Shop Direct group chief information officer Andy Wolfe said the retailer has “tested the hell” out of its systems ahead of Black Friday.
On Black Friday last year the online retailer, which owns fashion brand Very, attracted record traffic, with 8 million site requests in 60 minutes at one point of the day. Orders were up 134% on the previous Black Friday.
“Preparation is absolutely critical. It’s critical you use all the trading information you have from the previous year. It’s valuable insight”
Andy Wolfe, Shop Direct
Speaking at Retail Week Tech & Ecomm conference this morning, Shop Direct group chief information officer Andy Wolfe warned that events such as Black Friday and Cyberweek “should send chills down any CIO – they send a chill down my…”
Although the retailer was able to maintain trading capabilities last year, Wolfe said the Liverpool-based retailer had kicked off planning for this year’s event straight after Cyber Monday. “We take incidents and logs of every bit of data. We look at what our customers say on social media.”
The amount of traffic recorded was eight times the amount anticipated, said Wolfe.
The IT boss said Shop Direct had put a lot of the lessons it learnt from last year into action and had “tested the hell out” of its systems ahead of this year’s event. “We do about 10 tests in the run-up to Black Friday.”
“Preparation is absolutely critical,” advised Wolfe. “It’s critical you use all the trading information you have from the previous year. It’s valuable insight.”
He said the retailer also used social media during the event, gleaning “real insights” from what its customers are saying about the retailer. Wolfe said this flags up the “problems that haven’t shown up in our monitoring tool”.
Wolfe also warned retailer to think about plan B. “No matter how prepared you are, think of the things that might happen.”
Shop Direct invested “tens of millions” into developing its IT systems over the past three years, with the same amount expected to be ploughed into the next three, said Wolfe.
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