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Is Your Site Ready for the Busiest Ever Cyber Monday?

This year, Cyber Monday U.S. sales are expected to hit a record $3 billion. The National Retail Federation states that 183.8 million people (80% of holiday shoppers) are projected to shop.

If the forecast is accurate, Cyber Monday 2015 will mark the BIGGEST day in history for online sales.

Overall, holiday shopping online is seeing a good uptick. According to Adobe Digital Index, online Black Friday sales will increase 15% to 2.7 billion. Collectively, online holiday sales will total $83 billion from November and December.

Will your site scale—on the most critical day of the year?

If not, you could stand to lose out on significant revenue. Since it’s debut in 2005, Cyber Monday has been notorious for having some of the worst service failures for shoppers, as dozens of major retailers experienced downtime—due to overwhelming global traffic.

Some of the major retail sites that crashed—with more than 10 minutes of downtime, include: PC Mall, 128 minutes (2011); Best Buy, 90 minutes (2014); Toys R’ Us, 32 minutes (2011); Newegg, 60 minutes (2011); and Nordstrom, 12 minutes (2011).

Best Buy's 404 Page (Cyber Monday 2014)

Best Buy’s 404 Page (Cyber Monday 2014)

Although many of these sites had more than 90% availability, such an outage on the most high-traffic shopping day of the year can result in hundreds of thousands, to even millions of dollars in revenue loss. According to Kissmetrics: “If an eCommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page load delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.”

What are the impacts of Cyber Monday outages?

Direct sales loss.
An outage is synonymous to your doors being closed. Your customers can’t ‘check-out’ and purchase.
The loss can be determined by:

Direct Sales Loss = Avg. Hourly Sales Volume x (outage duration + avg. purchase session length)

Lost sales to competitors.
When your doors are closed—and since most items you sell can often be found on your competitor’s site anyway, they wind up going to your competition. Every second a customer spends waiting for your page to load is an opportunity to lose them to faster competition. And, on Cyber Monday, you can expect a market chock-full of competition. In fact, 72% of frustrated customers will abandon your site for a competitor’s.

The loss can be quantified by:
Avg. Hourly Visitors x Conversion Rate x Average Sale x (outage duration in + avg. visit length)

Loss of customer loyalty.
An ecommerce Cyber Monday report conducted by Ponemon, found that disgruntled shoppers who were unable to make a purchase—and decided not to return—caused an estimated brand damage of $3.4 million (for average retailers). Kissmetrics states that “79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from that same site again.”

Negative brand equity.
If a major retailer experiences downtime during Cyber Monday, chances are, you’ll hear about it via social media. According to research, 44% of online shoppers are likely to tell others about a bad online experience.

Operational costs.
Outages cause your customer support, marketing and sales teams to respond to complaints, while IT must work to restore systems.  The overall operational cost of customers support alone, can be estimated by: Increase in ticket volume x avg. ticket response cost

What can you do about it?

Online holiday shoppers expect fast performance. With all the planning that takes place to prepare for the holidays, it’s critical to ensure you have the right infrastructure to handle spikes in traffic. Before this holiday season passes, take the following steps to analyze your performance:

  • Monitor and audit your bandwidth capacity throughout the season, and understand your infrastructure weaknesses.
  • Conduct tests using Real-User Monitoring (RUM), which enables you to collect data about your site performance as experienced by actual users.
  • Develop a formal plan: Partner with CacheFly Content Delivery Network (CDN) in 2016.

In our Cyber-Monday post-mortem post, we’ll provide you with guided steps to ensure the fastest delivery in 2016.

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