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Attention e-Tailers! Busy season around the corner

Adrian Singer, 10-09-2006
With the holiday season just around the corner, many e-tailers are going to experience a significant boost in traffic (between four to eight times according to our stats) and hopefully a similar increase in sales.

This is truly a big deal!

Having worked with e-tailers in various industries over the years, I learned a lot of times, small tasks are forgotten leading to millions of dollars in lost sales. After all, what good is all this extra qualified traffic if your server crashed due to load or your payment gateway becomes unavailable?

To help you get prepared, I prepared a quick "holiday season preparation checklist for e-tailers". Go through the items one by one and make sure you have all ducks in a row -
  • Website Performance: Too much traffic means your website will crash. Setup load balancing with no single point of failure, or use a simple DNS round robin across several webservers.
  • Reliability: Setup a copy of your website with a different ISP or at minimum on a different subnet. Use a domain registrar with 0 TTL DNS so that if needed, you can instantly switch your domain IP address, setting it to point to the backup machine.
  • Database: In case your site uses a database (who doesn't these days), setup basic replication and/or a backup database server.
  • Payment Gateway: Setup a backup payment gateway. A combination of and LinkPoint is considered ideal.
  • Reserve Staff: In case you do really well, prepare reserve customer support and order fulfillment staff in advance. Set it up so that you can summon your reserve staff on demand as necessary.
  • Web Tracking & Realtime Monitoring: If you're not already using a tracking solution and a website monitoring system, make sure you get these two installed now before it's too late. You'll know when something goes wrong before your customers tell you about it.
  • Run Tests: Ask your web development company to simulate load using Mercury LoadRunner or any other compatible tool, to ensure all backup systems and procedures are operating properly.
That's it! Happy holidays!

P.S> If you don't expect a major increase in traffic during the holidays (and you're doing B2C), fire your Internet Marketing company and hire a new one.
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