Managing Surging Demand on Black Friday

How Merchants can Ensure a Smooth Shopping Experience
November 20, 2023 | Expertise

Single’s Day, the largest shopping event in Asia, has only just finished, and the next big shopping event is already on its way. Or, more precisely, the next two events: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have evolved from a single-day shopping event into a week-long extravaganza, with consumers scouting for discounts both in-store and online. While clothing and accessories dominate Black Friday shopping, discounted electronic goods drive the popularity of Cyber Monday. 

The digital realm has witnessed a significant uptick in traffic as shoppers increasingly turn to the convenience of online shopping. For example, according to NIQ, online purchases in Turkey on these days are almost 270% higher than on regular weekdays. In Germany and Spain, the success of online shops is even four times higher than usual.

Consequences of Transaction Overload

However, this surge in demand brings with it the risk of website downtimes and transaction failures, which can be detrimental to a merchant's bottom line. When too many transactions occur simultaneously, websites may experience slow loading times, crashes, and even complete outages. This not only frustrates potential customers but leads to lost sales opportunities. In a world where every second counts, merchants must be proactive in ensuring their platforms can handle the heightened demand during special shopping days.

Lost Revenue: Downtimes and transaction failures result in lost sales opportunities. Many shoppers are unlikely to wait for a malfunctioning website to resolve itself and will simply move on to a competitor instead.

Brand Reputation Damage: A poor online shopping experience on Black Friday can tarnish a brand's reputation. Social media amplifies customer dissatisfaction, potentially driving away loyal customers.

Customer Trust Erosion: Trust is hard-earned and easily lost. Website and checkout issues erode customer’s trust in a brand, and recovering this trust is challenging.

PSP Outages: Merchants' websites are not the only web infrastructure experiencing heavy loads on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Payment service providers also experience far more traffic, and losing the ability to process payments due to a provider outage can result in a significant loss in revenue as well as tarnishing the merchant’s brand.

Preventing Downtimes

The following measures can help prevent downtimes and deal with surges in web traffic and transactions:

Scalable Infrastructure: Merchants should scale up their web infrastructure to cope with the predicted surge in traffic. Cloud-based solutions provide merchants with the necessary flexibility, allowing resources to be scaled up or down based on demand.

Load Testing: Merchants should conduct thorough load testing prior to major sales to help identify potential bottlenecks in their systems. This allows merchants to address issues before they have an impact on the user experience.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): Content delivery networks distribute the load across multiple servers geographically. This improves the speed of websites while also ensuring a more reliable and responsive user experience.

Monitoring and Alerts: Implementing real-time monitoring tools with automated alerts allows merchants to respond promptly to any website issues.

Fallback payment processors: Merchants can minimize the risk of PSP outages by using a multi-acquirer setup. This allows load balancing of transactions by routing a share of transactions to different PSPs. If one PSP experiences an outage, transactions can be temporarily routed to fallback options until the outage has been resolved, ensuring that no sales are lost due to circumstances outside the merchant’s control.

Infrastructure is Key

Black Friday presents an unparalleled opportunity for merchants to boost sales, but the increased traffic brings its own set of challenges. By investing in scalable infrastructure, conducting thorough load testing, leveraging CDNs and implementing robust monitoring systems, merchants can ensure a seamless shopping experience for customers despite the frenzy of Black Friday. Being able to process payments via multiple providers allows merchants to balance their payment load and ensure that if one PSP is temporarily unavailable, transactions can still be processed using fallback options.

Using a payment orchestration platform like IXOPAY means this routing of transactions is automatic. IXOPAY also provides merchants with 24/7 monitoring of their transactions. If any issues occur during the processing of transactions, our NOC team will inform the merchant, giving them the opportunity to resolve the issue. Taking proactive steps ahead of time and responding quickly to issues during the event itself helps merchants prevent downtimes and safeguard both their revenue and reputation.


IXOPAY simplifies complex processes for global merchants. Merchants can choose between an all-in-one payment orchestration platform and payment optimization modules covering areas such as omnichannel tokenization, 3DS, and network tokens. Depicting the entire transaction lifecycle from checkout to settlement and reconciliation, IXOPAY’s best-of-breed payment orchestration platform is PCI DSS Level 1 certified and highly scalable.

A single API allows merchants to integrate around 200 payment providers offering hundreds of global, regional and alternative payment methods. The platform supports smart transaction routing with cascading, state-of-the-art risk and fraud management, fully automated reconciliation and settlements processing, comprehensive reporting and access to hundreds of acquirers, payment service providers and alternative payment methods.

Trusted by many national and international businesses, IXOPAY, a TokenEx Company, has offices in both Austria and the USA.