Are online stores ready for the holidays?
By now, the trend toward online shopping is longstanding and indisputable. But that doesn’t mean selling online is a cinch. For every sale that clicks all the way through to the online cash register, many others are aborted along the way, often because the site crashes, or is just too slow.
A survey conducted shortly after last year’s holiday shopping season found that online shopping satisfaction was at a 12-year low. The much more detailed UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study also measures customer satisfaction with several different pieces of online shopping and found that only about two-thirds of those surveyed were satisfied with the checkout process. In today’s insanely competitive market, where consumers are being fed ads for competitor stores even as they’re entering their credit card number, these rates of satisfaction are just not good enough.
When it comes to online retail, seconds count. This infographic shows how a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. To put that into perspective, if Amazon.com site is making $67 million per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost $1.6 billion loss each year.
But speed is not the only factor online retailers need to worry about. There is also the challenge of delivering increasingly complex apps over new platforms such as mobile, without compromising the shopper experience.
Mobile is increasingly the platform of choice for online shopping, but brings with it a new set of performance challenges. Shoppers have high expectations for mobile shopping apps, seeking features such as searchable product catalogs that add convenience for them but complexity to the app itself.
Retail has always been a competitive business, especially around the holidays. But the level of competition has risen to a whole new level in today’s market, where stores must not only deliver complex services over new platforms, but do so at a blazing fast speed.
It sounds like a daunting challenge and while the solution is not easy, it is simple. When businesses focus on speed and responsiveness they can identify potential problems ahead of time. By testing, measuring and optimizing for speed proactively, they can help ensure that their customers get an optimal performance.
Readiness is key. The holidays are rapidly approaching and the time to performance test is now.
I'll explore some of those solutions in depth in future posts.