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Etsy Did Nearly $20,000 in Sales Per Minute Last Cyber Monday. Here’s How Its Engineers Plan to Survive the Surge This Year

Cyber Monday is like the Super Bowl of shopping for e-commerce sites. As such, it’s usually not the day to roll out changes to website code. After all, a golden four-hour window during Cyber Monday could make or break or sales.

Etsy takes a different tack. For the 14-year-old marketplace, the biggest online shopping holiday of the year–when Etsy sees double the sales and search activity that it does on a normal day–is not off limits for code tweaks. Etsy continuously deploys code onto the site, sometimes as many as 30 times a day, says chief technical officer Mike Fisher. Continual deployment, he argues, helps keep the staff in the rhythm of making fixes quickly too. “I think that’s the best way to keep things stable.”

Cyber Monday 2018 put this strategy to the test. On that day, Etsy’s 2.6 million sellers pulled in an average of around $19,000 in gross merchandise sales per minute. In the middle of it all, a tool the company had released in the days leading up to the shopping holiday malfunctioned. Sellers were supposed to have been able to add their items to a sitewide Cyber Monday sale via their online dashboard; the problem was, the tool didn’t recognize some time zones properly. That meant that for some of the sellers east of Etsy’s Brooklyn headquarters, their sales automatically closed long before Cyber Monday ended.

The company says it communicated the issue to sellers as soon as it figured out what had happened, and about 60 percent of sellers were able to re-start their sales. To make up for the mistake, Etsy offered advertising and listing credits to the sellers affected.

While the glitch hasn’t deterred the company from rolling out code changes around the big day, it has helped inform Etsy’s plan of action to prevent possible site issues this year. To prepare for the surge of activity–the site saw 140 product searches per second last year–the 400-person engineering team is making some changes. They’re scaling up their servers and staff will work extra shifts. The team will also go into what they call code “slush” mode, during which they don’t execute any major changes but they do continue to push out short lines of code to continuously improve the site’s functioning. Fisher notes that many organizations instead prefer a code “freeze,” where sites are essentially untouchable during peak times.

Beyond the slush, Fisher and all of his engineers host a pre-mortem meeting before the week to brainstorm any potential problems before they arise as well as potential solutions. When imagining potential issues, Fisher says they conceptualize a tree of scenarios, where a root issue may affect many other branching issues. From there, they make a plan for every issue on the tree. For example, in the case of, say, a checkout malfunction, Etsy has a response and action plan for everything from a small cart malfunction to a large-scale event in which the leadership team would need to get involved with a public response.

He also prepares the team with worksheets that have action items and incident response plans for situations brainstormed in the pre-mortem. This includes having a plan for communicating issues internally and externally–you need to know how to explain what happened to customers and sellers, too, Fisher suggests.

And of course, it’s never too early to prepare. “In fact, we’ve already started planning for next year,” Fisher says.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Etsy has made predictions for this year’s Cyber Monday sales. The engineering team created this year’s plan based on last year’s site performance. Last year Etsy saw around $19,000 in sales per minute and 140 product searches per second. The article had also misstated Etsy’s checkout per second rate. The company declined to disclose the correct figure.

By Anna MeyerWeb producer, Inc.com

Source: Etsy Did Nearly $20,000 in Sales Per Minute Last Cyber Monday. Here’s How Its Engineers Plan to Survive the Surge This Year

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When Is Black Friday 2019? Expected Sale Dates For Amazon, Best Buy, Target And Walmart

Black Friday 2019 is running one week later this year. The big day will begin on November 29, the day after Thanksgiving. But, despite this late start, many Black Friday deals will start running in early November (in fact, some great ones are even live now). So here is your definitive guide to Black Friday 2019 sales times for Amazon, Best Buy, Target And Walmart. Be prepared.

Pre-Black Friday Sales Are Starting Now 

As mentioned, the first Black Friday sales have already started and Best Buy currently has some of the best AirPods deals you’ll find this year. I still expect the majority of sales to start on 1 November (Amazon is famed for its month-long Black Friday shopping) but Best Buy has already tempted other major retailers to break ranks early. Walmart, for example, will start some solid deals tomorrow (bookmark my page to know when they go live) and I expect the damn will then burst.

