Website delays cause of customer and revenue drop-off
Businesses across the world are transitioning from the contemporary shelf sale model to online marketing. This trend is powered by the device eco system that enables consumers to access information from multiple devices on a wide array of platforms. Consumers are redefining what ‘instant’ means – attention spans are getting shorter and brand loyalty is increasingly fragile. As this marketplace continues to evolve, ecommerce merchants cannot afford for website performance to let them down.
Annual sales promotions running post-Christmas and the New Year period, generated significant consumer interest and enthusiasm, but analysis from Borland, a Micro Focus company, shows that many retailer websites were unable to cope with the associated increase in traffic.
Using an advanced in-house website performance tool based on Silk Performer technology, Borland identified an overwhelming correlation between sales-generated traffic rises and increases in website response times – a nightmare situation for any retailer hoping to capitalize on the seasonal online rush of bargain-hunting consumers.
“There is lots of data available showing that users are losing patience with poor performing websites,” said Nitin Dang, Country General Manager, Micro Focus, India and SAARC. “It looks like a number of the sites monitored over the seasonal period will have missed out on potential revenue as a result of their website’s inability to process high levels of traffic. Developing a robust performance strategy takes time, and peak period preparation should begin early with testing starting about six months beforehand. Putting in this groundwork is crucial if retailers are to take full advantage of peak shopping times throughout the year.”
Commenting further, Dang said: “Clearly this is an issue that online merchants need to get a handle on. Online commerce is growing across channels, and smartphone adoption is on the increase around the world. Retail brands increasingly depend on a strong multichannel presence, and seasonal promotions provide a great opportunity to market to new audiences. However, poor website or app performance now has the potential to reduce revenue and damage brand reputation.”
How significant is this trend in India?
During the post-Christmas and New Year Sales, most of the popular shopping sites experienced a rush of last minute online purchases with response times on the home page exceeding 18 seconds. Web traffic was seen to peak especially during these Sales and most online retail stores struggled with their websites’ performance. Transactions pass through multiple servers, containers and databases on their round trip “conversation” with the end user, this is the supporting environment. Time and time again sites fail when the traffic through the supporting environment is higher than expected, and/or the expected capacity of transactions can’t be met. Poor code quality and insufficient or problematic supporting environments are the major contributors to poor site performance.
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