The lowdown on Black Friday for hmv.

Black Friday has been and gone but how did the retail world fair in 2017?

hmv store

Spending in 2017 was up on 2016 despite a drop in the number of shoppers hitting the highstreets, so it seems most of us prefer to shop from the comfort of our own homes with laptops and mobiles at the ready.

As the annual shopping event kicked off, momentum built as the day went on. Barclaycard, who processes nearly half of all debit and credit card transactions in the UK, estimated that Black Friday spending finished up 8% on 2016.

Here we get the lowdown on one of Ridgeway’s very own clients, hmv, to see how they found Black Friday 2017 and how they ensured their website was firing on all cylinders.

It can be a stressful time of year, but I knew that Ridgeway had everything in hand and that the site was fully optimised and could cope with the volume of traffic we were anticipating. We couldn’t have had the success we had without their dedication and support particularly crucial at this time of year.

Terry Roffey

Retail and e-commerce Applications Manager, hmv

How did hmv and Ridgeway prepare the site for Black Friday?

Last year, Ridgeway migrated the hmv solution to Microsoft Azure to ensure a flexible and functional ecommerce platform that would manage their increasing number of products and pages with ease through peak and into the following year, as well as to allow the ability to scale the hosting environment, controlling the variance in requirements between non-peak traffic to peak traffic over periods such as Black Friday.

The Azure platform allowed Ridgeway to quickly scale up the number of web servers and the capacity of the database. The Application Insights (Azure monitoring tool) enabled us to make optimisations to the solution. These have included, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • Image optimisations
  • Speed improvements to the product/search results filters, pagination and sorting
  • Server response times

Ridgeway also separated the administration functions to an isolated instance. This allows all resources to be dedicated to processing user requests.

The traffic

Over the Black Friday weekend, Friday 24th November to Monday 27th November the hmv website experienced an increase in sessions of over 10% from the previous year.

The transactions

The ecommerce conversion rate was 4.34%, up 12% from 2016 with the volume of transactions up a massive 23% from the previous year.

The optimum shopping times

From 7am to 5pm the website was experiencing approximately 1,200 concurrant users and in the evening, that quickly went up to more than 1,600 peaking at just over 2,000 around 8pm. On average the site was handling 6,291 users per hour.

A mobile affair

Taking a look at how people were browsing and purchasing, we can see that nearly 60% of visits were on mobile with nearly 50% of transactions also being made via mobile, this was up 9% from 2016. 35% of transaction were made via desktop and 15% via tablet.

Overall, hmv had an incredibly successful Black Friday weekend with the traffic and number of transactions hardly slowing down the following weekend. Their website was able to handle the traffic volumes with ease, offering users a fast and responsive site with no downtime, issues or frustrations.