Straight from the war room: How PayU manages festive sales transactions at scale?

India’s festive season sales have become the highlight of every business’ calendar & a barometer of consumer sentiment. Here’s a fun fact that provides the context of the scale of this season– Indian e-commerce platforms registered GMV value of $2.7bn in the first four sale days alone! As PayU is a preferred partner for a majority of large merchants, we approach this season on a war footing. Adherence to a key PayU value and collaboration – across teams makes the festive sales season a huge success for our merchants. By keeping the merchant at the heart of the process, we ensure that a glitch-free and successful sale period for them. This time as well, we achieved several milestones. During online 2021 festive sales, PayU

  • Achieved a new high of 8 million+ transactions on a single day!
  • 70% growth over last month, in terms of volumes
  • Average expenditure increased by 52%, compared to festive season 2020

Firstly, What Necessitates the War Room Modus Operandi?

This festive season was unique because of several factors. There was huge pent-up demand on online channels, and several large merchants preponed sales by 10 days. What’s more, some e-retailers decided to go for mega sales at the same time.

Usually, an online purchase journey runs the risk of several dangers – complicated checkout process, user redirection, poor payment integration, etc. This can lead to one of the most dreaded outcomes for an e-retailer – cart abandonment. The stakes are higher during peak festive shopping spree.

Even a mere 2% drop in transaction success rate would result in loss of opportunities worth crores. A two-minute system downtime would affect millions of customers. So, our preparations start a month in advance to ensure smooth and glitch-free transactions during surge periods.

What are the Secrets Behind PayU’s Success?

  • It’s all hands on deck: Managing peak festive traffic for over a month needs seamless collaboration and synergy. Senior leaders across the board, including Manas Mishra, Shantanu Preetam, myself, and other business heads work with engineers. They address critical issues during the sale and ensure smooth operations.
  • War rooms and green channels: We have instituted Always On war rooms for all key merchants at PayU, to handle any out-of-the-box situations that can potentially crop up. A dedicated green channel staff and a team of 100+ engineers are available around the clock to tackle surge sales.
  • Leverage competitive advantage with Wibmo: With Wibmo, a PayU owned PayTech company, we leverage networks to bring together all the financial institutions and big banks. That participate in the first round of sales. PayU does multiple load testings with them to ensure the platform can hit as high as 2800 transactions/second. Despite that it remain stable and scalable.
  • The devil lies in the details and micro-level monitoring: There’s always a danger of transactions witnessing sudden drops. Also, we continually give real-time online feedback to the merchant so that they can capitalize on the sale. Even if we lose 5 mins, it can potentially mean a loss of Rs. 50 crores worth of sales for the merchant.

Our ability to innovate, technology readiness, and preemptive assessment ensured that we set a high standard in terms of customer experience. Very few fintech companies in India can do so, and PayU has the unique distinction of leading this success, at scale, every year.

Strength, truly, lies in collaboration. Everyone stepped up to take on the increased workload. Be it was enterprise teams, product teams, engineering teams, or even non-financial teams. By the time the war room closed, we had successfully managed to process more transactions than last year. Even, total value reaches as high as 300% on surge days, compared to 2020.

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