An E-Commerce Holiday Quiz

What is nearly six feet long, has great legs, but does not come with chairs, and brought shoppers+merchants to their knees on November 13, 2023?

If you answered “Macy’s gift wrap table,” then . . . BZZZZT! Wrong answer.

The correct answer is, of course, Taylor Swift.

Come again?

Yes, we love Taylor, we might even be “Swifties” ourselves, but truth be told her latest merchandise launch on November 13, 2023, brought the house of Shopify down. Not just The whole, as we say in online merchandising, “enchilada.”

Estimates say that Shopify was down for 20 to 40 minutes. Etailers estimate that they missed out on $18 to $20 million in sales during the downtime. Yikes!

First, let us say, this is a rare outage for Shopify and Shopify stores came back online seamlessly. Shopify does have a tendency to have some unreliability during the first half of November to prep for the holiday rush. At least a BFCM debacle did not happen!

If you are into network architecture, redundant systems, cloud-based multi-location redundancy, etc., then you know how rare this glitch was for Shopify.

With that said, Swifties have caused consternation before:

  • In September of this year, Taylor’s launch of 1989-themed word puzzles with Google, meant to engage her fans, ended up stalling out and crashing part of The GOOG. Once restored, more than 33 million puzzles were solved, unveiling “From the Vault” song titles
  • November of 2022, Swifties overwhelmed Ticketmaster when pre-sale tickets for Taylor’s “Eras” tour went live. To be clear, some of this was a ticket inventory issue of Ticketmaster’s own doing. [Taylor would have had to play more than 900 stadium-size shows, about 20 times what was actually planned!]

Okay, what’s the lesson here? 1) shop early, 2) put yourself in Google’s shoes and think about your own internal backup, redundancy, and failover measures, 3) Be like Taylor and “shake it off, shake it off.”

Oh, and one more lesson: your editor is holding out for the Midnights Mayhem With Me satin pillowcase. Only 20 bucks. Just sayin’.