Starting up a business is hard work. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that. What they’ll likely also tell you is that to be truly successful, timing is absolutely everything. Some entrepreneurs may call this aspect of success “luck,” and they’re probably right. The formula to produce luck for you and your company, then, is as simple as identifying your opportunities and putting action behind them. At least, this was the success formula for metallic temporary tattoo company Flash Tattoos when they solidified a collaboration with Beyoncé.

“We were really excited about collaborating with Beyoncé, not only because we are huge fans of hers, but also because the partnership grew organically,” says Kirsten Stoddard, marketing and PR manager at Flash Tattoos. “She was a genuine Flash fan before we even started talking about designing a collection together.” 

It’s easy to recognize that a collaboration with Beyoncé will grow your brand awareness and sales. But for online businesses, there’s a lot more to consider behind the scenes when it comes to launching something this large. Downtime or slow load times occur on even the best maintained sites, and loyal customers are always quick to leave if the business doesn’t deliver a great experience to its customer.

Preparing for a Spike in Visitors

“During media events like these, we often see huge spikes of visitors. A large percentage will visit out of curiosity and others will have true buyer’s intent,” says Liam Garcia, Flash Tattoos’ Bigcommerce account manager. “If the experience is compromised due to server performance, businesses can lose sales opportunities generated during and after the event.”

For businesses such as Flash Tattoos, whose site may regularly see some 200,000 visitors a month, any delay in page load time can quickly cause a user to bounce – often to a competing business. Add the expected site traffic bump from launching a partnership with Beyonce, and you may be spelling disaster for a growing brand.

The Cost of Downtime

The data suggests that each and every one of these precautions is necessary. After all, downtime or slow page load speed costs money – and a lot of it. Most cloud-based ecommerce platforms maintain 99% uptime, but that still equals about seven hours of downtime a year. Besides, unexpectedly high traffic load can easily cause even the most trafficked sites to go down – whether you’re on a cloud-based platform or not.

The average cost for downtime incidents increased from $5,211 per minute in 2010 to $8,023 per minute in 2013, an increase of almost 54%. These costs are calculated not just based on sales lost, but on loss of customer trust and negative brand association. All of which studies suggest can rarely be fixed. When it comes to online shopping, just as in life, first impressions matter – and few forget them. Now, consider you’re a growing, but relatively unknown brand with a Beyonce collection to release and you can assume those costs per minute to increase.

Flash Tattoos preparation on its backend paid off, and worked in its favor. It had ten times the normal traffic at the peak of the launch, and its team knew such lofty goals were attainable as a result. For other brands looking to replicate Flash Tattoos’ success, or who are new to partnerships and collaborations, here are a few helpful tips to keep you sane during the process:

Start Early

It’s never too soon to reach out to an influencer you want to work with and start brainstorming ways you could collaborate.

Plan for the Best, Be Prepared for the Worst

It’s inevitable that problems or delays will arise at some point during the process. Just stay positive, come up with creative solutions and keep chugging along. All those exhausting late nights are worth it in the end.

Be Flexible!

Plans can change, and rules can bend: just keep an open mind, and be able to jump on a moment’s notice. You never know what can change in a day. 

In all, collaborations are high-stakes initiatives for online businesses, especially those at that pivotal growth stage, where any small misstep can suddenly halt that hockey stick growth. Thoughtful governance around site maintenance for unusually high traffic is absolutely necessary to ensure all of your public-facing work pays off.

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