In the light of the current events, the e-commerce industry is seeing a great increase in demand. As people are encouraged to minimize social interaction and stay at home, online orders are exponentially going up. Online grocery stores were the first to report the rapid growth of traffic, and some of them even ceased services for short periods of time due to unexpected overloads. With continuing social isolation and closed physical stores, online shops from other sectors are also expected to observe spikes in traffic and usage.
Is your online store ready to meet the expected demand? Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare your e-commerce business for eventual peaks in usage:
Test, test & test
Testing is an essential step to ensure your site won’t crash when a spike in traffic occurs. Some of the most important tests you should regularly perform include:
- Load test – during this type of testing an actual user load is simulated. It assesses how the website or web application behaves under normal and extreme load conditions and how many simultaneous users it can manage.
- Stress test – this test is performed to check the robustness of a website and how it would behave when it’s pushed beyond normal conditions.
- Endurance test – a test that determines the performance and stability of a website against the peak traffic for a longer period of time.
- Speed test & overall UI – these types of tests analyze how fast a website is loading and how it renders in the browser. They are important, because website visitors expect an interactive and seamless experience and if they don’t get it, they will probably leave the website without a purchase.
A website’s or app’s performance could also be affected by faulty extensions, modules or any other third-party entities. They can seriously hurt the user experience or even cause the site or mobile app to crash. Minimizing their usage where possible, and constantly monitoring, optimizing and fixing the faults is crucial for preparing an online store for upcoming peaks in the traffic.
Another important matter to pay attention to is the content. Make sure product names and details are easy to read and understand, use proper meta titles and descriptions and also optimize the images by reducing size, allowing compression, using the right file formats etc. If there are videos on the website or mobile app also make sure to be well optimized and in the right format. The MP4 files are a safe choice for avoiding compatibility issues.
Paying attention to all of the above will not only improve a website’s speed and user experience, but will also support its SEO leading to better page ranking and visibility.
Prepare to Scale
Ensuring a flexible hosting infrastructure is crucial when preparing your online store for frequent traffic increases. Make sure to use a scalable solution that would provide an extra capacity to cope with the peaks in the demand and be able to scale back down when the traffic decreases. That will allow you to adapt to the dynamics in the usage volume and save some valuable resources at the same time.
Moreover, if your e-commerce business is global or serves markets in a different location, you may consider using CDNs (Content Delivery Network) to further boost the speed of content delivery and transactions and offload your server. CDNs can drastically improve the performance of a website or mobile app during spikes in traffic.
Do you need more development resources to cope with the high demand and increased traffic on your online store? Have you considered expanding in another location?
Companies such as Javelin Group, now part of Accenture, have built distributed development teams with the support of Questers to help various e-commerce businesses in improving competitiveness and ensuring efficiency and seamless user experience.
Should you be looking for a smart way to grow capacity and optimize the performance of your e-commerce business, do not hesitate to contact us.