The day many kids look forward to every year.
Stay up late, try to scare people, beg for candy.
Everything a kid wants, all wrapped up in one night.
My kiddo is going as a princess this year, though she might take her viking sword and shield too.
But there's an even scarier costume I thought of. One that will strike fear into the hearts of every Shopify store owner.
It's just a plain t-shirt with the words:
It's Black Friday weekend and your website is down
<sound of a minor chord echoing down the hall...>
Shopify's been quite good at keeping stores up during the busy season, but even huge sites have outages so there's a chance of problems coming up.
Before that happens, you're going to want to prepare yourself by getting a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) in place now for an outage.
- Who will do what?
- Who and how do you contact the people responsible in your team and with vendors?
- How to test how much is impacted by the outage?
- How you'll monitor the outage and its resolution? (Hint: subscribe to Shopify's Status website)
- How can you work around your common partial failures? (e.g. only AMEX payments start failing, emails bouncing from Gmail)
- and probably most important, how will you communicate with customers about it?
If you've never done this before, you can whip up something basic easily. Aim for the highlights and keep the SOP just a quick bullet point list.
You won't cover every possible failure mode but having something in place will reduce the panic during an outage.
While you're at it, check on what your critical apps have in place too.
There are horror stories of popular and high-profile apps taking down thousands of stores for various reasons. A quick check of their setups and evaluation if you can temporarily turn them off can be all you need to do now.
This sort of thing is why I designed my apps for performance from day 0. It's also why I publish and maintain my holiday performance report.
Though it doesn't look like I'll need to change anything on it for this year. If anything Repeat Customer Insights is going to perform even better this year even though it's grown dramatically. All that work on it since summer is going to pay off.
Make sure Halloween night is the only time you're frightened this holiday season.