65% of online retailers can't meet holiday demand — can you?

Now is the time to gear up for Black Friday and make sure your site can handle the spike of traffic while offering the best possible online shopping experience. We've got 10 tips to help with that.


10 tips to get ready for the holiday season

Check last year metrics
Tip #1

Check last year's metrics

Review analytics from past Black Fridays to establish a baseline for normal and peak load times and learn what parts of your site will need bolstering. Don’t forget to analyze the top-performing search keywords and product pages. 

sync tech with business
Tip #2

Sync your tech requirements to business goals

Putting on a flash sale? Expect spikes and have a caching plan in place. Due to the high volume of traffic, make sure your real-time indexing strategies are evaluated and in place. For instance, supply chain issues make it critical that you are able to update any unavailable product as fast as possible.

headless search
Tip #3

Go headless with search

Accelerate your headless commerce transformation with search. Using API-first solutions across the entire website journey will ensure a seamless, unified experience. Plus, if any service isn’t coping, you can toggle it on/off to keep offering the core experience to customers and avoid a crash during peak periods.

mobile first
Tip #4

Think mobile first, more than ever

Your mobile UX needs to be top-notch. Better than your desktop. About 66% of online shoppers use mobile to search and buy. Take a deep dive into page weight, accessibility, and navigation.

test strategy
Tip #5

Test, test, test

  • Run several simulations of the event using different type of queries
  • Load test for potential spikes (from normal to peak traffic)
  • Use A/B testing to verify and validate your ranking strategy
powerful infrastructure
Tip #6

Beef up your infrastructure

Give your SaaS providers, like Algolia, a heads up on the key metrics you’re tracking and targets you’re  aiming for. This informs decisions on beefing up the infrastructure to handle the load. For instance, adding temporary DSNs can help with the expected volume increase and getting a load balancer can help ensure your platform is correctly dimensioned. 

optimize search strategy
Tip #7

Refine your search strategy

Fine tune the relevance of your search results with rules that catch "sale" words and auto filter for products that have a sale=true attribute.
Import custom ranking values to facilitate your trading strategy. Good candidates for this could include products with high stock levels or older products that are high priority to sell. Make sure to keep these extra ranking data fresh throughout the sale as stock positions change rapidly.

product discovery
Tip #8

Increase product discovery

Use user signals on your site to drive AI based re-ranking or personalized products display to enrich the shopping journey. 
Increase product discovery further by using product recommendations carousels across the pages. Fine tune them using merchandizing to maximize conversion.

Optimize infrastructure
Tip #9

Turn off what you don’t need

Have non-essential features behind a feature toggle tool like Unleash so you can turn them off if needed without major technical effort.

constant monitoring
Tip #10

Set up continual monitoring

Use your testing to plan as much in advance as possible and set up special company-wide monitoring throughout the entire event. This will allow you to spot peaks of traffic and make sure your infrastructure is holding up. 

From Black Friday crash to $500M win

For online fashion retailer Gymshark, getting the right infrastructure set up well in advance of Black Friday netted a $500 million win in revenue - while avoiding a massive site crash.

Read the story