3 Ways Retailers Can Avoid Digital Performance Heartbreak
In the afterglow of Valentine’s Day, many of us are thinking back on romantic dinners successfully booked, beautiful flower deliveries received and stunning diamond earnings gifted.
Holidays like Valentine’s Day are some of the most crucial online traffic days for retailers and specialty stores. And it’s not just the big ones like Cyber Monday and Black Friday that matter. Customers are increasingly demanding exceptional digital experiences on Valentine’s Day and every day of the year. Just keeping the lights on with the bare minimum digital experience is no longer enough.
In the chocolatier category, for example, we saw that Harry and David provided its customers with the fastest server side response times over the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. It was almost three times faster than the slowest chocolatier company.
But retailers need to remember that shoppers will happily and quickly abandon online sessions — even if they’re just a little bit slow — in favor of similar products from competitors offering a better overall digital experience. We know that nearly 50 percent of shoppers will abandon a mobile site if it takes more than three seconds to load, so it’s critical that the mobile experience be efficient and responsive, especially for millennials.
So while this year’s retailers showed no signs of digital performance heartbreak over the Valentine’s Day weekend, they need to be sure to prepare in advance to deliver the best digital performance possible to beat out their competitors. Here’s how to ensure that your customers love you.
Have a Plan in Place
A Valentine’s date is sure to go poorly if there’s no planning done ahead of time. With this in mind, retailers need to ensure they have a plan in place ahead of any holiday event, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Cyber Monday.
The mistake that many retailers make is to implement a reactive disaster recovery plan in the event something should go wrong. That’s the wrong approach to take, especially with your brand’s reputation on the line. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Retailers need to be proactive to ensure that their sites and applications have been thoroughly tested far in advance of any holiday event.
Have the Right Tools at Your Fingertips
Having a site go down or one that’s experiencing slower performance can inflict long-lasting damage on a brand. That’s especially the case in this age of social media, when one bad review can go a long way and be broadcast to the masses.
Yes, it’s great to have a plan in place, but if you don’t have the right tools that plan won’t be enough. Retailers need to make sure their sites are not only running fast from an end user perspective, but are also optimized on the server side. The solution is a common tool that everyone in the organization can use, whether in operations, development or beyond.
Understand the Data … and How to Use It
You can have the right tools in place, but if you don’t have the expertise to understand that data, you can’t make the most of it. Modern retail applications are incredibly complex and retailers need to have a clear understanding of the relationship between application components and external internet factors. And while most retailers have a few rock stars that understand the big picture of data across the board, what they really need is a next generation set of tools to automatically notify that event is occurring, analyze all the dependencies and discover the root cause of the issue.
Check out the below infographic to find the brands’ websites that performed best leading up to Valentine's Day.
For more information on our Valentine’s Day monitoring and how retailers can give their customers a digital experience that they ultimately love, click here to read our blog.
David Jones is the field technical evangelist at Dynatrace, an application performance management software provider.
Related story: Back-to-School: A Prep Course for Peak Holiday Season