No sooner is summer over than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas seem to be around the corner. So, how can retailers prepare for the peaks of peak trading?


From statistics to insights

My first piece of advice is to look behind the statistics for real insight. We regularly get asked in tenders and RFPs what our throughput is. We’ll happily tell customers how many transactions we can process per second. Moreover that during Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US, we see roughly five times our normal daily peak — and can more than handle it with capacity to spare.

However, in my experience customers don’t necessarily know what their own capacity is. They know how many transactions they process on a given day or month. But they don’t necessarily know what their real peak looks like. Or how many transactions per second they see. Capacity planning with customers is a case in point. The statistics customers give us before peak season can be very different to the reality.

Customers can address this by investing in monitoring and reporting capabilities. We can also take this pain away for our customers. We’ve made a considerable investment in monitoring and can monitor your environment for you — more of which below.

Coming back to the transaction per second statistic, there are a couple more reasons why it’s not very insightful. It’s obviously a good measure of how many transactions arrive, but it doesn’t indicate how quickly they are processed. Acquirers process at different speeds.

Secondly, transactions per second don’t really mean much on a per customer basis, because it lacks the context of how many transactions their payment service provider processes for others.


Trust in your partner

My best advice is that you need to trust in a partner that has insight into your processing requirements as a merchant. We deliver that because we have close relationships with our customers. We know what their patterns are like because we’re constantly monitoring them.

For us, reviewing volume, performance, comms areas and everything happening in the environment is not just a peak trading event. It’s daily and goes to understanding the draw on our resources so we can improve efficiencies and deliver reliably time after time.

Every morning, we review the report from the previous day. If there are any issues or anomalies that could potentially be problematical, we raise them with customers, often before they’ve noticed themselves.

If you’re interested in finding out more about capacity planning in the run-up to peak season, please get in touch.