Holiday preparedness guide

Bazaarvoice is ready to help your online operations run smoothly during the peak holiday shopping season!

Use the information in this guide to ensure your user-generated content (UGC) program delivers the information your customers need to make informed holiday purchases.

Change freeze periods for 2020

General change freeze period

November 1, 2020 through January 10, 2021

During the general change freeze period, Bazaarvoice:

  • Will adjust the cache period for our edge network to 55 minutes to optimize the hosted display and API.
  • Will not make changes to deployed integrations of our products.
  • May make changes that do not impact the consumer site experience. These could include changes to the configuration hub, Workbench, Portal, or other applications.

Normal release cadence will resume January 11, 2021.

Critical change freeze periods

  • November 24, 2020 through December 1, 2020
  • December 28, 2020 through January 4, 2021

During the critical change freeze periods, Bazaarvoice will further lock down our systems and make only critical system changes. Critical system changes are infrastructure or configuration changes required to restore service or prevent service disruption.

Change freeze calendar

Holiday preparedness tasks

Review the following list of tasks as you prepare for the peak holiday shopping season:

Product catalog updates

If you plan to update your product catalog, you should do so as soon as possible. Updates might include:

  • Changes to the product hierarchy to align with preferred reporting at brand, category, or product levels
  • Addition of new products or deletion of old ones
  • Updates to the product information required for syndication, including brand name, UPC, EAN, ISBN, product page URL, product image URL, or manufacturer part number

Product Catalog app

The Product Catalog app lets you quickly view and manage your product catalog. Use the app to correct errors that originate in your feed or add missing product data. Bazaarvoice recommends you enable the app to ensure you can make essential changes to your product catalog.

Note: Updates to catalog data using the Product Catalog app take precedence over data that comes from feeds and Dynamic Catalog Collection (DCC). Learn more about catalog data precedence.

Product feeds

If you provide product catalog data in a single feed file, send the updated feed to Bazaarvoice by October 31. We strongly recommend this for retail clients with large product catalogs.

Further, we recommend you send updated feeds before the products are live on your website. Doing this enables us to set up syndication connections and ensure that all systems are properly indexed.

Large-scale product catalog changes

During the general change freeze and critical change freeze periods, Bazaarvoice will closely monitor all incoming product catalog feeds. If we detect large-scale changes in an incoming product catalog feed, we may pause its import if it could negatively impact overall system performance. We do this to ensure no degradation in the performance of the hosted display, API, and feed export systems. We will resume importing the feed when we determine it is safe to do so.

Brands syndicating to retailers

If you are a brand client that syndicates content to retailers, you should ensure your retail channel partners have correct and complete product information.

Pre-holiday load and advance performance testing

Bazaarvoice proactively scales our systems to handle increased holiday traffic and leverages a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure optimal performance during periods of high demand. Because we serve many of the world’s largest retailers and brands, we add significant load capacity for the entire holiday season. Levels are based on historical data for the Bazaarvoice Network, taking into account factors such as network growth, the shift from offline to online, and the shift from desktop to mobile.

In recognition of the demands that the holiday season presents to production systems, load and performance tests must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance. All requests will be assigned an available testing slot.

Why this approach? Tests conducted outside of an approved testing slot may be negatively impacted because other tests are occurring at the same time, making the results invalid.

Testing slots are limited. Contact Bazaarvoice Client Care as soon as possible to schedule load or performance testing of your systems that incorporate Bazaarvoice products. Depending on the scope of your agreement, service fees may apply. Contact your Client Success Director with any questions.

Note: Bazaarvoice reserves the right to charge service fees for unscheduled load tests.

Security

The number of security attacks against online retailers peaks during the holiday season. Our priority is protecting your customers’ data while supporting safe and secure shopping. To prevent malicious activity, Bazaarvoice provides continuous monitoring and blocking of application layer attacks.

We will alert you to known security threats affecting Bazaarvoice systems through the system status notification system. To report a security incident, contact Bazaarvoice Client Care .

System status notifications

Bazaarvoice will send email notifications about incidents and security threats through the system status notification system.

