, so much so that various front-end and back-end systems will fail and/or collapse under the surge of orders and shopping users. I’m not talking about just web based E-Commerce but also the traditional brick and mortar store fronts and all the POS (Point of Sale) transactions and credit charges that are sure to flood our data centers, servers and networks. Black Friday also marks the start of the holiday shopping season which runs through Christmas. That’s a total of 28 days where my team and I will need to be on our game and make sure we quickly address any issues or problems that might arise. Any downtime during the holiday peak is very painful to the bottom line. If for instance you have a website that takes in $1,000,000 an hour in sales and you’re down for even just 10 minutes, that equates to ~ $166,000 in lost sales. If we’re down for 30 minutes that’s $500,000 in potential lost sales. In this case downtime can literally cost you your job and then some. If that wasn’t enough the recent cyber break-ins at some of the largest retailers has everyone on edge.
It’s my belief that we’ve adequately prepared ourselves and that the infrastructure and architecture we’ve assembled including the Internet Service Providers and Content Delivery Networks will meet the surging demand over the next 28 days.
I definitely hope to enjoy the turkey, stuffing, carrots, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and gravy this year, not to mention the ice cream and apple pie. Here in the states, football or American Football as it’s referred to abroad is a very popular sport. I also hope to take in some of the football game between my local Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The wife cheerfully reminded me after proof-reading this post that I’ll also be spending some time in the kitchen doing the dishes! ;)