Black Friday

Will you be #TeamWinterfell or #TeamWhiteWalkers this Black Friday?

If you don’t understand this Game of Thrones reference, or are simply not up to date, let us clarify things for you without spoilers: one of these teams goes down in the end. Will Black Friday 2019 bring your website down too?

According to Business Insider, in 2018, online sales hit the $2.4 billion dollar mark by Wednesday (two whole days before Black Friday even came around)! This represents a 31.8% increase in revenues when compared to 2017. By the time Black Friday came to an end, Adobe Analytics reported a grand total of $6.22 billion spent, which is a whopping 23.6% increase when compared to the year before.

Stores get very messy during Black Friday, and more people every year are choosing to engage in Black Friday shopping from the comfort of their homes. And the reality is that it is very likely that these numbers will continuing increasing throughout the next Black Fridays.

Is your company ready for this?

You might be thinking “why would I start worrying about performance testing my website in May when Black Friday is only at the end of November?”

And here is the truth: no performance testing can come too early when an enormous profit loss could be in the horizon.

black friday

Amongst some of last year’s lack-of-performance-testing victims are big names like Walmart, GameStop, and Lululemon. Lululemon took to Facebook to share their woos: “We knew it would be a busy day, and I suppose technology got away from us this time around.”

Another reason not to let technology get away from you is that Black Friday online sales seem to be starting earlier every year. It has therefore become extremely important that companies are ready for heavy traffic during most of the week, starting the Monday before Thanksgiving and ending on Cyber Monday.

black friday

According to Business Insider, one of last year’s biggest victims was J.Crew. Experts calculated a potential loss of over $700,000 throughout the duration of their website crash. In 2017, another famous crash was Nordstrom (the Seattle-based department store) whose website crashed on their anniversary sale. 

It cost Nordstrom millions of dollars along with scores of paying customers, who patiently shopped for hours adding products to their carts, only to find them empty on checkout. Frustration and disappointment was reflected on social media, as these crashes do not go by quietly. People love to share their disaster stories, thus having a big impact on the companies’ reputation.” You can read more about this in our article here.

There is virtually no reason not to be ready. We understand that it is impossible to plan for every drawback, but the reality is you can execute performance tests and ensure a great user experience for your customers this Black Friday.

It is important not to underestimate the enormous power that users now hold: if your website takes too long to load, some other website out there will not. Consumers are no longer afraid to steer away from their go-to stores if it means better performance. In last year’s article, we outlined some stats for you:

According to Akamai’s 2016 Holiday Retail Insights Report, the ‘sweet spot’ – the load time that corresponds to peak conversions – was 3.8 seconds in 2014, 2.4 in 2016, and 2.0 seconds in 2016. You don’t have to be a data scientist to see the trend: Fast loading web pages and apps convert to more sales. The same report said that even a 1 second delay impacts bounce rates by up to 50%.”

But the truth is, if you look at the chart Akamai developed below, having your page load just one second faster can increase your conversion rate by 27%!

black friday

Performance Testing, Load Testing, Stress Testing, Test Automation, Quality Assurance Testing, are just some of the services we offer at TPC. Every day, we Test Smarter, incorporating better processes and tools into our services. Our job is to help our customers stay one step ahead.

Remember: it is not only retailers that can get affected by Black Friday heavy traffic. Search engines, business directories, travel directories, and review websites are also susceptible. Do not forget that consumers are not just buying: they are also engaging in pre-sale processes such as finding out store locations and reading reviews. Any website can suffer from the bad marketing reputation when the word gets out that their website is down.

In a previous article we wrote down a quick checklist you can follow to start planning for the holiday season, and to better prepare for Black Friday 2019:

  1. Analyze historical application workloads
  2. Test to 2X-5X maximum anticipated loads
  3. Test to failure to know now
  4. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. Don’t skimp on mobile testing!
  5. Know all your 3rd party resources and how to turn them off if needed
  6. Define workloads for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Eve, and other high-traffic days
  7. Test early and often
  8. Analyze performance results
  9. Making required tuning changes
  10. Test and test again until business goals are met

If you would like a free performance test completed on your website or application feel free to contact us. We begin planning for many of our customer for the holiday season in January. It is never too early to start planning.