Black Friday 2013: The perfect storm of online shopping

Rob Marvin
November 6, 2013 —  (Page 1 of 3)
This Nov. 29 will usher in a Black Friday the likes of which we’ve probably never seen before. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins on Thanksgiving Day this year (a day people have now taken to calling Thanksgivukkah), converging with peak Christmas shopping on that fateful Friday in a perfect storm of holiday e-commerce.

Considering this potentially unprecedented online shopper load, now is a good time to reexamine your application performance management (APM) strategy.

“People need to get ready for the holiday season,” said Andreas Grabner, technology strategist at Compuware APM. “They need to invest early on in testing. More and more people are shopping online, and especially on tablets and smartphones.”

Black Friday

The mobile shopping boom

Compuware predicted in its DevOps Survival Guide for the 2013 shopping season that more than 50% of online customers will shop using mobile devices, so it’s essential for developers to extend testing to smartphones and tablets to make sure their apps and content are optimized.

For businesses relying heavily on holiday sales, like personalized gift retailer Things Remembered, load testing desktop and mobile website functionality becomes the most important step in preparation.

“The growth of tablets has shaken the computing industry to its core,” said Things Remembered senior vice president and CIO Mark Lilien. On Oct. 17, he talked in a Compuware-sponsored webinar about his company’s approach to load testing for this holiday season.

(An example of a flawed rollout)

“We actually have a code freeze before we start load testing,” Lilien said. “We allow developers to change content, but we stop changing features and fixing defects.”

Things Remembered, he explained, is a business extremely dependent on card-giving holidays. Essentially everything on is purchased as a gift for someone else, often with personalized embroidery or engravings. So in preparation for Black Friday and this year’s holiday season, the company will use Compuware to run roughly three-dozen scripts, or different procedures a customer might use as they browse the site.

“This season our forecast expects a greater amount of traffic, pages and entry points,” Lilien said. “So we take the forecast and cross it with the scripts. If an item is expected to comprise 9% of sales, the script will incorporate the item 9% of the time. We test promotions, too. If a promotion will be used in 10% of transactions, the scripts run in 10% of the time.”

Related Search Term(s): Black Friday, Compuware, e-commerce, Things Remembered

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