Black Friday downtime: What it cost Gymshark and why Rewind is their new backup plan

This holiday season, four years after Gymshark experienced their biggest Black Friday nightmare, their technology team isn’t taking any chances.

To limit any risk of downtime, Gymshark is using Rewind to backup all 14 of their Shopify stores. But it was only a couple of months ago that they uninstalled Rewind based on the assumption that what Shopify had as a backup would be enough.

In order to get the full picture, we need to go back several years ago. On Black Friday of 2015, the Gymshark website (then built on Magento) went down for 8 hours straight. Customers took to social media to express their disappointment and Gymshark was on damage control during what should have been their most profitable weekend of the year.

“The failure cost Gymshark an estimated $143,000 in lost sales. Worse, it also cost the company the trust it had spent years earning from customers expecting a great experience.” Shopify reported.

Since then, not only has worldwide spending on BFCM exploded but so has the popularity and customer base of Gymshark. The damage of 8 hours of downtime during BFCM in 2019 would be ten times greater.

How ecommerce platforms are backed up

The Shopify platform is built to handle a large load of activity, such as on BFCM. They also take extensive precautions to ensure their servers won’t fail. Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify, recently tweeted that they “moved all US East coast Shopify stores to US Central as a precaution for hurricane Florence. This was done automatically with zero downtime.”

He added: “Even if the east coast data center would be hit with a meteoroid, Shopify stores would face no downtime because of instant failover to other data centers.”

Cloud-based apps take extensive precautions to ensure their servers won’t fail and to maintain 99.98% service availability. They all have a security team who is dedicated to the platform’s availability and responsible for disaster recovery in the event of a major problem. This is one of the many benefits of using a service like Shopify or BigCommerce over a self-hosted system like Magento.

In the unlikely event that one of Shopify’s data centers is engulfed in flames, the security team will recover the entire platform to the last backup. You might experience a few minutes of downtime, or even none at all depending on how fast they can react to the situation.

But here’s the thing. They will not use that same backup to recover a single account back to a previous point in time.

What the platforms have, as we like to call it, is a macro-backup of their entire system. This covers you for incidents on their end, like a data breach. What Rewind gives you is a micro-backup of just your account that can be used in case of a disaster on your end.

Gymshark’s IT Director Seb Mills explained that their disaster in 2015 was caused by an app integrated with their Magento store. Disasters like those caused by 3rd party apps or simple human error are just 2 of the 6 most common reasons for downtime and data loss in ecommerce stores.

data disasters relating to downtime

When you install Rewind in your ecommerce store, you get two security teams working to keep your data protected from a multitude of possible disasters. That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask us.

Why this year Gymshark is using Rewind

In 2018, after a risk assessment of their online stores and investigating what Shopify provided as a backup, Gymshark decided to reinstall Rewind.

Mills explained: “Once Shopify confirmed that they weren’t taking complete, daily backups of every store, we re-evaluated using Rewind. We were also under the impression that since each of our stores is a replica of the others, it would be simple to sync one store to another in case we lost any data. But after further research into that process, we realized that the sync would take 12 hours – that’s a lot of sales lost. So we decided to bring Rewind back since we knew they could recover us much faster.”

Thousands of Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise merchants trust Rewind to automatically backup their stores every day. The ability to rewind their entire store back to the way it was, moments before disaster strikes, is what makes those merchants much more resilient in the face of downtime.

“Our online stores are the heartbeat of the business,” says Mills, “Rewind gives us peace of mind that our stores are backed up on a daily basis.”

For more information about Rewind, please visit Or, learn more about how to backup Shopifybackup BigCommerce, or backup QuickBooks Online.