Monday, May 18, 2015 - 07:49
Recently, I wrote a piece for Retail Online Integration about how some e-retailers struggle to pinpoint the cause of performance problems on their websites. In the article, I outlined a few signs that eCommerce businesses need to switch their hosting solutions to prevent unwanted headaches for shoppers. Below, I’ve shared the top three signs. You can also read the original seven, here.
#1 My Site Keeps Crashing
In 2014, electronics giant BestBuy suffered a website crash on Cyber Monday. What was meant to be one of the most lucrative online shopping days for the retailer ended up costing it significant sales and customer goodwill. The impact was intensified by many other retailers with similar products competing for shoppers’ attention on the same day, with much more responsive and faster websites.
This scenario is not a new one – and it’s not only an issue on the busiest online shopping days of the year. Whether a website crashes at 2 a.m. or at 2 p.m., in December or in March, customers will look to shop elsewhere when they can’t shop with their first choice. And, their expectations remain the same throughout the shopping experience – from browsing, to editing their shopping cart, to checking out. With annual U.S. e-retail figures at an all-time high, e-retailers cannot afford to lose customers’ interest at any step.
#2 I’m Always Fixing Things
A poor site doesn’t always disrupt shoppers, though. Sometimes the only symptom is high maintenance costs. That threatens e-retailers’ profits, but it also indicates that there may be an underlying infrastructure issue that needs to be addressed.
E-retailers shouldn’t wait for their solution to fall apart, as Walmart did when a glitch published incorrect prices on its online store. The glitch was not only fiscally expensive for Walmart, which later had to reimburse shoppers, but also cost the trust of some loyal shoppers. To avoid issues like this, retailers must look to a hosting provider that will stay ahead of infrastructure issues and prevent their websites from delivering a poor customer experience.
#3 Scaling Is a Nightmare
All online retailers are investing in ways to bring new visitors to their sites and grow online traffic, including pop-up coupons, free shipping deals and customer surveys. However, if a website keeps crashing under the weight of the traffic resulting from sales and marketing promotions, the return on these investments is hugely diminished.
Take, for instance, the much-anticipated launch of the Lilly Pulitzer collection at Target. While heavy demand in the store cleaned out shelves, even greater demand online crashed the site. Target’s website was unable to scale quickly enough to meet the demand of its eager shoppers, and ultimately failed to deliver the experience they expected.
Every millisecond matters for an eCommerce business. Poor website performance, high maintenance costs and the inability to scale to an influx of traffic can derail the sites of even the most beloved retailers. Make sure your hosting provider doesn’t let that happen to your site.