At Micro Kickboard, the distributor of scooters, kickboards and other products used for urban mobility and recreation, we experienced a major website crash during a crucial sale event last year. This issue stirred change throughout the organization and prompted website updates that have had lasting results on customer experience and sales.
One of Micro Kickboard’s key events each year is National Scooter Day, a campaign highlighting the benefits of scooter riding by promoting scooting as a healthy and safe way to travel. During a typical day, our company website can handle approximately 500 concurrent shoppers, but during National Scooter Day, Micro Kickboard attracted many more, causing the website to crash for the first time. This website crash meant that interested shoppers couldn't access the website.
We estimate a loss of $15,000 occurred that day, based on approximately 30 percent of shoppers not being able to place orders due to the website failure. The website couldn't handle the customer inflow. We got in touch with our IT person and our server host. The issue took one hour to fix and the provider was only able to get it working at a much slower pace. We realized we needed something else in place to protect our customers’ online shopping experience and overall revenue.
The lessons we learned as a result of the website crash on National Scooter Day enabled us to have a very successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Micro Kickboard experienced a 500 percent increase in traffic and a very low bounce rate on Black Friday. With the help of the lessons we learned during this initial website crash, we shifted from losing 30 percent of our customers on a major sale day to achieving a higher conversion rate of the significantly increased traffic. In addition, customers spent more time on our website, which in turn led to higher average order value.
Here are three lessons we learned from our site crash on National Scooter Day:
1. Preparation is Key
To prepare the Micro Kickboard website for future spikes in traffic, both predicted and not, we choose to partner with Queue-it, a proven SaaS solution that offers virtual waiting rooms. Queue-it launches a virtual waiting room when a website capacity threshold pre-set by a customer is reached, routing shoppers to the site in first-in-first-out order. This creates a safety net for our website so that we can be certain we wouldn’t again experience a total failure as we did on National Scooter Day. Even during the 500 percent increase in website traffic that we saw on Black Friday, Queue-it contributed to our ability to achieve a heightened conversion rate.
2. Server Capacity Isn't What it Seems
In advance of our National Scooter Day launch, we were under the impression that we had access to “unlimited” server capacity, though even this space didn't prevent our website failure. This is what made adding Queue-it's solution so appealing. Even if you're equipped with server capacity, this doesn't ensure additional website load capacity or speed during high-traffic times.
3. Customer Experience is Paramount
At Micro Kickboard, our ultimate goal is to provide our customers with the most seamless and enjoyable online shopping experience possible, no matter the day. For us, this means maintaining website speed and communication at all times. Queue-it allows us to customize queue pages, so that in the case that a shopper must wait, they're informed and entertained. We're able to communicate directly to consumers in line and moderate the flow of shoppers to ensure website speed is optimum. We've seen great success and received feedback from satisfied customers, even those who had to wait in line.
Jamie Rau is the marketing director for Micro Kickboard, the U.S. distributor for innovative Swiss company Micro-Mobility, maker of the world's best-rated scooters and kickboards and other innovative products used for urban mobility.