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Minimizing Black Friday revenue loss to competition

· 3 min read
Luis Silva

Another real-life scenario where Feature Flags minimized revenue impact by allowing on-time behavior change.

On our previous blog post we showcased a real-life scenario where Remote Flags can solve possible delay issues on e-commerce sales cycles, by allowing deploys and tests to be done beforehand and putting the control of the Sale Season start on the hand of the business, product or sales manager which, with a switch of a feature flag, is able to turn it on instantly.

In this scenario, we can clearly understand the advantages of using a feature flag to guarantee that a specific "go-live" is achieved at the expected moment without hiccups. But you might be thinking, "what if my development teams prepare a change, beforehand, that applies automatically at that specific time? Why would I need a feature flag?"

You could, in theory, reduce the chances of a delay but, what if something fails? Would a rollback and a posterior re-deploy be fast enough to minimize losses? And what if I don't have a specific date for a sale to start? These are some questions that we can answer on this blog post while explaining how Remote Flags can have a critical role in more uncertain scenarios.

Black Friday - when does it really start?

Another great example of how a Feature Flag can help with avoiding revenue losses is related to Black Friday sales. Although Black Friday day is set to be on the 4th Friday of November, e-commerce has seen regular anticipation of the sale start date.

With the customer's desire of buying items at a very discounted price, the first company to provide such will have a surge in purchases, as customers will not wait due to a risk of stock rupture. Because of this, we have seen regular anticipation of this specific sale over the last few years, first with single-day anticipation, up to a week on some e-commerce companies.

However, this has also caused a regular waiting game between e-commerce players as no one wants to anticipate discounts. Ensuring full-price sales for a couple more days maintains a high profit margin, but failing to follow competitors' Black Friday sales start is not an option, as the revenue impact can be huge for every minute we are left behind.

A toggle switch might be the only thing needed to guarantee success

Reacting to a competitor sale by deploying the Black Friday behavior into the product can mean hours of revenue loss. By preparing this event with a “Black Friday” feature flag, business management is able to react almost at the second, applying the sale experience instantly by the click of a button, without the need to stop development teams from their current work.

With Remote Flags, the customer is able to easily manage sales launches and simplify a complex process, easing up the development teams, and providing behavior change capabilities to business personas.