This year’s Black Friday shopping period was already predicted to be the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S. for traditional brick and mortar stores, but even on that day, more shoppers ditched the long lines and were busy filling up their online shopping carts.  According to Adobe Analytics, online spending hit a record of $5.4 billion, up 22.3 percent from a year ago.  And according to ShopperTrak data released last weekend, Black Friday sales for physical stores dropped 6.2 percent, but shopping on Thanksgiving Day rose 2.3 percent.

The trend towards online shopping, and specifically using mobile devices, continues to grow. Promotions are beginning earlier in the season and online deals are becoming more enticing to customers. Online spending on Thanksgiving Day surpassed $4 billion for the first time ever. Additionally, Adobe Analytics reported $2.9 billion in sales from smartphones alone, which accounted for almost 40 percent of all e-commerce sales, a 21 percent increase from last year.  And that’s a trend that’s going to continue.

Black Friday 2019:  Notable Website Outages

It seems to happen every year.  A well-known retailer’s website crashes due to high traffic. Well, we wish we could tell you that this year was different, but unfortunately, it was not. Last year, Walmart’s website issues affected an estimated 3.6 million shoppers over 150 minutes, costing them $9 million in lost sales.  The unfortunate recipient of this year’s award goes to Costco. Their website went down for more than 16 hours on Thanksgiving Day and impacted almost 2.7 million customers.  Reports from LovetheSales estimate lost sales at $11 million. To help make up for any inconveniences to their customers, Costco extended their Thanksgiving Day-only promotions into Black Friday.

Unfortunately for Costco, extending the promotion probably didn’t bring all the customers back and the damage had already been done. Online shoppers tend to abandon their cart if they run into issues or errors while checking out. And furthermore, according to Retail TouchPoints, nearly 1 in 5 customers will immediately go to a competitor’s site to find the same, or similar product. And for large retailers like Costco, that can add up to a very big miss.

Other high-profile retailers that experienced issues this year were Nordstrom Rack and H&M. H&M’s issues were minor. Their site was down for a few minutes on Thanksgiving Day, with intermittent issues the following day.  Nordstrom Rack’s website crashed for brief amount of time on Thanksgiving Day, but shoppers reported items missing from their shopping carts, issues with the login process, and inability to complete their transactions.

Black Friday 2019:  Start Preparing for Black Friday 2020

If there’s anything we can glean from this year’s data, it’s that customers are trending towards more online shopping versus traditional brick and mortar, and specifically using mobile devices for their online shopping.  It’s a trend that has slowly, but steadily, been taking hold. For retailers, this means a whole new set of issues.  Depending on where the user is located, what device they’re using, their connection speed, etc., it can dramatically affect their performance, and ultimately, the user experience.

For online retailers, the push is on to ensure their websites and applications can handle increased online customer volume during busy shopping periods, and secondly, ensure the customer purchasing process is seamless. The costs of failing during a critical shopping period, as we’ve seen time and time again, can be immense. We offer a couple of different solutions that can help you prepare for Black Friday 2020 – or any major shopping holiday for that matter.

LoadView:  Cloud-based Load Testing

LoadView is our on-demand, cloud-based load and stress testing platform. The platform helps assess how a website, web application, or API will respond to various traffic levels, using real browsers, without you having to add any additional hardware or maintain infrastructure.  LoadView can simulate thousands of concurrent users during a test, allowing you to create scenarios and distribute load based between multiple geographic locations.  The results from LoadView tests assist in these critical areas:

  • Establishing response time baselines under specific user load numbers
  • Identifying performance bottlenecks
  • Finding upper limits of your current systems for capacity planning
  • Analyzing server performance (CPU, memory, bandwidth, disk I/O) and database response times

Try LoadView today! Sign up and receive up to 5 load tests for free!


Dotcom-Monitor:  Monitoring for Websites, Web Applications, Web Services, and APIs

Once you know how your websites perform with thousands of simultaneous users, you can use the Dotcom-Monitor platform to continuously monitor the critical paths that matter to your business, from basic actions like button clicks or menu selections, to more complex user interactions, such as form submissions and online path to purchase actions. You can also use our web-based scripting tool, the EveryStep Web Recorder, to enable network throttling, which can emulate the end user’s network conditions, such as 2G, 3G, or 4G. In fact, the same scripts you create with the LoadView platform can be used for monitoring your production environments

Dotcom-Monitor offers all these advanced features, and more, in a single interface:

  • Web performance reports
  • Custom alerts
  • Global monitoring locations
  • Monitoring behind a firewall
  • Real-time dashboards
  • EveryStep Web Recorder

Whether it’s monitoring page speed, or monitoring multi-step web application performance, Dotcom-Monitor has a solution to help meet the specific monitoring needs of your business.

Start your free Dotcom-Monitor trial today!