Cyber Monday Sales Stellar, but Not for Untested Commerce, Mobile Sites

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-11-30 Print this article Print

The impatience of online shoppers was particularly tested on Cyber Monday for those using the mobile devices that IBM referred to. According to a report by Keynote Systems, the average wait time for Cyber Monday mobile users for a page to load was 18 seconds. Considering that this is eight times longer than it takes for a typical nonmobile site to load, it's likely that retailers lost a lot of mobile customers. The slower performance for mobile users was apparently due to inadequate testing of mobile sites by retailers according to the report. According to a report by CNNMoney, Foot Locker's commerce site crashed for 35 minutes from too much traffic.

Now comes the big question. How do you keep your business from being part of the digital detritus littering the shoulders of the information superhighway? There are really three things you must do if you plan to keep up with heavy shopping days.

First, invest in bandwidth. Chances are the commerce site you have running on that server in the back of the data center won't cut it when serious shopping comes. You can either make sure your servers are up to the potential demand and that your access to the Internet can meet significant demand growth this year or you need to move your commerce to some other site, perhaps Amazon or eBay.

Second, fully test both your commerce site and your mobile site. There are companies that will help you set up testing so you can make sure your site will work, but you need to go online during busy periods and see for yourself. On days when you're experiencing heavy traffic, go to your own site and see what the experience is like. Remember, nearly everyone abandons a poor shopping experience. You need to know if that's what you're delivering. And, by the way, don't just log in from your internal network. Log in from home or from Starbucks like everyone else does and check your Website and mobile sites this way.

Finally, make sure the online transactions are making it through the purchase process. Shoppers need confirmation that the purchase really happened. This means making sure you send out a confirmation email. The last thing you want is to have customers cancel orders because they don't think their order went through.

Of course, there's nothing you can do to impart sanity to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but at least you can make sure you don't lose business. The best time to prepare for next year is now so you have plenty of time to get it right and then test your sites again to make sure you got it right.


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