E-retailers have always grappled with the problem of never being able to accurately predict the number of visitors that can come to their site at any point of time. E-commerce history is replete with incidents when websites have performed poorly or even buckled under a sudden rush of traffic, leaving shoppers stranded and causing a dip in the brand image of the retailer.
So, what can retailers do to ensure their sites hold up against a sudden shopping frenzy or a higher than expected traffic? The answer lies in adopting a performance testing strategy that takes into account the following key considerations:
1. Checking performance across geographies:
E-retailers needs to ensure that website performance is not impacted by the geographical location of their customers. Key work flows need to be tested for satisfactory performance across the customer base. Testing ahead of peak periods like the holiday season or before a grand sale is announced also helps businesses to deliver good customer experience. An important factor to consider is the variation in browsers and devices. This involves working with not just the technical team, but also the marketing team to understand the campaigns and promotions that will be executed.
2. Due attention to mobile:
Mobile accounts for 1 in 10 e-commerce dollars. In line with this, retailers are coming up with apps or tuning their websites to be mobile-friendly. Performance testing for mobile ensures sites perform as desired and apps do not crash under peak loads. Using load generation software can help simulate peak loads. The biggest challenge in mobile testing is the huge variety in devices, networks and platforms. Testing needs to address performance issues arising as a result of these variations.
3. Test all transactions:
Some transactions tend to be more network intensive than others, for ex: product searches. Test such transactions across browsers and devices to ensure optimal transaction processing speed. Attention needs to be given to each and every user path possible. HP’s desktop and mobile site showed 30% slower performance with the ‘search’ and ‘add to cart’ functions during a Cyber Monday sale. Needless to say, when critical operations on the website fail, they can seriously impact the sales targets.
4. Cloud based testing:
Cloud provides high scalability and can quickly simulate as many users as required without additional hardware. Most e-retailers shy away from adequate and repeated performance testing due to the high costs involved. Cloud makes performance testing affordable and also makes it possible to test from geographically diverse locations with minimum setup.
Here are some alarming statistics – 57% customers abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and a 1 second delay can cause a 7% reduction in conversions. What does this mean for ecommerce retailers? To retain customer favor, e-retailers need to ensure their websites are always tested and ready to meet a surge in traffic.
The performance engineering teams at Gallop Solutions are uniquely positioned to deliver performance testing, performance monitoring and performance engineering services to clients across industries. Read our case study on wow we established a Performance Testing Center of Excellence for a large US retailer.