Is it ever too early to get your websites and applications ready for the holiday-rush of consumers and all the promotions and deals your marketing team will run in the lead-up to the craziness of Black Friday (the day after American Thanksgiving), the weekend after and the newer craze, Cyber Monday?
As more and more consumers move online looking for deals and convenience, your e-commerce properties are more valuable - and vulnerable - than ever. Past years have shown that even the biggest, most well-known retail names (Amazon.com, Target.com) have been struck down by Black Friday outages thanks to unprecedented traffic spikes brought on by masses of consumers trying to access the same advertised sales and deals. Not only could they not make their desired purchase, in many cases, they could not access the website at all.
It's All in the Performance
First: site performance and speed of page loads, as well as presenting accurate, up-to-date information on your pages, is crucial to ensuring that consumers stay on your site and make purchases. Statistics show that milliseconds matter to consumers:
- One-quarter of a second (an eye blink) delay in page load can drive consumers away.
- A one-second delay in page response leads to 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7% reduction in sales.
- As a conservative example, if your site earns USD 85,000 every day, you risk losing more than USD two million annually if your site is slow.
- Websites are growing more complex, with ballooning site size, number of pages and multiple, dynamic content fields, increasing site overloads and lags in performance – leading directly to possible negative bottom-line consequences.
Second, this performance hinges on the all-important idea that your website is actually up and running. What happens if your servers fail and your site buckles under the weight of the traffic being driven to it? You lose valuable sales and conversions, spend a lot of time and resource trying to fix the problem and get up and running again in high-demand conditions and risk alienating consumers and damaging your company’s brand, which can lead to long-term losses.
Performance and uptime matter almost more than anything: all the bargains, sales, promotions and demand do not matter if your site underperforms, which comes at a very high cost.
Clearly, the holidays can put as much of a strain on websites and their backends as they can on consumers and their wallets. The stress can be too much — but you can get ready.