Black Friday sales

Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping sales. Originated as a pass time in the US, Black Friday today is a global phenomenon generating huge sales all over. Be it online or offline, Black Friday sales have taken the market by storm.

Year after year, the popularity and sales of Black Friday are breaking records. In 2019, Black Friday sales in the United States totaled 7.4 billion USD, a jump of 19.6% from the previous year. With the expectation of having the most prominent revenue collection during the Black Friday holiday season, you cannot risk your eCommerce store showing down, crashing, or experiencing downtime. 

In the guide below, you will get to know the ideas to avoid crashes, slowness and enhance sales of your eCommerce store. Let us dive in.

Run performance tests before the BIG day

Performance tests are ideal to know if your eCommerce platform and its infrastructure can deal with high web traffic in a specific period. Performance tests aim to optimize the back end of your store. Although you might not be sure of the number of visitors to expect, running a performance test with an enhanced approach will help you know the numbers your site can handle without slowing down or crashing. In addition, you would also know how your system weakens as the traffic increases in terms of resource usage and response time.

Types of performance tests –

  • Endurance test – Endurance test is testing your eCommerce store with a significant load over a specific period to evaluate its performance under sustainable use.
  • Peak test: The peak test evaluates how your site performs when experiencing a surge in web traffic.
  • Load test – Load testing is giving your website a target load scenario and evaluating how it behaves. It involves assessing opportunities for improvement.
  • Stress test – The stress test is to know the breaking point of your site. 

Performance Testing Tips

Allow plenty time

Do not leave your site performance testing just ahead of Black Friday sales or until after a user complains about downtime or slowness. Performance issues take time to deal with. Therefore, instead of planning the performance test of your site in the last few days before the peak period, arrange them in advance. Give your team sufficient time to fix any problems that get discovered. Additionally, also prepare the test data and test environment beforehand. 

Black Friday sales

Evaluate Third-Party Integrations

Make sure that all the several third-party integrations are updated. With the third-party integrations up-to-date, you can experience a remarkable difference in the performance of your web store. Make sure they can deal with peak traffic, test them several times, and do not make newer additions at the last moment once you are satisfied with their performance. In 2015, an integrated app caused the GymShark site to crash on Black Friday for eight hours straight.

Prioritize Tests According to Risk

With the shopping season nearby, your team might not have the time to test every aspect of the site with sufficient time and emphasis. Your team is likely to make mistakes if they try to punch in ample testings in a limited time. Meaning, you need to prioritize the functionalities that are of most importance and critical for your business. Functionalities that your visitors use the most while on your site to shop. For the majority of eCommerce stores, the essential-most functionalities include user login, payment gateway, order processing, and shopping cart.

Set Up Site Monitoring

Site monitoring can help keep you updated on the well-being of the infrastructure of your store. There are tools available that can help you monitor your site. You can set up alerts and monitors to keep you posted with your store details. You must monitor every component such that none of them might turn out to be a hassle later. Also, keep an eye on the database by regularly analyzing the transactions, database indicators, and locks. 

Black Friday sales

Be Realistic

Be realistic with the load you put on your site. Try running loads that you hope or expect to witness during your holiday sale campaign. In case you test a small amount of load, you would not be well-prepared for the actual load during the Black Friday sales. And when you test your site with an overly ambitious load count, you would needlessly be left worrying about your store infrastructure.

Deliver a quality Mobile Shopping Experience

When speaking of eCommerce sales, optimizing your eCommerce store for mobile eCommerce traffic is essential. Research data shows that we are a part of an era where smartphones reign supreme. In August 2020, about 60% of e-store visits came via smartphones. In the year 2020, buyers spent over 190 billion USD on online shopping using smartphones.

While using a native application or a smartphone web browser, users expect a quick loading time. A study in 2019 states that about 74% of users leave an online site if the loading time is more than 5 seconds on a mobile phone.

How can you improve Mobile Performance for your eCommerce Store?

To ensure the enhanced mobile performance of your site on a smartphone browser or app, you can use tools like Google PageSpeed. For native mobile apps, you should run performance tests using tools readily available in the market. Some of the essentials to evaluate include server response time, bottlenecks in the database, and the application server resources.

Black Friday sales

Do not leave your eCommerce site untested before Black Friday

The grounds of a great online shopping experience lies in having a greatly performant website or mobile app. First, it is essential to make your eCommerce site functional. For instance, check if the “add to cart”, button does what it says. Then start with the functional tests with several functionalities and follow up with performance tests. With all tests done, you can be sure of decent load times and reliability even during the peak sales season like Black Friday.

Review the Infrastructure of your Site

You can temporarily increase your site’s infrastructure to prepare for the holiday seasons like Black Friday sales when the traffic significantly spikes. Cloud solutions make this possible, especially for small eCommerce businesses. You must be sure that the auto-scaling strategies are optimal when considering costs and performance. Test your site performance in a setting where the site infrastructure is the same as that of the production. Such a setting is when there is lesser traffic on your site. The idea is to track the breaking point of your site. It is critical not to test your site when an actual buyer is in the middle of making a purchase.

Conclusively, when a season or holiday sale is around, especially Black Friday sales, you cannot afford your site to slow down or crash when the sales shoot up high. Hence, keeping yourself prepared in advance with a ready site for high web traffic can be a savior for your business.

Also, Check out this article to know more: How to increase conversion rates for eCommerce

About the author

Prior to joining BetterCommerce Finlay was implementing same day delivery propositions for brands and retailers across the UK and Europe. With 16 years of commercial leadership experience across the media, digital, IoT and e-commerce industries he is playing a strategic role in developing and executing our GTM activities.

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