Borland website performance tool reveals top US retail websites struggled to handle peak web traffic on biggest online shopping day of the year
Cyber Monday, the busiest annual online shopping day of the year, made history with customers spending a record breaking £600 million, but many retailers failed to capitalize on potential profits as they struggled to cope with the pressure of increased website traffic driven by seasonal promotions.That’s according to live website performance data from Borland, a Micro Focus company.
Borland’s website performance tool, Silk WebMeter, picked up a direct correlation between an increase in sales-generated traffic and a delay in website response times – a troubling situation for any retailer looking to optimize seasonal profits and capitalize on discount-savvy shoppers.
According to the research, more than ten well-known global retailers were affected by the seasonal spike in website traffic. In the US, jewelry retailer, Jared, saw its website performance drop by more than 500% on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. The site slowed from a usual 2.6 second load time to a 16 second load time when site traffic peaked between 4:00 and 5:00pm ET on December 3. Other US retailers struggled with web performance in the lead up to Cyber Monday. Apple.com, which has one of the quickest response times at 1.2 seconds, experienced several “mini slow-downs” over the Thanksgiving weekend, including a 45 minute period on Tuesday, November 26 where average response times rose from 1.2 seconds to 26 seconds – a 2,000% increase.
Both Jared and Apple could well have lost customers as research suggests that 40% of online shoppers will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.1
Research has shown that even minor delays to website response times can have a sizeable impact on customer satisfaction and future shopping habits:
“Customers expect an instant response from websites and have little patience with poor performing sites,” said Archie Roboostoff, product director at Borland.“Our research shows some websites continue to underperform when faced with an increase in online traffic.”
“While its inevitable that there will be some some slowdown of website performance during seasonal peak times, retailers should have a strategy in place ahead of time to ensure their website runs smoothly during a promotional event. This includes shutting down non-essential services and increasing capacity so that their networks can handle heavy loads. This strategy can also be used as a back up plan for any retailers who find their websites under performing in the midst of a sales promotion.”
Bridging the gap between IT and marketing
The Borland website performance data makes a clear case for marketing and IT departments to work together to ensure systems are able to deal with the traffic increases generated by online promotions. Recent research by Borland proves this point. While 79% of the 590 global CIOs polled confirmed they are aware of seasonal events that drive web traffic, 44% do not test their websites to see if they could handle the increase in traffic despite its importance to revenue generation.
“Many marketing departments have the right to question why their website wasn’t prepared for the Cyber Monday rush,” said Roboostoff. “IT departments need to ensure their websites can adapt to changing traffic patterns, and that their testing replicates real-world online activity. That way, retailers can adequately prepare for peak site traffic, improving end-user experience, increasing conversions, and ensuring marketing campaigns deliver the maximum return on investment.”
Originating in 1983, Borland Software Corporation is a world-class provider of requirements, test and change management solutions. As part of Micro Focus Ltd, a member of the FTSE 250, Borland offers tools that are open, agile and work across the entire Application Development Lifecycle to enable customers to build better software, faster. For additional information please visit www.borland.com.
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