Retailers Confirm: Website Performance Plan is Critical
March 12, 2015

Maneesh Joshi
AppDynamics

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You know you should eat your vegetables. You know you should exercise. And now, as shown in the "AppDynamics Holiday Web and Mobile Site Performance Review," you know you should have a site performance plan in place.

Seriously, you probably already knew that. But now here’s the evidence: Retail sites with a site performance troubleshooting process in place were 92 percent more likely to meet or exceed their revenue goals for Black Friday, according to the survey of retail executives.

This inaugural AppDynamics survey puts numbers to what should by now be an accepted belief: Performance Matters. Those who take it seriously have fewer and shorter outages, meet their revenue projections, and make more money.

How many of those sites actually did have performance troubleshooting in place? Just under half: 48 percent. But many retailers are taking steps to catch up. Prior to the holiday season, 57 percent added new performance and monitoring tools, a quarter added staff, and nearly a quarter added hardware. Well over half of those with troubleshooting in place implemented application performance monitoring tools and/or alerting/incident management.

Actual site performance during the Thanksgiving–Cyber Monday holiday had some rough spots. One in five sites experienced at least one outage. On the bright side, more than half diagnosed their outage issue in 10 minutes or less, and 69 percent resolved the outage in less than an hour. While an outage of this duration may not be catastrophic, it is perhaps more costly during this period than any other time of year. And the costs go beyond lost sales — any time a visitor encounters a site problem it damages the brand and potentially the loss of a customer for good.

The survey showed that mobile played a significant role in this holiday period, with more than half of surveyed retailers getting 20 percent or more of their online traffic from mobile devices. One in five retailers said that more than 40 percent of their online traffic came from mobile. This reflects growth in mobile traffic of more than 20 percent over the 2013 holiday season for nearly half of the surveyed retailers.

Sales on mobile devices were a mixed bag. Just over 35 percent report less than five percent of their total web sales were on mobile devices. Another 39 percent credit mobile for 15 percent or more of web sales. While this survey did not break out smartphone vs. tablet, others have (including IBM’s annual holiday survey), and find that tablets account for roughly twice the purchases of smartphones. But any way you slice it, it’s clear that mobile plays a central role in the holiday shopping process. And creating a successful mobile shopping experience should be at the top of every retailer’s list of priorities.

We’ve long known that performance matters to retail success — and every other kind of online success for that matter. This holiday survey shows the real impact of having a site performance plan and tools in place. And it points out the importance of creating an exceptional mobile experience to support the shopping process, and hopefully to start converting more of those shoppers into buyers.

Maneesh Joshi is Senior Director and Head of Product Marketing Strategy at AppDynamics.

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