The Performance Beacon

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Don’t wait: Prepare early to ensure success during holiday shopping surge

The holiday shopping season is approaching fast and many e-commerce retailers have already begun preparations to ensure their platforms are ready for the surge of customers. And while some companies have yet to prepare for the increase in online activity, starting the process early will determine a company’s success at the end of the year.

Forrester Research found that 2013 was a banner year for e-commerce holiday shopping revenues, and 2014 is projected to be even better. According to Multichannel Merchant, online profits are estimated to reach $300 billion in direct sales, with an additional $1.4 trillion in sales coming from Web. For this reason, it is absolutely critical that these platforms are ready for the peak traffic levels that come with the holiday shopping season.

Steps for holiday preparedness testing
However, when it comes to load and performance testing for holiday readiness, many e-commerce firms are at a loss for where to begin. SOASTA has years of experience preparing retailers for seasonal readiness. SOASTA’s top five essential performance tips for retailers getting ready for the 2014 holiday shopping season include:

  1. Plan in the New Year: Analysis of the previous holiday season sets the baseline for planning.  Identify your peak periods of traffic, down to the minute if possible, and determine the cost of performance delays on your business, so you know where to focus your optimization.
  2. Infrastructure and Application, Start in Spring: Preparation should include assessing the current infrastructure, securing the environment, and tuning the app and/or website.
  3. Monitor, Continuously:  Retailers should include the measurement and analysis of the application’s overall performance, traffic levels, end-user experience, and upstream connections including payment gateway, shipping and fulfilment needs to ensure functionality.
  4. Load Test, Continuously: Load testing should include testing for spikes with the cloud, testing overlooked items, and load testing centered around measuring, testing and complete end-to-end system.
  5. Marketing, Start in Fall: Marketing efforts should include effective campaign management to remain connected with stakeholders and put into place policies to govern changes made to the existing campaign plan, email best practices, and promotions and discounts.

This approach will prepare retailers, ensuring that any potential issues are addressed and the platform is fully functional, even during peak buying periods.

Multichannel Merchant also advised testing not only the website performance, but the company’s mobile app as well. As mobile transactions continually account for rising levels of holiday traffic and revenues, it is critical that all platforms are ready for the holiday season.

“To avoid losing valuable revenue and reach your customers wherever they are – even at the point of purchase – your website must fully support the mobile commerce experience,” Multichannel Merchant stated. “Smart marketers know they are capitalizing on holiday sales by making campaigns and websites mobile-ready.”

As we have seen in past years, preparing early and using the right solutions will make for a very profitable holiday season.

SOASTA Marketing

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SOASTA Marketing

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