Downtime affects all websites at some point or another, and even the best prepared sites will encounter problems that will impact visitors. At the same time, any number of vendors remain ready to provide the latest and greatest infrastructure, claiming to eliminate every potential problem. Each level of additional complexity can cut out another fraction of potential downtime, but eventually sites reach the point of diminishing returns and the investment becomes worthless. So how do retailers decide which investments will provide a positive return? Would investing in $12,000 of redundant servers be worthwhile?
Website downtime carries numerous implications, most obviously the direct loss of sales with consumers unable to view product information and place orders. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, consumers quickly abandon unavailable websites for ones where they can make their desired purchase. The rise of social media has caused an amplification of outage visibility as consumers broadcast complaints on Twitter and Facebook when they're unable to use a site. Mitigating this potential damage requires extra revenue-draining resources.