With Christmas fast approaching, the next month will be critical for online retailers as they prepare for what they hope, will be a busy festive period. For many testing consultancies, this period is one of interest when we watch with to see how well retailers have prepared their websites for the Christmas rush.
I recently watched a webinar by Northway Solutions Group which focused on preparing applications for heavy load. The webinar was hosted by Northway Solutions CEO, Scott Moore and HP Performance Evangelist, Wilson Mar; the webinar reviewed the importance of performance test planning and strategies which can reduce risk to an application. I have previously found Moore’s articles and presentations insightful, whilst Richard Bishop advocates Wilson Mar as being one of the leading experts on HP LoadRunner.
The webinar touched upon several topics with ‘planning’ being a key theme that I picked up throughout. Moore’s discussion of peak/point load was point of particular interest. He describes how peak or point load can be expected or unexpected. In a retail scenario, expected load on an application could be a seasonal or marketing event with this years ‘Cyber Monday’ being used as an example. Unexpected load on the other hand could be caused by a celebrity endorsement on television or radio. Two instances of unexpected load that we have reported are Jonathan Agnew’s website launch and Chris Evan’s CarFest site. We have also chronicled examples of expected load crashing a site, with our One Direction article being a leading candidate.
As mentioned, the key theme was preparation and planning. Scott described how a great case of preparing was Netflix. After having cloud provider problems, Netflix used the Chaos Monkey and Simian Army to help them prepare, identify and solve potential failures that the company would likely face. Scott emphasised the importance of having a culture of performance and planning. With competition ever increasing in the retail world, the performance of your application has to be at its best. We have previously mentioned how eCommerce websites are getting slower and how this can put off potential customers from shopping on a particular site. With this in mind, retailers should be prepared for their websites to be busier and make sure performance remains high. It’s imperative for online retailers to keep the edge on their competition and make sure they their website is up to scratch over this Christmas period.
Performance is a key issue for customers and if your site doesn’t meet visitor’s expectations, they will leave and go elsewhere. You need to ensure that your website, mobile application or in-store application are prepared. I have only touched upon a fraction of the hour-long webinar. It is in depth and technical; but not so technical that a ‘non tech’ like me feels out of place.
Winter is coming – hopefully all retailers are prepared for it!