How Black Friday and Cyber Monday Were Saved with Performance and Monitoring Tools

Ah, the holidays. A great occasion to spend quality time with your family, eat a little too much, and indulge on the fantastic shopping deals. Online shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday account for a critical chunk of a retailer’s yearly revenue. Any downtime or abnormal slow performance will directly impact the bottom line of the business. So how should these e-commerce companies protect this increased income by preparing their site and applications properly to handle the drastic increase in load?

We partnered with InternetRetailer.com to conduct a survey of senior retail executives to see how e-commerce sites prepared for the holiday season, and how these preparations were crucial in surpassing their revenue goals. We went into the survey looked for specific answers, such as: If these sites invested in performance monitoring tools did they fare better through the holidays with less downtime? Were sites with a performance troubleshooting process in place more likely to exceed their goals? How has mobile e-commerce traffic grown year over year?Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.00.25 AM

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The results were quite surprising. We knew performance mattered as every minute of downtime these e-commerce sites would be losing money. However, we didn’t realize exactly how crucial having monitoring tools and a troubleshooting process were.

Some interesting facts:

  • 92% of retailers that had a site performance troubleshooting process were more likely to have met or exceeded their revenue numbers
  • 70% of retailers who exceed their revenue goals added new site performance and monitoring tools prior to the holidays
  • 24% reported their holiday mobile traffic increased by over 41% from the year before

The mobile piece is quite interesting. Though we know the mobile experience is a crucial stage in the buying cycle — notably for discovering and browsing — it still isn’t typically the final device used for the purchase stage. However, as the mobile traffic increases, the user experience still remains an absolutely vital cog in the purchase decision. In a previous study we conducted with the University of London, we found 86% of customers who have a bad first experience on a mobile app will never return to the app for a second chance.

The report doesn’t only highlight interested facts derived from the survey, but also insight from some of the top e-commerce companies in the world. Charles Hunsinger, CIO at Harry and David, details their troubleshooting process, “ We have several different tools in place, and they give us a lot of information to understand, if there is an issue, where it is coming from.”

On the mobile angle, Heather Dettmann, Digital Business Manager at Finish Line, states, “We know that customers will continue to explore and purchase products through a variety of touch-points, and we’ll continue to be everywhere that they are …. and deliver the best possible customer experience.”

Interested in checking out the full report, click here for your FREE copy!

Don’t Let (Application) Performance Ruin Your Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s day. Are you a believer or a begrudger who categorizes the day as commercialism merely designed to empty our pockets?

Regardless of where you fall on the skeptical scale, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey, we’re going to spend almost $19 billion painting the day red. Over 25% of us will head online rather than trudging the streets. And we’re going to want to find and order our gifts fast.

The greatest differentiator an online retailer can offer its customers – short of incredibly low prices that few can sustain – is blazing fast, reliable service. When we click on an image of a prospective gift, the product and purchase information should display instantaneously. No matter what day or time it is — and regardless of where in the world we happen to be.

We’re working with some of the largest retailers worldwide to help them assure their online performance and secure their customers’ business. In our latest customer roundup, we share how three of our retail customers went about doing this.

Overstock.com, one of the top most-visited mass merchandiser sites in the US, dramatically reduced the time it took to find the route cause of outages and fix them in a matter of minutes rather than hours — or even days. During 2014’s Black Friday weekend, Overstock reported a 23% increase in their sales over the same period a year earlier.

The Container Store, the US’ original and leading retailer of storage and organization products, realized speed was vital — particularly for “stocking-stuffer” gifts — and that customers could experience entirely different website performance depending on their location. Deciding to be proactive in assuring a consistent, lightening-fast response time to all customers, they used AppDynamics to locate website bugs and fix them before the customer is even aware of a potential problem. Even a 100-fold traffic spike on Cyber Monday holds no fear for The Container Store’s quality assurance team.

And not only did Wowcher — a popular daily deals site in the UK — reduce the time it took to repair faults to just 10 minutes, it also used AppDynamics to ensure their customers did not experience a degradation in performance when they migrated to Amazon EC2. That’s good news for all the men and ladies out there looking for a last-minute romantic experience, at a pocket-sparing-price.

Check out our FREE ebook, How 3 Global E-Commerce Companies Maintain Optimal Performance.