Black Friday 2021 – preparing for record volumes
Every year we help you with some tips and tricks on how to leverage the SAP Emarsys Platform and prepare for the biggest sale event of the year.
If you haven’t already, please have a look at our previous posts Black Friday 2021 – 10 Points to Help you Prepare, Get your email program ready for Black Friday and Black Friday 2021 – Last-minute checks.
Sending more than 11 billion emails per month requires constant dedication from the engineering and support teams who work tirelessly to scale and optimize our infrastructure and support your growth. So that’s what I’m going to look at today – the background changes made by these unsung heroes which let the rest of us focus on creating the best journeys and providing the best experience for our customers.
So, what have we done?
One of the most significant projects by our engineering teams this past year was to move even more of our infrastructure to the cloud so that you can benefit from more flexibility and scalability.
A good example of this was when we totally rethought the email online version. By moving this to a cloud solution, the new online version generation is much more robust, and we can store and retrieve online versions much faster than ever before.
Other features which have similarly benefitted from this approach are:
- Interactions – event triggers are picked up and messages triggered even faster than before, rate limits have been doubled and Wait nodes optimized using new technology
- Mobile Engage – faster message generation and queue handling, as well as reduced inbox response times
- Segmentation – faster segment handling across all channels
All these functionalities are now available in all accounts by default.
These are just a few of the many, many small changes under the hood where we have utilized the power of the cloud in recent years, and we will continue to do so. And there is a knock-on effect as well – thanks to these efforts we’ve also improved our telemetry to better predict, alert and respond to incidents.
Another big project was completed this year in our European Data Center, when we moved our main hardware infrastructure to a new datacentre. By doing this we significantly extended our external bandwidth while improving the robustness of several core infrastructure elements like load balancer, connection redundancy, logging infrastructure, internal cloud, internal queueing solutions, and so on.
Is all this really necessary?
Absolutely! Year on year, email volume is already up over 20% in 2021; from an average of 8.5B emails per month last year to close to 11B a month in 2021. And that’s not even factoring in the Black Friday spikes.
We have also noticed that many of you are really stepping up and beginning to create better, more sophisticated journeys for your customers, so while the mail generation infrastructure was extended, we also decreased the load on some shared environments to give you even more room for growth.
All these efforts from our Product, Engineering and Support teams to deliver flexibility, scalability and optimizations allowed us, with the same infrastructure, to not only manage this increase of volume but also improve the sending speed of your campaigns by increasing the percentage of emails delivered in less than 1h from 97.7% in 2020 to 98.9% so far.
So what does this all mean?
For you, it means peace of mind and the knowledge that, whatever your strategy and however you have set up your campaigns, your customers will enjoy a truly relevant, real-time and personalized experience with your brand this year, which you can convert into database and revenue growth and lay the foundation for a record-breaking 2022.
For us, Black Friday is becoming the day when we relax a little, sit back and watch our technology perform at its best. It’s a lovely feeling.
There is a call for mass worker walkout on Black Friday: https://www.reddit.com/r/antiwork/comments/qbgspv/simple_planned_walkouts_on_black_friday/
I'm wondering whether this will influence some technology decisions.
Thanks Jelena, you raise a very good point.
I think it is too soon to make any predictions, and I wouldn’t want to make any recommendations concerning such an emotive issue. But whatever steps retailers take, technology will be a major part of them.
In the meantime, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.