By Sven Hammar, CEO, Apica
The holiday shopping season is a ‘can’t miss’ opportunity, especially since it is the time the best deals for consumers are offered. Wallets are loosened and everyone is prepared for the number of sales and deals announced online. For e-retailers the competition is fierce; if a customer experiences problems on the site, the competition is a mere click away. An online site with slow performance – or even crashes – is tantamount to slamming the door in a consumer’s face, something that would never happen in a ‘brick-and-mortar’ situation.
Take Target for example. The much-anticipated launch of a new line by Italian design house, Missoni, known for its zigzag knits and bright patterns, brought the retailer’s site to its knees. On launch day, the Missoni items became available at 6 a.m. on the east coast and the mega retailer’s site went down around 9 a.m. and stayed down for approximately two hours, and then worked only intermittently after that (click here for related story). Lesson learned by Target: Do not overlook testing for increased load and performance issues.
According to Dennis Drogseth of research firm Enterprise Management Associates, “User experience is, as the name implies, is in many ways more about human beings than just about technology. For instance, when a customer is in your physical store and has an unpleasant experience, the customer is very likely to be quite explicit in his or her complaints. But, what about the online customer who 'clicks away' in frustration because a page won't load or shows an error message? These are just a few of the many unknowns, the silent events that can create ill will and brand disaffection, as well as lost, transaction-driven revenue." Drogseth insists, “Any company seriously trying to sell online should be prepared to capture those 'breadcrumb indicators' of human experience across peak activity levels, as well as normal, day-to-day volumes."
Research firm ComScore reported in 2010 ecommerce B2C product sales totaled $142.5 billion, representing 8% of retail product sales in the United States. Forrester Research estimates that the U.S. online retail industry will be worth $279 billion by 2015. The lion’s share of online sales takes place during the holiday shopping season that kicks off on “Black Friday.” Is your ecommerce site ready?
Apica offers the following ‘Top Ten’ recommendations for readying your ecommerce site for the holiday shopping season. Happy shopping and happy holidays!
Sven Hammer is an expert in testing and performance monitoring and is CEO of Apica, a load testing and performance-monitoring provider for cloud and mobile applications.