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Here’s how Raru, Wootware handled South Africa’s Black Friday rush

This year’s Black Friday was a massive occasion. Besides the number of deals that were spread across a range of SA’s ecommerce stores and retailers, there were some interesting stats as well.

Memeburn had the chance to speak to both Raru and Wootware about their Black Friday experiences. While neither online retailer gave customer or sales numbers, they were able to provide some interesting technical information.

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The preparation

In preparation for the increase in traffic Raru techie Renier Crause said the site’s “mid-range” server was updated to the latest version of Ubuntu, which gave the system 130% increase in performance under load. This was accompanied by switching the entire website to HTTPS and upgrading to PHP7, MySQL, and Nginx.

On Black Friday, Raru was able to surpass an average day’s turnover by 1100% within a mere 14 minutes

After Raru’s second birthday sale, Crause said they had learned a lot from the experience. Raru switched over to HTTP/2 to increase performance, relying more on the fail-over server for serving images, increased SQL queries, and — if all went awry — had the option to switch off images on the deals page. This would save the company’s servers a bit of sweat.

When speaking to founder and owner of Wootware Rory Magee, the company did experience some downtime after midnight (15 to 20 minutes), which was due to back-end maintenance from their hosting provider to help with the influx of traffic.

The traffic

By 7am on Black Friday, Raru had already surpassed peak traffic by 700% on its standard day. The site then crashed at 8:01am, but managed to recover soon after due to the systems that were put in place. This resulted in the store’s 99.8% uptime figure.

At its peak, Raru had 20 000 concurrent connections. The company was also able to surpass an average day’s turnover by 1100% within a mere 14 minutes. The site also managed to attain a 100% growth in turnover as opposed to last year’s Black Friday sales total by 11am, and broke the number of customer registrations.

Raru, like many other websites in SA, experienced problems with 3D Secure for credit card transactions, though it improved by the afternoon.

Wootware didn’t feel the 3D Secure issue as it doesn’t offer credit card payments. Overall, Wootware had over 70% increase in sessions, over 60% in users, as well as over 142% increase in page views.

Feature image: Powhusku via Flickr

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