Is your website ready for the festive period?
The world has just found out how popular theoretical physics is to the public at large. Stephen Hawking’s 1966 PhD thesis was recently made available for free on the University of Cambridge website. Tens of thousands of visitors tried to access the site in only a few hours causing the site to crash. Still, people can hardly complain about a free resource being temporarily unavailable. On the other hand, shoppers experiencing downtime on an e-retail site are unwilling to forgive and forget.
Ensure your website serves up “caviar” performance for Xmas
e-commerce websites, whose raison d’être and survival depend on their speed and availability, simply cannot afford to time out. Unavailability at crucial times like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the days before Christmas, or Boxing Day is particularly disastrous for revenues. Especially when you consider that the festive period accounts for around 70% of all online sales. Fortunately, there is a way to plan for and prevent such disasters: web performance testing in advance.
Yet bottlenecks and congestion, disruptions and downtime, timeouts and failures DO still happen, even after the all-too-noticeable crashes of major brand websites and payment platforms in recent years. Why?
Admittedly it is not an easy task to ensure performance 24/7 on high-traffic sites. Especially those undergoing additional intensive activity at certain times (sales promotions). It is very difficult to plan adequate capacity without the help of upstream testing.
Load testing: how much is too much?
Load testing determines how much traffic a platform can handle while delivering a satisfactory experience to users. It can show you how much traffic is too much for your platform, so you can plan ahead with respect to your traffic forecast. If your website can’t handle an increase in visitors, they will be literally left outside your online store – just like in commercial centers – thus unable to enter and spend their cash.
Sometimes a platform can process a lot of visitors, but the service it provides slows down to a level considered unacceptable. Some audiences abandon if they have to wait a second or two longer; some persevere. This is the equivalent of shopping in a physical store and then walking out empty handed once you see the huge queues at checkout and lose motivation. It is up to the retailer to know its audience and set the correct levels for satisfactory service. On this basis, the application performance testing specialist detects performance threshold violations, see where the platform break points are, and identifies causes of bottlenecks (such as counterproductive routing, unoptimized webpage, etc.).
When success can overwhelm you, forward planning is key
The retailer will want to target investments efficiently to ensure that customers’ needs are met. It is important to know which parts of the delivery infrastructure or of the website itself must be optimized. Good investment choices (more machines? cloud? streamline website?) rest upon the analyses provided by the specialists.
In some cases, the website is adequately prepared… but not for mobile devices. Over the past few years, more and more consumers are switching from desktops to mobile devices for at least part of the purchase process. By now it is well known that most people don’t stand around downloading a retailer’s mobile app – they go directly to the company’s mobile website. So it is vital to know how well the mobile website can handle expected load increases.
ip-label’s team of APM experts will gladly provide further information. Feel free to call on them!