Shopify Plus Checklist for high sale periods

July 19, 2022

What is the definition of a flash sale? What threshold do I need to cross in order to have a successful flash sale? Which of my sales do I need to prepare for using the checklist?

When do you need to start preparing?

To allow ample time to plan for the modifications, and communicate any adjustments to your team and partners, you should start preparing at least 2 weeks before the anticipated sale event.

How do you know if you need to prepare for your Flash Sale?

This is a list of questions to ask yourself regarding Flash sale events with more than 4500 checkouts per minute. To level out the traffic patterns of the sale, the automatic checkout throttle will be activated at approximately 4500 checkouts each minute. This is when we consider a sale to be a Flash Sale. Events that do not exceed +4500 checkouts every minute are not considered flash sales and do not require any additional work.

Item 1 – review your current website build

Take time to examine your site's current build and make modifications that will benefit future sale events. A slow or bulky store with a lot of interconnecting components won't be able to make the most of all of Shopify's resources, much as a car towing a heavy trailer can't go as fast. Now is the moment to implement any changes you've been thinking about making.

Consider whether they can handle a 100-fold increase in activity at the same time. For example, site integrations that monitor customers and provide them specialised content based on their purchases or customer account may be a major liability when hundreds of thousands of people are active on the site simultaneously. The same goes for minor functions with only 5-10 users each day. Consider if they have the capacity to support that kind of growth.

Some areas of note are:

  • Collections Pages​: Shopify has a Liquid Debugging Extension for Chrome that allows you to inspect Liquid performance.
  • Javascript Elements: External services can have a huge impact on the performance of your website and lead to buyer issues if the services fail. Consider refactoring your site's javascript with a focus on efficiency.
  • 3rd Party Applications: ​Examine any vital 3rd-party applications with their creators. Consider what would happen if this program isn't working - will it affect your client's ability to complete checkout? Can they handle the anticipated rush of visitors? These might be public or private apps.

Item 2 – disable Carrier Calculated shipping rates

The best-case situation for minimum danger is to exclusively utilise Flat Rate Shipping alternatives.

Third-party shipping companies are overwhelmed by flash sale traffic and are unable to provide shipping rates to consumers, preventing them from completing checkout. Shopify has no control over this procedure and can't mend the third party remotely.

Item 3 – disable Customer Accounts

If they ​are​ a critical aspect of your customer experience, consider providing an alternative so that consumer accounts may be disabled for the event's peak hours (approximately the first 2 hours).

To ensure a pleasant user experience, you should consider disabling customer accounts on your site. Your site may become sluggish or partially unavailable to certain customers as a result of this procedure. By turning off client accounts, Shopify can use the cache more effectively and efficiently under heavy loads by enabling more traffic from it.

Item 4 – account for known overselling issues on Off-Site payment gateways

An off-site gateway is a payment processor that sends customers to a different website to complete their transactions.

Overselling may occur when a payment gateway sends a customer to complete payment outside of the Shopify checkout flow, as inventory isn't reserved after they go to a different website.

Item 5 – expect delays in back-office functionality

During high-volume periods, Shopify Flow may be delayed. Keep an eye on anything time-sensitive that is being controlled by Shopify Flow, and anticipate delays in its execution. If necessary, create a manual backup technique for the same function.

High volume events can cause delays in order creation. As a result, any processes that rely on order creation, such as the order confirmation email, will be delayed. Note that while admin reporting based on orders is postponed as a consequence, Launchpad analytics continues to operate in real time.

Item 6 – check whether your store is enabled to​ ​track inventory across multiple locations​

Multi-Location is enabled by default if the shop has just opened in January of 2019.

If the shop has more than one active online fulfilment location, it is likely to slow down checkout flow and, as a result, raise the checkout throttle. To prevent this, make sure that any unused fulfilment locations are disabled prior to launch and for the duration of the sale.

Item 7 – prepare a dummy product for sale ‘previews’

Never publish sale items live to the Online shop before the deal date and time. It exposes both product and variant IDs, which increases the risk of human error while providing information about a product or sales strategy before its intended release date.

Bad actors can learn information about your items, such as inventory counts or pricing, and much quicker add them to their carts when inventory becomes accessible if you reveal these IDs before your anticipated sale time.

Item 8 – establish a ‘​Branded Password Page​’ emergency plan

If a serious problem affects your ability to sell, it's best to close the store while crucial changes or actions are made in the background. While the password screen is visible, new users cannot check out; instead, existing customers who are still in the checkout process may do so.

Item 9 – consider editing the Shopify ‘queue.liquid’ page at checkout

The basic page is a simple design that conveys the fact that purchasing may be delayed, but it can be modified with CSS to match your company's look and feel. To see if you've customised your queue.liquid file by appending (throttle/queue?preview) to the end of your domain (the entire URL will look like: https://[yourstore]

Item 10 – Shopify scripts

Ensure there are no production problems that match the Scripts limitations, and test your solutions to diagnose any unforeseen behaviours -- click here for more information on scripts.

Scripts that have errors may not execute on some workflows, or potentially fail to execute entirely. The bottom line is that you want all customers to be able to buy all available products all the time.

More where that came from

This is just the tip of the iceberg — there’s plenty more to think about when deciding Get in touch to talk about all things flash sale.