Black Friday is one of the most significant shopping events of the year, both for consumers and businesses. As it traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Almost all stores offer highly promoted sales at the discounted prices which continue to another week – Cyber week. It’s the day when retailers offer irresistible discounts, and shoppers flock to stores or, increasingly, websites to snag the best deals. The Black Friday sales in the UK is expected to reach £8.71 billion in 2023, up from £8.3 billion in 2022 (Statista).
For eCommerce businesses, it’s an opportunity to boost sales, attract new customers, and drive revenue. Now imagine, your eCommerce store becomes slow or the applications keep crashing, unable to handle the traffic,disappointing the buyer and driving them to your competitors. Losing customers and missing out on the significant sales opportunities. This is where eCommerce performance testing becomes crucial.
What is eCommerce Performance Testing?
eCommerce performance testing is a process that evaluates the responsiveness, stability, and scalability of your online store under varying loads and conditions. It’s a comprehensive way to ensure that your website can handle the increased traffic and demand during high-traffic periods like Black Friday. Performance testing typically includes load testing, stress testing, and scalability testing to identify potential bottlenecks, improve response times, and optimize the user experience.
Some Popular Incidents of Website Crashed During Black Friday Sales
Website crashes during Black Friday have become notorious for costing businesses millions in lost sales and damaging their reputations. A study by cloud computing company Akamai found that website outages cost retailers an estimated $4.5 billion in lost sales during Black Friday 2020. While many incidents have occurred over the years, here are some popular examples of website crashes during Black Fridays:
- Walmart (multiple incidents): Walmart, one of the largest retailers in the world, has experienced various website crashes and performance issues on Black Fridays. These incidents have ranged from slow load times to intermittent outages, affecting the shopping experience for countless customers.
- H&M (2020): In 2020, H&M’s website crashed on Black Friday due to a sudden surge in online traffic. Shoppers were met with error messages and slow-loading pages, hindering their ability to browse and purchase items.
- GameStop (2021): In 2021, GameStop’s website encountered technical difficulties on Black Friday, frustrating customers who were eager to take advantage of gaming deals. The website experienced slow loading times and checkout issues, impacting sales.
Why is eCommerce Performance Testing Essential for Black Friday Sales?
Multiple features like payment options, search options, cart and product details make eCommerce apps a complex platform. In order to deliver an unmatched user experience each functionality should perform seamlessly. Which requires thorough eCommerce performance testing to evaluate if the app can handle the sudden surge during the holiday season. Performance testing highlights the performance related problems with the app long before the customers do. Here is what needs to be done;
- Avoid Downtime:
The last thing you want on Black Friday is for your website to crash or become slow due to excessive traffic. Downtime can result in lost sales and a negative customer experience. Performance testing helps you identify and fix issues that could lead to downtime, ensuring your site remains stable and responsive.
- Enhance User Experience:
Slow-loading pages, checkout errors, and site crashes can frustrate potential customers and drive them to your competitors. Performance testing helps optimize the user experience, ensuring your website runs smoothly and quickly, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Boost Sales and Revenue:
A fast and reliable website can significantly impact your sales. If customers can quickly find and purchase products, they’re more likely to complete their transactions. Performance testing ensures your site can handle the increased load and, in turn, boost your Black Friday sales and revenue.
- Gain Customer Trust:
A website that performs well not only increases sales but also builds trust with your customers. When shoppers have a positive experience on your site, they are more likely to return for future purchases and recommend your store to others.
- Prepare for Peaks in Traffic:
Black Friday is known for its sudden spikes in online traffic. Performance testing helps you identify how your website performs under different loads, so you can prepare for and handle these traffic peaks without any issues.
This brings us to the question, what needs to be done to achieve the aforementioned? We have crafted some steps for effective eCommerce Performance Testing, so you don’t have to!
Steps for Effective eCommerce Performance Testing
- Identify Critical User Scenarios: Determine the most critical user scenarios for Black Friday, such as product searches, adding items to the cart, and completing the checkout process. These scenarios should be at the core of your performance testing.
- Set Realistic Load Scenarios: Simulate realistic user loads that your website might experience on Black Friday. Consider factors like the number of users, concurrent sessions, and the geographical distribution of your customers.
- Test Website Responsiveness: Measure the response times for critical actions on your site. This includes page load times, form submissions, and database queries. Ensure that these actions are performed quickly and efficiently.
- Monitor Resource Usage: Keep an eye on the resources your website consumes, including server CPU, memory, and network bandwidth. Identify any resource bottlenecks that could impact performance.
- Analyze Scalability: Test your website’s ability to scale horizontally or vertically. Ensure that your infrastructure can handle increased loads by adding more servers or resources as needed.
- Continuous Testing: Don’t limit performance testing to the days leading up to Black Friday. Regularly test your website’s performance to identify and fix issues as they arise, ensuring that your site remains in top condition throughout the year.
eCommerce performance testing is a critical component of a successful Black Friday sales strategy. It not only ensures that your website can handle the increased traffic and demand but also enhances the user experience, boosts sales, and safeguards your brand’s reputation. By investing in performance testing, you can capitalize on one of the biggest shopping events of the year and set your eCommerce business up for long-term success.
So what are you waiting for? Book a consultation now with our Engineers!