The festive season is the busiest for the vast majority of online retailers, from “Black Friday” to those buying last minute Christmas presents or shopping the sales from Boxing Day, but some stores just aren’t prepared for the sudden influx of visitors that they experience.
Last year many companies, including some big brand names, faced a meltdown on “Black Friday” when a large surge of visitors rushed online to purchase their cut price deals. But just why did this happen? You would expect that these companies would have predicted that more customers than normal would want to access their website, but perhaps the surge in interest on previous years took them by surprise and they just weren’t prepared for this possibility.
Whilst hosting great deals is a great way to drive traffic in to your online store, it can just as easily turn sour when customers are put in a holding queue and unable to purchase the items they desire. This can lead to negative publicity which may carry much further than anything positive your customers have to say about your website.
But just how can you avoid this problem in future? We can most certainly help you to prepare your website for the festive rush this year; just follow our top tips below to ensure that your online store is performing at its best even if you face an unanticipated rush of custom.
Support – Though it may be surprising, not all companies in the IT sector will provide round the clock support to assist your business. Be sure to work with suppliers that have a 24/7 x 365 support team available, this will ensure that should you face an issue you won’t be left alone to resolve it.
Testing – The best way to see just how your website will perform in the event of a surge of visitors to it is to put it through a testing process. Ensure that you have enough server space available to deal with a surge in traffic and the variety of requests that visitors will bring with them, from adding products to cart to searching by keywords. This will allow you to see the website as your customers do at peak periods, allowing you to discover what niggles and issues they face – which ultimately enables you to resolve these issues and increase your customer satisfaction.
Cloud – The answer to your problems may lie in a hybrid cloud solution. The pay-as-you-go aspect of Cloud enables you to scale up or down depending on the season, meaning you can easily add the additional capacity that you need when you need it. The private cloud aspect of the hybrid cloud will also ensure that your infrastructure has maximum security and performance protection.
Monitor – Once the above is resolved, great! But don’t forget that usage of the internet is ever changing and your customers may grow steadily or rapidly throughout the year, meaning that monitoring your infrastructure across the year is important to fully ensure that it is performing how you want it to.
For online retailers performance is key; and understanding your customer is the basis of ensuring that you continue to be able to perform well throughout the year. By making a few changes to the way you test, monitor and run your infrastructure you can ensure that should you face increased demand – you are prepared.