Starting on Thanksgiving Day, internet retailers will see a consistent flood of traffic as people begin their holiday shopping. And while many sites will have their sale items prepped and landing pages live, many will forget to load test their site and prepare their infrastructure for the influx of visitors.
A site that crashes under heavy load isn’t a site that will generate a lot of sales this holiday shopping season. If you haven’t tested your infrastructure yet, time is running out and there’s a lot riding on your site’s performance. It’s time to act.
What’ve you got to lose?
There’s a lot at stake for eCommerce platforms this time of year. Take a look at what you could be missing out on if your site returns a 404 error on a major sale day:
- Total online sales could amount to $100 billion during this season.
- Average spend per day will likely top $1 billion from November 22 to December 22.
- The average customer will wait only about five seconds for a page to load.
- 68% of shoppers won’t return to a poor performing site.
Don’t let holiday traffic overwhelm your website — and most importantly, don’t lose out on all the potential revenue this season has to offer.
Brace for impact
It’s imperative to make sure your IT infrastructure is ready to bear the brunt of heavy traffic. Here’s what you need to do to prepare for and adapt to high traffic levels:
- Check hosting plan and scale as needed. You’re likely paying for a hosting plan that allots you enough — and slightly more — bandwidth for routine traffic. But as your traffic scales up, so must your bandwidth to support it. Make sure you’re re-evaluating your hosting plan and scaling up during the peak holiday shopping season.
- Try out a load balancer. A crashed server is bad for business. Load balancing helps distribute your traffic evenly among multiple servers to make sure this doesn’t happen in the middle of a major sales rush. This approach has the added benefit of reducing latency under normal load as well.
- Utilize a content delivery network (CDN). Caching content and delivering it to local network servers is a great way to prevent long page-load times. A CDN will make sure your visitors see what they came for, without bogging down the site for the rest of your shoppers.
- Load test frequently. During off hours, be sure to load-test your infrastructure to make sure it’s standing up to the duress of the season. Stress testing and other evaluations alert you to problems before they cause real downtime.
- Back up data. You should be backing up data automatically already, but increasing the frequency of backups during peak season safeguards you against data loss accompanying a sudden outage or network downtime.
- Test for quality assurance. Above all, test the function and reliability of your site! Through independent testing and quality assurance, you’ll want to test performance, security, reliability, and any other variables affecting user experience.
Ideally, many of these items should be common practice for your eCommerce strategy. Peak traffic season gives you the perfect excuse to pay closer attention to each task or start implementing these practices if you’re not already. Stay vigilant to increased IT infrastructure demands and do your best to meet them, before it’s too late.
Is your eCommerce site equipped to handle the holiday shopping rush? If you’re worried about your site infrastructure, inventory system, security, or anything else, Value Global is here to help. Consult with our team today about getting your eCommerce site ready for the holidays.