Best Buy Black Friday 2019: Here Are The First Deals

Forbes Gordon Kelly

The Real Black Friday Deals Begin Thanksgiving Week

Today In: Innovation

Despite all these pre-sales, most in-store sales are unlikely to start until Thanksgiving Day, though online Black Friday sales will begin as early as Monday, November 25. Here are my predictions for when the most popular retailers will start their sales.

Amazon – I expect Amazon to start its ‘Countdown to Black Friday’ sale on November 1. It will probably begin its ‘Black Friday Week’ event on Friday, November 22. Watch out for juicy Apple deals this year but otherwise, I recommend holding off until Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday for the best doorbusters.

Link: My full Amazon Black Friday Deals Preview 

Best Buy – If prior years are any indication, Best Buy will start its in-store sale at 5pm on Thanksgiving Day in 2019. Previously it has closed at around 1 am on Black Friday morning before reopening at 8 am. The pressure is now on to stay open all night, but I suspect Best Buy could use a similar format this year to create some separation between its Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales.

Link: My full Best Buy Black Friday Deals Preview 

Target – Target’s in-store Black Friday sale will begin on Thanksgiving Day at 6 pm this year. Online deals will be available all day on Thursday and Friday with some deals remaining live over the weekend. Target normally has an early-access event on the day it releases its ad scan, which should be around November 11/12.

Link: My full Target Black Friday Deals Preview 

Walmart – Sticking to tradition, I understand Walmart will start its in-store Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving Day at 6 pm. Despite pressure to go earlier, Walmart seems to be locked into this timeslot, but it will hold online Black Friday sales throughout Thanksgiving and Black Friday with most deals available across the entire weekend through to Cyber Monday.

Link: My full Walmart Black Friday Deals Preview 

I will be extensively tracking Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 deals and publishing the best offers daily, so be sure to bookmark my page.

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Black Friday 2019 Ad Preview: Costco’s Best Deals

Apple ‘Black Friday’ 2018 Ad Preview: Expected iPad, iPhone, MacBook Deals

I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in b2b print journalism covering tech companies at the height of the dot com boom and switched to covering consumer technology as the iPod began to take off. A career highlight for me was being a founding member of TrustedReviews. It started in 2003 and we were repeatedly told websites could not compete with print! Within four years we were purchased by IPC Media (Time Warner’s publishing division) to become its flagship tech title. What fascinates me are the machinations of technology’s biggest companies. Got a pitch, tip or leak? Contact me on my professional Facebook page. I don’t bite.

Source: When Is Black Friday 2019? Expected Sale Dates For Amazon, Best Buy, Target And Walmart

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Why are we talking about the holiday’s in the middle of August? Because putting in the work to create Black Friday ads starts now – at least, if you want to succeed for the 2019 holiday season. Last year, we had incredible wins for our clients, but we started prepping in October. This year, we’re taking it a step further and planning our marketing strategy for Black Friday 2019 in the summer. Your first step in preparing your brand starts with learning from this video, where Taylor Holiday breaks down the three main marketing strategies we are laser-focusing on for the Black Friday shopping season. Stay tuned as we release weekly content about holiday advertising strategy and actionable steps you can take to win on Black Friday. Want more strategies for success beyond our awesome video content? Work with us at Common Thread! Learn more about how to scale your ads for the holiday’s here: https://commonthreadco.com/pages/contact

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Even In The iPhone Age, Funko’s Fast-Moving Toy Business Is Thriving

The first day of New York Comic Con is usually relatively quiet, but today the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is jam-packed, and Brian Mariotti, the CEO of Funko, has to shout. Mariotti is in town to preside over Funko’s 2,500-square-foot booth, a pop-up store selling limited-edition licensed character figures and collectibles. Workers in Funko T-shirts restock shelves while a long line of Funko fans wait behind crowd barriers. On the other side of the ropes, Mariotti shows off the list of items that have already sold out. The creepy twin girls from The Shining went quickest, followed by an orange-chrome-colored Batman and a Notorious B.I.G. with a crown………

Source: Even In The iPhone Age, Funko’s Fast-Moving Toy Business Is Thriving

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