On June 18, many Google Calendar users worldwide got an unexpected surprise when logging into the app—an error message. The issue was resolved approximately three hours later but, as anyone who lives and dies by their calendar knows, three hours is plenty of time to wreak scheduling havoc. The same day, restaurant chain Taco Bell also made headlines for tech issues, when heavy traffic in response to its free Taco giveaway caused the app to crash.
It’s safe to assume that neither brand suffered severe consequences as a result of these outages—Taco Bell extended its taco giveaway so affected customers could still get a free snack and Heavy.com captured some great Tweets of reactions to a meeting-free day (hint, people weren’t exactly depressed). But for retail brands who rely on their app as a key revenue driver, an outage is nothing to laugh at.
The good news is that apps often display some warning signs before suffering an outage. By recognizing, monitoring and immediately addressing these red flags, retailers can significantly lessen the likelihood of an outage and the unwanted media attention that accompanies it. I recently wrote about some of these signs for an article in Total Retail:
- Ratings Slip: If you detect a dip in your rankings and notice an increase in unfavorable reviews, don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s just a few vocal disgruntled customers. These are generally an indicator that something is amiss, and that something could quickly snowball into an outage unless you take swift action.
- Your App is Losing its Appeal as a Destination: You want people to explore your app and spend an ample amount of time on it—if customers do a brief fly-by or quickly leave after a very linear journey something is amiss. Another sign signaling a usability issue is back-and-forth user journeys, which suggest that customers don’t understand your app and will likely soon abandon it in their frustration. It’s also important that retailers closely track time between visits. If a frequent shopper has suddenly drastically reduced his app usage, this is also an indicator of a problem.
- Conversion/Revenue Start to Slide: If your conversion rates are experiencing a nosedive, that’s a strong sign that your app is not delivering. It’s important to investigate whether the number of abandoned baskets is increasing. If conversion is down but usage is growing, that’s another concern that warrants immediate investigation.
Being cognizant of the above warning signs can help retailers avoid potential app outages and the negative impact on customers and the brand that typically accompanies them.
Learn more about how Eggplant helps companies test for these and other areas of app performance here.