Christmas 2014 will I think be remembered as the year the ecommerce/logistic experts got it wrong, and never shall that mistake be made again? Well that's a little bit of an exaggeration but many large companies were caught on the back foot, following what were spactatular BlackFriday and CyberMonday sales. For the first time we also saw online queues to access online sales (curries.co.uk).
While having a website working is better than crashed; being able to sell via an ecommerce shop is kinda essential. Having to queue is just one more barrier to customers using your shop and will of lost curry's a large (aka. eye watering) amount of money. However, that still peferablel to an outage. Tesco was another ecommerce store that used the queueing system. Argos and JohnLewis both suffered and died on their feet during BlackFriday ... with Argos posting the following sad message:
PostcodeAnywhere, the goto company which provides a postcode to address lookup for websites has though the use of their widget on ecommerce stores provided some great insight into what was happening. The following graph appeared on the mirror.co.uk and clearly shows the SPIKE in traffic.
The shape of the above graphic is what i would expect to see on any give day, however the volume of activitiy isn't. To put this into context the next graphic from PostcodeAnywhere shows the traffic for the last 30 days ... i think you'll be able to guess what the two peaks are (BlackFriday/CyberMonday).
On the left you can see just the traffic information; on the right you'll see the breakdown of traffic based on devices. While desktop windows remains the larges plaform, look at what's number two and three ... they are both mobile.
Online shopping is being done increasingly by iPhone and iPad. As far back as the mid 2000's the prediction for swap over to mobile for internet access was being made, indicating 2013/2014 as the cirtical point. Now i beleive that we can also see it being the year when mobile shopping became critical too.
With all the shopping demands made online ... the postal system was the next to be hit with all the additional traffic. The great news here for RoyalMail is they are used to seeing peak of traffic and seem to of been scales up to match the need. Howerver other providers were less fortunate.
Delivery ... Ho Ho Yodel ... with all those purchases they need to get to their customers and whlie RoyalMail/Amazon have been going great guns Yodel has been broken. As recently as in November Dick Stead, Executive Chairman of Yodel, said: "For our retail clients this vital season is known as the ‘golden quarter’ and we are fully prepared for parcel volumes to reach record levels." supplychaindigital.com. Their dedicated peak planning team had forcast and planned for a 15% increase in traffic, unfortunatly salea were up 50%. The result of this huge miss calculation was a letter from the chairman announcing a pause to it's service of two days in order to clear down the backlog. Marks and Spencers is another company with logistic problems, but this time due to operational issues at it's new state of the art distribution centre.
BlackFriday in numbers
2010 the first Amazon BlackFriday sale in the UK
1,340% increase in traffic to JohnLewis between 7h00-8h00am on BlackFriday lastyear compared with the same period in 2012
481 Sainsbury's stores offer BlackFriday sales for the first time this year
60% year-on-year online traffic increase according to data from Experian and IMRG
3% fall in Marks and Spencers share price due to BlackFriday distribution problems
4 days the actual time taken for next days delivery with Marks and Spencer!