Holiday with a Capital H

If you have never worked in retail, than you’ve have missed out on the grand experience we call “Holiday”. On the other hand, you’ve probably actually enjoyed the time of year from mid-November to Christmas while you celebrate with your friends and family, and take advantage of the seeming thousands of days of deals from the many retailers trying to get their share of wallet from you. Holiday, with a capital H, is something that has to be experienced to be believed. And every Holiday is the most important one yet, because those six weeks account for 50% or more of yearly revenue.

When you work in IT in a retailer, your entire year hinges on whether or not the systems you support survive the shopping onslaught of Holiday. In the online space, an ecommerce site might make 30% of its revenue in the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

The massive scale up to 20X normal daily traffic was largely accomplished without clouds in the 2000s. You had to take a really good guess as to how much infrastructure was needed, build it all out over the course of the year, and hope you weren’t overwhelmed by consumer behavior. You could easily receive 1M requests per second at the edge, and 100,000+ requests per second to your actual systems. If those requests were concentrated on the wrong systems, you could easily take down your site.

After a few Holidays, you realize the second the current year’s Holiday is over, you are immediately planning for the next one. There is no break. It’s like a giant tsunami that is slowly approaching, day by day. Once this year’s tsunami passes, you turn around and can see next year’s on the horizon. And while there are many stories of failure, from every failure we learn something and implement fixes for the next year’s wave. This is why Holiday in retail is such fun, every year you get to test your mettle against the highest traffic the world can generate. You planned all year, you implemented new technologies and new solutions, but sometimes the consumer confounds you and does something totally unexpected.
It’s those moments where the unexpected happens that keep IT in retail exciting, the times when you can tell your friends the Holiday story starting with “You will not believe what just happened…”

Joel is a VP Architecture in Target Technology Services. This is an excerpt from Part XII of his blog series, A Digital Ecommerce Transformation.

16 Replies to “Holiday with a Capital H”

  1. Love shopping at target and there prices is very low. Like the product.

  2. I believe if you can get people to relax just alittle bit and take in the moment. They will enjoy being there not stressing about the moment and they will tell others about the experience they had at the store

  3. IT is very important to prep and to analyze what was a good sell and a bad. To make the right adjustment so the following year it is better. But it is most important to prep and be prepared.

  4. Love working at target but they have their pick if you work you out of there

  5. Hello,

    I am a student and have started to apply for internship posted on your career website.

    But in filling that at one point I am having trouble. In the filling of institution name I could not find my University name and there no option to choose “Others”. and due to that, I am unable to proceed further with application filling.

    Need help to resolve this issue.

  6. Hi my is Danielle hadden I am I am look a job in I see u hiring

  7. I love the departments…love to shop there, but hate to leave….

  8. Thanks for sharing your interest to join #TeamTarget. Our guest services team should be able to assist you with your application questions: 800.591.3869

  9. I would love the opportunity to become a partner of the company targets

  10. Hi!

    We’re excited to hear that you’re interested in becoming a part of #TeamTarget! Find current openings and information about the application process here:


  11. Well every single location must know need employees to produce better service and work faster for costumers have better and satisfied shopping some locations overwork the little teams member they have giving overtime but what they doing is overworked all the team members some of them never smile

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