To receive email alerts about issues affecting Bazaarvoice systems, browse to status.bazaarvoice.com and select Subscribe to Updates.

Technical emergency contacts

Is your emergency contact information up-to-date? Accurate contact information is crucial if we detect an issue and need to reach you during the holiday season.

To verify and update your technical emergency contacts, open a case with Bazaarvoice Client Care .

Note: To avoid single points of failure, we strongly recommend you include a distribution group email address in addition to email addresses for individual emergency contacts.

Contacting Bazaarvoice

With offices strategically located across the globe, the Bazaarvoice Client Care team has special holiday schedules in place to ensure you have 24/7 coverage for critical issues. Bazaarvoice defines a critical issue as an outage of submission or display in production.

Direct outreach to Client Care is especially important during the holiday season, as it’s the quickest way to resolve any issues you encounter.

Important! Email sent to Client Care will create cases with a normal severity, which are addressed the next business day. If you have a critical issue, use one of the following methods to contact us.

Live chat

Available from the Support Community from 8:30am to 5:00pm CST UTC-5 on regular business days only.

Telephone

Available 24/7 for critical issues. Leaving a voicemail will create a critical issue case. All other requests will be managed during regional business hours.

  • Americas: 888-984-1381 or 866-522-9227, Option 4 (toll free)
  • United Kingdom: 0800 368 0991 (toll free)
  • France : 08 05 08 94 80 (toll free)
  • Germany: 0800 188 8904 (toll free)
  • EMEA: +44(0)20 8080 1100, Option 4
  • Australia: 1300-089-962 (toll free)
  • APAC (other than Australia): 061 2 9362 2200, Option 4

Online

  1. Sign in to the Support Community .
  2. Select Open a Case.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Production Outage.
  4. Submit a detailed request. Include page links in the Client Base Domain(s) field.
  5. Select Confirm.
  6. If available, attach a screenshot as a case comment.

You will receive an automated response from Client Care to confirm receipt of your request. A service representative will respond to your case in accordance with the Service Level Objective (SLO).

Common questions

We ensure our clients have 24/7 coverage for outages and critical issues.

Yes, SLOs will be in place. Sign in to the Bazaarvoice Support Community and read the Client Care Quick Reference Guide, which includes a process for expedited handling.

Contact us by live chat or telephone, or open a support case. For details, see Contacting Bazaarvoice.

Our moderation team is staffed to moderate your content 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year. We carefully monitor the velocity of UGC submissions to maintain our authenticity standards and SLA attainment.

We will implement client-level changes as requested, but will not make any system-wide changes during the holiday period. To learn more, see Change freeze periods.

Before the start of the holiday season, you should perform a health check of your Bazaarvoice components. It's important to check the integration and functionality of your submission form and display, and to verify your product feed, BV Pixel, and post-interaction email (PIE).

This topic offers helpful tips for identifying integration issues that impact the health of your implementation. If you have questions or need help preparing your site and product feed, you can start a live chat on Support Community , call us, or open a support case.

Bazaarvoice will send email notifications about incidents and security threats through the system status notification system. To receive email alerts about issues affecting Bazaarvoice systems, browse to status.bazaarvoice.com and select Subscribe to Updates.

Resources
Bazaarvoice adds server and database resources in anticipation of increased system load during the holiday season. We monitor system performance, uptime, feed generation, and other critical systems, and scale them appropriately throughout this critical window.

Architecture
Bazaarvoice architecture provides scalability through the use of redundant and secure data centers. This infrastructure scales during peak demand and performs full failover in the event of a catastrophic event. Data is fully redundant through replication to multiple data centers. To further mitigate risk, we pre-scale our environment ahead of the holiday load profile.

Testing
Bazaarvoice conducts a high level of test automation, performing continuous integration testing as a best practice year-round. In addition, we execute a full set of disaster recovery scenarios and simulations to ensure all systems and personnel are prepared for any contingencies during the holiday season. Analysis of three years of previous holiday traffic has shown a predictable increase of approximately 2.5x the highest load average over the past ten months. For this holiday season we have tested at 4x the highest load average over the past ten months to ensure we are performant beyond the expected load profile.