As we all recover from Black Friday weekend, whether it involved a national holiday for you or not, take a moment to reflect. Stuffed with turkey, or straining under the load of many a shopping bag, or, far more likely nowadays, contemplating all the boxes that are about to land at your door, take another moment to reflect. How was your shopping experience?
Cyber Monday has been something of a non-event, with many retailers announcing their online sales in tandem with their store sales on Black Friday itself (or earlier). Most of that traffic (up to 70% for some stores) came from mobile devices.
Online channels topped out this year approximately 21% higher than the same holiday weekend last year. In the US, this has flipped the balance, with more consumers committed to buying their goodies online than in-store (87% vs 84%). Most cite the crowds and queues are the biggest issue for them. No surprise there, then, and with Ecommerce platforms refining and redefining the online shopping experience, it’s also no surprise that more and more people are happy to head to their phones for their purchases.
The speed and ease of purchasing online has been a major driver in this shift away from real stores. Big name brands have slick online experiences, and unlike in the bad old days, they are able to cope with the huge peaks that such a focussed sale can bring to their web store. Consumers no longer find themselves at the mercy of long wait times, inaccurate stock representations or failed checkout experiences.
Brands making use of bundled Ecommerce solutions, such as those offered by Tacit Knowledge, are finding the competitive edge, and the peace of mind, that a highly supported and well tested deployment can provide.
Managed Commerce, by Tacit Knowledge, is a bundled offering of Business Operations, along with all the relevant infrastructure, services and support needed to ramp up an ecommerce platform at lightning speed. Its peak readiness testing ensures companies such as Mulberry, ghd and Beaverbrooks run without issue over the holiday period. Live monitoring helps ease clients through the busy period. Not that intervention is really necessary. The testing and ramp-up of resources done in advance of increased online footfall ensures that there is little noticeable difference to visiting the web storefront than on any other day of the year.
Measures such as Apdex, a widely recognised standard that measures visitor ‘satisfaction’ with the site (based largely on the success of the site in serving requests quickly), show that all Tacit Knowledge’s Managed Commerce clients are figuring high on this measure, regardless of holiday impact. All Managed Commerce clients maintained an Apdex score higher than 0.9 (Good) throughout, and indeed were often charting higher than 0.95 (Excellent).
This is impressive when you consider the increase in load these sites have to deal with. Some Tacit Knowledge clients saw requests that were double or triple that from the same time frame one week earlier. One client saw an increase of over 900%. Yes, 900%, with barely a blip in the success measures on the site.
It’s worth bearing in mind that these companies have invested their trust in Tacit Knowledge to monitor their operations. In what I’m calling ‘the Age of Impatience’, that is very much a worthwhile investment. Online consumers are quick to walk away. Countless articles and papers show us that faster and more responsive sites increase visitor engagement and consequently boost sales conversions. Recent research by Aberdeen Group shows that every second delay in a page load decreases sales conversions by 7%, a significant loss on one of the busiest trading days of the year.
The same research shows us a quarter of users abandon a site if it takes more than 4 seconds to load, and three quarters of mobile users abandoning a site after 5 seconds’ waiting time. Worryingly, two seconds is all the time nearly half of the Ecommerce customers out there will give an online store before they consider abandoning the visit. Coincidentally, it is also this same two seconds that reflects the maximum sales conversion rate.
Two seconds. It’s not long is it?
Tacit Knowledge Managed Commerce servers responded to every successful request over this Black Friday holiday well within a quarter of a second. That’s a good investment.