The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

Prepare now: Develop websites now for uptick in consumer traffic at start of the holiday shopping season

Research shows that consumers spend the most toward the beginning of the holiday shopping season, making it more important than ever to be prepared. Customers won’t wait for a slow website or mobile app that doesn’t keep up with their needs – especially during the holidays, when there are a plethora of other offers attracting their attention. This year, it is absolutely critical that retailers are prepared for the influx of visitors that will inevitably flood their online platforms, and these readiness efforts must begin sooner rather than later.

Judging by last year’s holiday shopping season
Taking into account the activities of last year’s shoppers, this year promises to be one of the biggest consumer purchasing season to date. According to IBM’s research of Black Friday 2013, online sales peaked late in the evening on Thanksgiving day, and then again in the morning that Friday.

Much of this uptick in early seasonal shopping came due to mobile consumers, as IBM found that nearly 25 percent of all online traffic during last year’s Black Friday came from smartphones, and more than 14 percent came from tablets.

On top of this, comScore found that despite predictions to the contrary, shoppers spent less as Christmas Day approached. During the week preceding the big holiday, consumer spending tapered off. These findings, combined with IBM’s research, illustrate just how important it is to be adequately prepared before the shopping season takes hold.

What components should retailers prepare?
There are a number of aspects that retailers should have ready long before the holiday shopping season begins, including the shopping cart, payment options and security measures, Business News Daily pointed out.

However, one of – if not the – most important consideration to make is the fact that the platform will see a large spike in user traffic that will likely outpace levels experienced throughout the rest of the year. In fact, InformationWeek contributor Kevin Casey noted that online vendors should expect a 200 percent increase or more in the amount of traffic during the Thanksgiving weekend alone. Black Friday, on the other hand, can bring an 800 percent surge in traffic. Therefore, being unprepared for these events could spell disaster for a company, causing them to lose out on untold customer connections and profits.

“Obviously planning is key,” CorraTech COO Michael Harvey told Casey. “[A]ll eyes need to be carefully monitoring system performance.”

In order to ensure readiness, retailers should leverage performance testing tools to gauge just how their online platforms will operate under the stress of added users. Testing in virtual environments through solutions like SOASTA’s CloudTest performance testing solution can provide the necessary insights for e-commerce companies to prepare their websites for the holiday shopping traffic surge. In addition, real-time analytics provide an up-to-the-minute picture of website performance, an unmatched ability in the current industry.

So, don’t be caught unprepared this holiday season. Test the performance of websites and mobile applications with the SOASTA platform to guarantee that these all-important platforms aren’t just ready for holiday shoppers, but are optimized to ensure an enjoyable consumer experience.

SOASTA Marketing

About the Author

SOASTA Marketing

Follow @CloudTest