Cyber Monday’s recent passing got me thinking about the pressure involved with trying to complete a ton of sales in a short period of time. Cyber Monday is super important to online retailers for lots of reasons. The main reasons are revenue generation (i.e. profitability) and inventory control. So that means that those sites can’t afford to mess up. They have to get traffic and convert it at a high level in a very small window of time. Failure affects the bottom line for the entire year.
When I helped run FileLater, we had very similar pressure. Over 80% of our revenue was generated the last 72 hours before the tax deadline. And 40% came within the last 12 hours before the deadline! (see the Google Trends chart to the right)
The reality was simple – if we didn’t produce, we were cooked until the next tax season because tax extensions can only be filed from January to April of each year. That’s extreme pressure.
We described the business as being hyper-seasonal because it’s basically a seasonal business on steroids. And let me say that we learned a lot. We failed enough to help us succeed and grow to the point where the company was acquired in late 2010.
Here are the biggest takeaways I always share with businesses in similar high-pressure industries.