As we prepared for this year’s holiday infrastructure planning, we struggled to determine how much capacity should be pre-loaded (upscaled) and how we would handle exceptions that happen during the peak volume. If we upscale too much and too early, then our costs to our customers will potentially be more than we need, and if we are too conservative, then we risk site slowness issues and missed sales opportunities for our customers. Finding the right balance is critical.
This year is more challenging than usual as we’ve seen a Covid Bump in traffic for most of our customers and know that there will be an increase in traffic during the holiday period. What we don’t know is will it be focused on the Cyber 5 as in year’s past? Will it be spread out more evenly over several weeks? At the end of the day, we have to scale for the biggest day which is Cyber Monday.
During the last 6 months of Covid, we’ve seen very significant increases in traffic across all of our customer’s sites many hitting Cyber Monday levels for days to months in a row. Many customers saw this spike more-so during the lockdown periods of April and May while others did better once some restrictions started to ease in June and July.
I’ve talked to many of you about your holiday plans, and most are taking a conservative position on inventory and expecting much higher traffic and somewhat stronger sales than last year. I know this could all change if the status of the pandemic shifts between now and November. With all of the information in mind, we concluded that our best plan is for a short upscale from November 19 – December 17. This will support a Cyber Monday that included last year’s Cyber Monday levels plus the Covid Bump from earlier this year. We believe that this should be sufficient for all customers unless some or all customers really go beyond this expectation. If we need more capacity, we will add it during the holiday selling season. This will be seamless for our customers.
As we thought about pricing, we have decided that the most flexible and fair pricing strategy for this years upscaling is to offer a base upscaling fee that includes the sizing mentioned above (Cyber 5 last year + Covid bump), and has a mechanism to further upscale should we need to do so. We believe that this best serves our customers and Kalio making the management of necessary capacity our responsibility, and gives you an upfront understanding of our charges. We don’t overbuild on infrastructure that may or may not be needed, and we can upscale as needed should capacity start to get utilized.
As always, we will be monitoring your sites very carefully throughout and making any necessary adjustments as we go. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about this year’s holiday upscaling plan. We look forward to a stable and strong fall holiday selling season.
Please refer to the Basecamp Holiday Upscaling To-do under Notifications for the details of your specific upscaling plan.