Why is performance testing before Black Friday a must?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, so it’s your last chance to take a look at previous years’ results for business and do the math. Together with Christmas sales, these three events make up for the peak load in Internet traffic. ECommerce and mobile apps endure the highest load and expect great profits.

In 2020, Cyber Monday garnered $10.8 billion, which makes it the biggest eCommerce day in US history. Black Friday sales volume was $9bn, which is almost 20% more than 2019. The pandemic made online sales many times more important than the offline ones, and most of the purchases were made with the mobile applications. Mobile has been on the first place since 2015, when it outgrew desktops, and the trend has been only upwards since then. Mobile now accounts for the majority of visits to retailers, and the percentage is predicted to be growing.

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The eCommerce landscape has shifted

Obviously, eCommerce is growing, and consumer confidence is growing, but user requirements are growing along, and that implies both web sites and apps. Website, software and mobile performance are more important now than ever. According to Akamai, 49% of visitors expect the website to load in 2 seconds, and 30% – in 1 second. 50% of visitors would feel disappointed and visit a different website, if their expectations won’t be met, and 22% will never be back. Research by Dynatrace has shown that 75% of all mobile and tablet software users will not use a retailer’s website or app if these work slowly or are bugged.

This is why now is the time to satisfy your customers and make their online shopping experience convenient and flawless. Below, we’re quoting the amounts of lost revenues worldwide retrospectively, so that you could make up your mind yourselves, but trust us: crashes or delays in peak hours can make your business suffer.

Some of the craziest examples of revenues lost because of the fact that companies had not tested their systems performance beforehand happened in 2019. In 2020,we took a short break, since retailers collectively blew up the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. Instead of door-busting discounts, open doors on Thanksgiving and frenzied crowds, major players in the industry spread discounts throughout November and launched online sales events in October. But the world has adapted to living with COVID19 by now, and the season of 2021 is likely to be more similar to any year before 2020.

Black Friday 2019 was tragic for some eCommerce market players. In J.Crew’s case, the company lost 323,000 shoppers which were about to bring $775,000 in about 5 hours.

Walmart might have lost $9 million in just 150 minutes. Costco said goodbye to $11 million, with a website going down for more than 16h. What is more, website issues damaged the company’s reputation. Unsatisfied customers flooded social networks with messages of frustration, promising to shop at their competitors instead.

Why is performance testing before Black Friday a must

Why you can't afford to skip performance testing

As for 2021, Adobe expects U.S. holiday sales online to hit $207 billion from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, setting a new record. This represents a 10 percent increase from 2020, a strong growth rate after a year where the pandemic made eCommerce an essential service. Globally, online spending is expected to hit $910 billion this season, 11 percent growth year-over-year (YoY).

On average, a consumer in the U.S. will spend 12 full hours shopping online this holiday season. During the “golden hours” of eCommerce (7:00–11:00 pm PT on Cyber Monday), shoppers will spend nearly $3 billion online ($2.9B) in just 4 hours, 50 percent more than a typical full day in August 2021 ($1.9B). In the peak hour of Cyber Monday (8:00–9:00 pm PT), consumers will spend over $12 million every minute.

Get seated and try to count how much it will cost you if your website crashes for mere 15 minutes, or if 30% of your visitors leave the app due to unexpectedly slow response. To avoid Black Friday discontent, you simply must monitor the performance of your website and mobile applications. And don’t forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday only start the holiday season.

Why is performance testing before Black Friday a must

Tips for having a successful Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The checklist we give our clients for performance testing before sales, especially such peak sales as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, includes just a few points:

  • Start early. This way, you’ll have time to fix every bottleneck found while testing.
  • Don’t run tests during peak hours. You don’t want your customer to be in the middle of a transaction when the system freezes.
  • Prioritize. If you don’t have enough time to test everything, test the most visited pages or the maximum load your system can handle. This way, you’ll be able to redesign your campaign to reduce or split the load users create.
  • Don’t overestimate. There is no need to endlessly scale your system if you are realistic and can name the number of visitors you are expecting, not dreaming of.
  • Don’t get lost in an endless number of different testing tools. Our Top 10 performance and load testing tools list will save you time.
Why is performance testing before Black Friday a must

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Start performance testing now to avoid losing millions on Black Friday

The sad stories above are not to dance a jig on some of the major companies’ bones: afterall, they are still alive. We just want to make sure you get it: if you are in eCommerce, performance testing before peak loads, sales seasons or holidays is simply a must. This procedure is merely hygienic, and if you want to be ready, start getting ready before it’s too late.

At PFLB, we’re happy to help you test your way to Black Friday success. Don’t hesitate to contact us, if you need us. We’ll help you find an ideal solution for your company. Some of our solutions, such as, can be run in 30 minutes, so you still have time.

How many users do you expect on your Black Friday sales? Are you sure that your website will handle the load?

We highly recommend you test your website’s maximal load before starting a marketing campaign or placement on aggregators.