1. Cyber Monday is Growing

Adobe reported that Cyber Monday e-commerce sales in 2013 reached $2.29 billion – a staggering 16% increase over 2012. comScore reported that desktop sales on Cyber Monday 2013 totaled over $1.73 billion, making it the heaviest US online spending day in history.

With these kinds of numbers, only time will tell how long Cyber Monday will continue to grow. But one thing is certain, Cyber Monday is the single most important day of the year for e-commerce businesses.

2. Mobile Shopping is Growing

Sites only designed for desktops are missing out on a huge chunk of the market. According to IBM’s Cyber Monday report, more than 18% of consumers used mobile devices to visit retailer sites. Even more impressive is the fact that mobile sales accounted for 13% of all online spending that day – an increase of 96% over 2012.

While making an e-commerce application mobile isn’t easy, its definitely not something you can skip anymore!

3. Internet Shoppers Are an Impatient Bunch

Even with the surge of traffic on Cyber Monday, web performance is absolutely critical to success. Did you know that studies have shown:

  • 74% of users will abandon a mobile site if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load
  • 46% of users will NOT return to a poorly performing website
  • You have 5 seconds to engage a customer before he or she leaves your site (How much of that are you wasting with load time?)

Customers don’t have any patience for slow sites and the fact is that if a site isn’t fast, they will spend their money elsewhere. The peak load time for conversions is 2 seconds and just a one second delay in load time causes:

  • A 7% decrease in conversions
  • 11% fewer page views
  • A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction

For sources and more statistics of the impact of web performance on conversions, check out our full infographic.

Fast and scalable wins the race!

4. Each Year Several Companies Have High Profile Website Crashes

imgresIn 2012, the standout crash was finishline.com, in 2013 it was Motorola. In both cases, the heavy load of traffic slowed the websites to a crawl, returned lots of errors, and inevitably crashed completely.

According to Finish Line CEO Glen S. Lyon, Finish Line’s new website launched “November 19th and cost us approximately $3 million in lost sales . . . Following the launch, it became apparent that the customer experience was negatively impacted.” To read more about Motorola’s debacle in 2013, check out our recent blog post: Cyber Monday and The Impact of Web Performance.

5. Cyber Monday Shopping Has Gone Social

For better or worse, many shoppers are sharing their experiences on social media. According to OfferPop, Cyber Monday accounted for 1.4% of all social media chatter that day last year. This could be excellent exposure of people sharing the great deal you are offering or a PR nightmare.

Unprepared businesses will not only lose out on business, but unhappy shoppers will also share their bad experience with friends. Since we are using Finish Line as our example of high profile website crashes, it seems fitting to illustrate how social media played into their painful weekend. Angry tweets and Facebook messages popped up throughout the weekend, here is a small list of some of the best courtesy of Retail Info Systems News:

“The site is slower than slow.”

“I have had the flashing Finish Line icon running on my page for over 30 minutes now trying to confirm my order. And I have tried to refresh and nothing.”

“I have been trying for 2 days to submit an order on your site – receive error message every time.”

“Y’all’s website is down. Are you maybe going to extend your sales because of it?”

“Wait, you schedule maintenance on Cyber Monday?”

“Extremely disappointed! Boo! You are my go to store, and the one day you have huge Internet sales your website doesn’t work.”

6. Preparing Early for the Surge of Traffic is Essential

Want to avoid being like Finishline and Motorola? There is only one way to ensure that your website will absolutely, positively, without a doubt be fast and error free under pressure on Cyber Monday: performance testing.

Performance testing is a critical part of development and leaving it to the last minute or testing as an afterthought is a recipe for disaster (see above examples). Performance testing is best used as a part of an iterative testing cycle: Run a test, tune the application, run a test, review changes in scalability, tune the application, run a test, etc. until the desired performance is reached at the necessary scale whether that is 300 concurrent users or 300,000. Without time to tune an application after testing, the application may very well be in hot water with no way to get out before the big day.

There are tons of performance testing tools to choose from (I personally recommend LoadStorm ; ) but whatever tool you use, the moral of this story is: Test early, test often.

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