As the year winds down for most people, we know it’s only ramping up for those in retail. During this important (and profitable) time of year, the last thing brands want to worry about is difficulties with their marketing platform. That’s why Marigold Engage+ has taken steps to ensure that our platform is sharper, stronger, and responsive during the holiday season.
Holiday sales set to increase
You might have started your wish lists for the year, but retailers have been planning since January — or before! The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts that holiday sales for 2019 are expected to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018, and the average person will spend $1,047 USD this holiday season.
Of the shoppers NRF surveyed, 74% indicated they plan to use their smartphone or tablet to research and shop for the holidays, and 56% of people said they plan to do their shopping online. NRF expects online and other non-store sales to increase between 11% and 14% — that’s a total of $162.6 billion to $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year. That means that $1 of every $5 spent in November through December will be spent online.
Because Marigold Engage+ serves so many retail clients, we know just how critical it is for brands to nudge people from seeing an offer to making a purchase in the online store as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How Marigold Engage+ prepares for the holidays
The holidays are a time for family and friends to come together and at Marigold Engage+, it brings our teams even closer together. Our technology operations, product, and security teams have been working diligently to ensure that our platforms are healthy and capable of handling the volume of campaigns our clients are set to build and deploy throughout the holiday season, including crucial days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In other words, we need to be prepared — and here’s how we do it:
Prepping the platform for the holiday rush
Preparing the platform means replacements, upgrades, patching, re-configuration, remediation of bugs and defects, and implementing client-requested enhancements. These measures are essential to the health and stability of our platform during the upcoming holiday season.
Doing this allowed our technology teams to identify and focus on more than 40 global projects, including adding additional capacity, building resiliency and high-availability in the platform, and implementing tools for better optics into our systems to gauge performance. We’ve patched more than 3,000 servers and 600 network devices globally, upgraded to best-in-class storage solutions, eliminated numerous single points of failure, made system-wide optimizations to improve overall performance, and consolidated two of our legacy data centers. This year-long vigilance demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the health and agility of our platforms and dedication to our clients to provide them with technology that can handle their needs in their busiest season.
Code and change freeze: preserving the platform
One of our critical initiatives during the holiday season is a code/change freeze. The freeze period is established in order to minimize changes to our platforms and our infrastructure to maintain platform stability for our clients during this critical time period. During this time, there will be no planned production deployments or infrastructure changes implemented. The holiday code freeze covering our global platform goes into effect November 1, and will extend through Friday, January 3, 2020.
Code/change freezes keep new changes from entering the system and reduces the risk of introducing any new issues to product functionality to ensure our platform is performing optimally over the course of the holiday season.
All hands on deck holiday staffing
Quick response time is essential during this busy time. To meet client needs this time of year, we implement the Holiday SWAT Response Team, a cross-functional team comprised of members from our technology, support, success, and services organizations.
This team is on call 24/7 in the weeks leading up to and through Black Friday and Cyber Monday to ensure peak platform performance at this critical time. This Holiday SWAT team monitors the health, stability, and performance of our platforms and stands ready to respond to any situation that may arise.
- “War Rooms” are established across regions where leadership and technology members will be monitoring the health, stability, and performance of the platform, and will be ready to respond immediately to any situation.
- SWAT team members have multiple daily check-ins, Monday through Sunday (including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday) to ensure that all platforms are running efficiently.
- The support team is staffed 24/7 throughout the holiday season.
With the planning and work that retailers put into having a successful and profitable holiday season, we want to assure you that Marigold Engage+ plans just as hard to support them.
We’re here to help
No matter the channel, Marigold Engage+ is committed to ensuring a successful and efficient holiday season for all of our clients. That’s why we put in place a holiday readiness program to support our clients when they need it most. If you have any further questions about our preparations or how we can ensure a smooth holiday season, get in touch with us. We’re happy to help.