Top 5 Causes of Performance Issues During Online Holiday Shopping Season
October 22, 2018

Mehdi Daoudi
Catchpoint

Share this

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just weeks away, Catchpoint has identified the top five technical items most likely to cause web or mobile shopping sites to perform poorly.

When an online retail site is unavailable on a big shopping day, it is essentially the same as shutting the doors of a physical store

Every Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend in the last decade has seen at least one major online retailer with web or mobile site outages or slowdowns. Memories of last year’s Black Friday problems, and Amazon’s Prime Day missteps this summer, should remind retailers that no company, big or small, is immune to interruptions or slowdowns in its sites’ digital experience.

Online retailers can learn from the mistakes of the past to optimally prepare and best position themselves for a smooth kick-off to the holidays.

The following elements are the most likely to cause slow load times or outages in the upcoming season:

1. Third Parties

These are site elements hosted by outside companies and beyond the direct control of the main site. One sluggish third-party component can slow down an entire web page. Example: in 2016 a high-end home goods retailer experienced very slow page load times intermittently on Black Friday due to problems with a third-party photo display service.

2. Regional View

If an online retailer monitors page load times only using national averages, it could be missing local or statewide performance problems. Example: in 2016 a major retailer experienced problems on its desktop site due to an ad tech provider, ultimately leading to ongoing site blackouts in Phoenix, starting early in the long holiday weekend.

3. Critical APIs

APIs are fundamental components of e-commerce sites, often supporting customer-facing, revenue-generating applications. Like third party services, popular APIs can come under major strain during peak traffic periods. If an API supporting payment options on a site breaks, an abandoned shopping cart will be the likely result.

4. Page Weight

One of the easiest ways to ensure faster load times is to make certain a site’s page weight (amount of data loaded into a shopper’s browser) isn’t too large. This is a technique large and small retailers often employ during peak traffic days, usually by eliminating excess images or graphics.

5. Server Scalability

The Amazon Prime Day outage was reported to be the simple result of overloaded servers. Load testing internal servers is one of the most straightforward, simple things one can do, as well as having additional servers on standby.

When an online retail site is unavailable on a big shopping day, it is essentially the same as shutting the doors of a physical store. And when your page load time slows, that’s the same as forcing a customer to stand in a long checkout line.

It’s important to remember that comprehensive monitoring from the end-user perspective is the definitive way to gain visibility into all the performance-impacting elements in the delivery chain, including those beyond one’s own firewall.

Mehdi Daoudi is CEO and Co-Founder of Catchpoint
Share this

The Latest

May 23, 2019

The first word in APM technology is "Application" ... yet for mobile, apps are entirely different. As the mobile app ecosystem is evolving and expanding from pure entertainment to more utilitarian uses, there's a rising need for the next generation of APM technology to stay ahead of the issues that can cause apps to fail ...

May 22, 2019

For application performance monitoring (APM), many in IT tend to focus a significant amount of their time on the tool that performs the analysis. Unfortunately for them, the battle is won or lost at the data access level. If you don’t have the right data, you can’t fix the problem correctly ...

May 21, 2019

Findings of the Digital Employee Experience survey from VMware show correlation between enabling employees with a positive digital experience (i.e., device choice/flexibility, seamless access to apps, remote work capabilities) and an organization's competitive position, revenue growth and employee sentiment ...

May 20, 2019

In today's competitive landscape, businesses must have the ability and process in place to face new challenges and find ways to successfully tackle them in a proactive manner. For years, this has been placed on the shoulders of DevOps teams within IT departments. But, as automation takes over manual intervention to increase speed and efficiency, these teams are facing what we know as IT digitization. How has this changed the way companies function over the years, and what do we have to look forward to in the coming years? ...

May 16, 2019

Although the vast majority of IT organizations have implemented a broad variety of systems and tools to modernize, simplify and streamline data center operations, many are still burdened by inefficiencies, security risks and performance gaps in their IT infrastructure as well as the excessive time it takes to manage legacy infrastructure, according to the State of IT Transformation, a report from Datrium ...

May 15, 2019

When it comes to network visibility, there are a lot of discussions about packet broker technology and the various features these solutions provide to network architects and IT managers. Packet brokers allow organizations to aggregate the data required for a variety of monitoring solutions including network performance monitoring and diagnostic (NPMD) platforms and unified threat management (UTM) appliances. But, when it comes to ensuring these solutions provide the insights required by NetOps and security teams, IT can spend an exorbitant amount of time dealing with issues around adds, moves and changes. This can have a dramatic impact on budgets and tool availability. Why does this happen? ...

May 14, 2019

Data may be pouring into enterprises but IT professionals still find most of it stuck in siloed departments and weeks away from being able to drive any valued action. Coupled with the ongoing concerns over security responsiveness, IT teams have to push aside other important performance-oriented data in order to ensure security data, at least, gets prominent attention. A new survey by Ivanti shows the disconnect between enterprise departments struggling to improve operations like automation while being challenged with a siloed structure and a data onslaught ...

May 13, 2019

A subtle, deliberate shift has occurred within the software industry which, at present, only the most innovative organizations have seized upon for competitive advantage. Although primarily driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), this transformation strikes at the core of the most pervasive IT resources including cloud computing and predictive analytics ...

May 09, 2019

When asked who is mandated with developing and delivering their organization's digital competencies, 51% of respondents say their IT departments have a leadership role. The critical question is whether IT departments are prepared to take on a leadership role in which collaborating with other functions and disseminating knowledge and digital performance data are requirements ...

May 08, 2019

The Economist Intelligence Unit just released a new study commissioned by Riverbed that explores nine digital competencies that help organizations improve their digital performance and, ultimately, achieve their objectives. Here's a brief summary of 7 key research findings you'll find covered in detail in the report ...