Now only a month away, retailers should be seriously thinking about and planning for the holiday shopping season. While we can' t be sure yet how the recession and strained consumer confidence will affect sales this year, one thing we can be sure about is that the best weapon online retailers have to capture sales and convert customers into loyal shoppers is their Web site.
If you're a retailer expecting or even just hoping a lot of shoppers will hit your Web store this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and what we call Cyber Turkey Night--Thanksgiving night--you better start thinking now about how well your site is prepared to withstand the strain. If you wait until the last minute to start testing the limits and performance of your site and its functions (shopping cart, login, checkout, etc.), it's going to be too late.
To help retailers gear up for what will hopefully be a profitable holiday season, we have three key suggestions to help ensure all shoppers will receive a high quality Web shopping experience.
- Load testing to ensure your Web store can scale to meet expected user traffic.
- Ongoing Web store monitoring to benchmark the performance profile of your current systems and resources.
- Having a Plan B, so that when things go wrong--and they will--you can react gracefully and with minimal impact to the business.
Over the next few weeks, I'll delve into each of these suggestions a little further in a series of blog posts and podcasts. Let me know if you have any specific questions or concerns you'd like addressed.