Start performance testing now to avoid losing millions on Black Friday
by Mike Wager, on 5/18/21
When Black Friday comes around, how confident are you that your website can withstand a huge online traffic surge of shoppers looking for the best deals on the internet?
There are no excuses for being caught off guard by technical glitches and attributing it to bad luck. Failure to provide a quick and faultless online shopping experience and the financial repercussions, not to mention brand damage, can be significant.
If you remember, J.Crew's website crashed during 2018's Black Friday, and they lost $700,000. The same year, Amazon lost a whopping $100 million in sales during one hour of downtime during its Prime Day.
So to prevent your customers from encountering error messages, slow web pages, or ones that don't load at all, you must conduct robust performance testing of your websites and mobile applications.
Performance Testing for Black Friday success
With plenty at stake, you can never start too early to prepare for Black Friday. And whether Benjamin Franklin said it or not, retailers need to heed this warning: fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
So, to give yourself the best chance of Black Friday success, consider these four areas before you begin performance testing your online presence:
Website and mobile performance testing
As mentioned, this is an obvious one, but testing your website and mobile app’s performance is critical. Load testing, in particular, must happen as online traffic surges are the main culprit when websites or mobile apps crash. This is down to a disparity between traffic levels and the capacity of your IT infrastructure.
System requests your customers make can be complex and demanding on an average day. But when online traffic peaks on Black Friday, demand can overshadow your processing capacity resources in minutes, if not seconds.
Think of it like any regular store. If you have ten times the amount of shoppers than usual, your checkouts and cashiers would be totally overwhelmed.
Load testing allows you to verify your website and mobile app's performance by identifying any bottlenecks that occur along the customer journey that may cause a crash or downtime under peak load.
Continuous performance testing and monitoring
Ensuring your website and mobile applications perform isn't a one-time job. Monitoring must happen before, during, and after a surge in traffic so you can be notified instantly when something goes wrong.
Continuously monitoring performance reduces the overall impact on the user experience and ultimately on your bottom line if something goes wrong. It also allows you to view and analyze data to understand how performance is affected in various scenarios, such as how user numbers affect load times and conversions.
End-to-end digital experience testing
Your website and mobile app are central to many other business-critical services and functions, so don't neglect end-to-end testing. Links from social media. Integrations with inventory systems. Connections to banking APIs and other payment services, like Klarna. Scheduling for curbside pick-up. Email services to confirm orders.
Retailers depend on interconnected systems to deliver a flawless user experience, so these services, functions, and much more must be thoroughly tested.
Performance testing before Black Friday should be considered a no-brainer. But if you aren’t testing performance at the UI level, you might be in for a shock on the actual day.
To ensure both are covered, adopt user-centric testing to understand how your software impacts your customer experience. To do this effectively, use a test automation solution that visually validates the user experience. This helps you get a true understanding of how your site looks and performs under Black Friday conditions.
It also helps if your testing model can be used to test the user experience on any device, browser, or operating system. Customers expect a consistent experience regardless of using an Android phone, an iPad, or a chrome browser on a Windows machine.
And if you combine model-based visual testing with artificial intelligence, that’s when the fun begins. Using AI, test cases can be auto-generated using real user data, helping to increase test coverage. Instead of only “happy paths,” all possible user journeys are tested across your website, mobile app, and any other third-party API or back-end system.
Be a Black Friday winner and boost revenue with Eggplant Performance
All signs point towards another online shopping spectacular for Black Friday (and Cyber Monday). So it makes sense to start performance testing your website and mobile application’s performance now to avoid losing millions and keep your customers happy.
Using Eggplant Performance to make it happen makes even better sense, and here’s why:
- It is simple to use and scalable, which is vital when network traffic and stress on your server increases.
- System behavior at the UI level can be verified and visually validated, so you truly understand the impact on UX and server performance under peak load.
- The number of virtual users can be modified to ensure performance testing is adequate and realistic.
- A technology-agnostic approach maintains peak performance across any device, browser, or operating system.
- AI-powered testing increases test coverage to explore all user journeys and identify any bottlenecks that may affect performance.