Get Ready for Black Friday 2022: Here’s How
July 12, 2022

Get Ready for Black Friday 2022: Here’s How

Performance Testing
Test Automation

165 million people shopped online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021, with the entire Cyber Five window proving itself yet again to be an important source of e-commerce revenue. The weeks before Black Friday have also become lucrative for e-commerce sites, with some reports showing that 63% of shoppers take advantage of pre-Thanksgiving sales, which is driving early spending.

These numbers show that now, more than ever, it is important that e-commerce and retail websites prepare for these traffic spikes. They need to ensure that their shoppers enjoy a fun and frictionless shopping experience. Websites that crash or are slow to load will drive buyers to competitor websites that did test their website and app for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, on time.

By testing now instead of delaying testing to the next spring or quarter, you will have time to plan your tests, run them, analyze KPIs, fix bottlenecks and bugs, and ensure your systems are ready!

To help, here are seven best practices and tips for preparing your website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

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7 Best Practices to Prepare for Black Friday

1. Start Load Testing Early

‘The early bird catches the worm’ and the same goes for performance testing. The earlier you start your Black Friday load testing, the sooner you will catch bottlenecks and the sooner you can fix them. This is becoming especially important given the earlier waves of shoppers looking to benefit from pre-Thanksgiving deals.

Load testing early means starting to plan your load tests now. After defining your business goals for the test, plan which of the following tests will help you achieve them:

  • Load Tests - for understanding system behavior under an expected load.
  • Stress Tests - for understanding the system’s capacity limits.
  • Soak Tests - for examining the system’s abilities to hold a continuous expected load.
  • Spike Tests - for examining the system’s abilities to hold a heavy load that was abruptly and quickly generated.
  • Isolation Tests - a repeated test for examining if a known and detected system error or issue previously detected by the same test, was fixed.

But load testing early also means incorporating your testing earlier in the development lifecycle. As development is ‘shifting left’, more organizations are incorporating Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Development (CD) and Continuous Testing (CT) strategies. By load testing regularly every time you change code, commit builds and deploy, you will catch most of the problems before big events like Black Friday. This does not mean it is not important to run special tests before Black Friday, but come as prepared as you can. Just like shows and plays, hold many rehearsals before the big event.

Learn how The New York Times ran 8 stress tests for 40X+ traffic before a peak event in this on-demand webinar >>

2. Load Test Your Complete Stack

When preparing your environment for load testing, test your infrastructure and your software,  as well as the app. Do not forget the communication equipment, databases, networks, etc. 

By making the testing environment as similar as possible to production, you are making the test more accurate. This strategy will help you raise the number of bottlenecks you discover in time and reducing the risk of surprises during Black Friday peaks.

3. Monitor Your Load Test Back End Results

Load testing provides you with metrics and performance KPIs like Response Time and Latency, and the correlations between them. These can help identify any anomalies in your SLAs, especially compared to your performance baseline. It’s also important to go over backend KPIs like the Cache Hits and DB Queries, see the error log for exceptions, and also go over standard hardware characteristics like CPU/Memory/Network usage and auto-scale status.

4. Simulate Real World User Scenarios

Create load testing based on real user habits. If they like to spend a lot of time browsing through your app catalog, put an emphasis there. If they tend to double check their details on your site form, make sure your load test includes those pauses. A real world load test makes sure you eliminate relevant bottlenecks, thus ensuring spectacular user experience. If you are missing testing data for these scenarios, BlazeData can help.

5. Monitor User Experience

Load testing ensures your site or app won’t crash, but you probably also want to make sure your users have a pleasant experience and they can access any page they want to. After all, you wouldn’t want the “Checkout” button to be inaccessible and hidden behind a form for certain browsers.

Therefore, as part of the DevOps and CI approach, we recommend you also test your web browsers and operating systems with a comprehensive Black Friday testing checklist. This way, you can discover if any of the changes you made didn’t affect performance - but did affect the user experience.

6. Take Third-Party Partners and Suppliers into Account

When you make changes on your app or site, you don’t just affect your own product. You might also influence third-party scripts on your app or site, or you might crash third-party devices and servers if you don’t prepare them properly. For example, different CDNs require different approaches, and the AWS load balancer (ELB) requires a warm-up before load balancing.

Even though this is part of what you are testing, we recommend you contact your partners  beforehand and conduct all the preparations necessary. This ensures that the load test will take into account their preparations and full capabilities (instead of partial capabilities, as might happen if they don’t get a chance to prepare). It also saves you time and effort, since you won’t need to deal with basic third-party issues that could have easily been fixed. 

You can also use mock services to eliminate third-party dependencies. Incorporating virtual services into your CI/CD pipeline can help your team test faster and more completely.    

7. Test on Mobile Devices

68% of 2021 Black Friday and Cyber Monday traffic was on mobile, so optimizing the mobile experience for shoppers is key for your Cyber Five success. Ensure a consistent experience by testing for all mobile browsers, OSs, and network types. Platforms like Perfecto can help with their mobile device cloud, which enables teams to test at scale.

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Make Your Black Friday Testing a Success

Get ready for Black Friday by starting your tests now. BlazeMeter provides a cloud-based continuous testing solution to ensure your website and app can handle all your shoppers, making them - and you - happy.

Start testing today

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