What is Singles’ Day?

Singles’ Day, or as it was originally called, Bachelors’ Day, is an unofficial Chinese shopping holiday that celebrates, as the name implies, being single. The name reportedly originated in the early 1990s by a group of male students attending Nanjing University. Looking for a clever way to celebrate being single, and break away from other holidays that focused on couples, they came up with the name Bachelor’s Day. The unofficial holiday stuck and quickly became popular within other universities, and with a little push from social media, it eventually spread its way into popular culture.

 

When is Singles’ Day?

Singles’ Day occurs each year on November 11th, or 11/11. The reason Singles’ Day falls on the 11th is because the numeral one resembles a single branch, or stick, or in the case of the group of gentlemen who created it, someone who is a bachelor. Furthermore, four 1’s (11/11) together symbolizes a group of single people. However, since its creation, it has taken on more meaning and has come to celebrate all single individuals, which is why it is now known as Singles’ Day rather than Bachelors’ Day. It is a day for single individuals to celebrate being solo by buying themselves something nice and throwing a party with other singles to celebrate.

 

Singles’ Day: From Humble Beginnings to Largest Ecommerce Event on the Planet

Since its genesis, Singles’ Day has taken on a life of its own. It is no longer just a day about celebrating one’s single status. It has quietly become the largest shopping day event, retail and online, on the planet. Yes, you read that right, the planet. For some context, in 2020, Singles’ Day brought in a staggering $115 billion in sales in just one day! In the United States, the most popular shopping period between of the year, Black Friday through Cyber Monday, brought in about $39 billion. The secret is out. Singles’ Day is here to stay.

As retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc., in the United States have done with similar online shopping events, for major Chinese ecommerce companies like Alibaba, JD.com, and others, Singles’ Day is no longer just limited to a single-day shopping event. In fact, Alibaba has gone as far to trademark the term 双十, which translates to “Double 11,” just for themselves. In 2009, they officially made it into a single day shopping event. Since then, it has morphed into a frenzied 11-day shopping holiday. Now all ecommerce and retail companies can run promotions for longer, cashing in big and gaining more customers along the way. It is a simple equation. The longer the promotion last, the more opportunities to make money. What company does not like that?

Additionally, countries and areas outside of China, like Indonesia and Southeast Asia, now celebrate Singles’ Day along with China. Furthermore, the United Kingdom has also begun observing their own version of Singles’ Day, which falls on March 11th. It is only a matter of time before more companies capitalize on the success of Singles’ Day.

 

Singles’ Day: Website Performance is Critical to Success

Organizations that participate in not only just Singles’ Day, but other online shopping holidays that occur throughout the year, need to ensure that when the time comes, visitors are not met with slow loading websites and applications. You have probably seen the statistics tying slow page load times to visitor abandonment. Now picture a potential customer, on the busiest shopping time of the year, scrambling to make a purchase, only to discover that your page is not loading. Odds are that if that happens, it is going to result in a lost customer. We would all like to think that this is a rare occurrence, but that situation still regularly happens during these busy ecommerce shopping holidays.

Furthermore, not only do organizations have to deal with the normal frustrations of general website issues like latency, downtime, network conditions, etc., but if your organization is involved in doing business in China, you must deal with the largest website performance obstacle of all, the Great Firewall of China.

 

The Great Firewall of China

The single largest factor in determining how your website and applications perform for visitors within and outside of China is the Great Firewall of China. The Great Firewall of China is a national censorship program that allows China to control what information their citizens see, and therefore, how the content on your website is displayed. Websites may appear as though they are experiencing technical issues, but that is likely not the case. The most likely cause is the that your site is being affected by the Great Firewall of China. The Great Firewall of China uses a variety of techniques, such as DNS (Domain Name System) poisoning, IP (Internet Protocol) blocking, URL filtering, and more, making it extremely difficult for website developers to completely understand where the exact issue is occurring. And even more, there is really nothing they can do about it.

If your organization does business in China, or you have users within China trying to access your website, not only do you have to worry about general website performance issues, but now you have the Great Firewall of China that is completely out of your control. In fact, there are companies that have chosen to reside their physical servers outside of mainland China so they do not have to deal with the Chinese government, but the Great Firewall of China still affects performance of their websites.

 

Take the Stress out of Singles’ Day with Performance Testing and Monitoring

When sites get overloaded with traffic, they do not respond quickly (or in some cases, crash), leaving visitors and potential customers annoyed. And annoyed to the point that they will vent their frustration to your customer support teams, and even worse, to social media for all to see and hear. So, what can an organization do to reduce the chance of their website and applications experience issues? One way is to carry out performance testing in advance of these big online shopping holidays, so that by the time they arrive, your sites and applications are prepared to handle the anticipated traffic.

Furthermore, by implementing continuous monitoring in production, you team can be alerted the second performance issues occur, so they can work on fixing the issue and reducing the impact to future visitors. Companies risk losing out on millions of dollars of revenue (and bad press) by simply not properly testing in advance and monitoring their infrastructure, sites, and applications. Let us talk more about the LoadView and Dotcom-Monitor solutions for load testing and performance monitoring.

 

LoadView: Cloud-based Load Testing in Real Browsers

A solution like LoadView can test the limits of your infrastructure, along with your websites, application, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and streaming media to uncover performance bottlenecks. When considering a performance testing solution, you will want to make sure that it includes the following features and benefits:

  • Real Browsers. Open-source load testing solutions like JMeter can only test at the protocol level, completely ignoring the user experience. Today’s sites and applications utilize dynamic elements, JavaScript, and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Your load tests should be able to as well.
  • Point and Click Scripting. The LoadView solution utilizes the EveryStep Web Recorder to create scripts for complex user paths and scenarios, such as shopping carts, form submissions, dynamic elements, and more. Simply navigate through your website or application and the recorder records each step automatically. This saves massive amounts of time so you can focus on testing, not manually writing scripts.
  • Geo-distributed Network. The ability for developers to test from specific locations allows you to set up tests that reflect the areas where your visitors are located.
  • Multiple Load Curves. LoadView provides the ability to set up different tests, depending on your specific testing requirements, giving you the ultimate flexibility over your tests.
  • Streaming Media. This last one may not seem like it is out of place here, but companies are looking for different ways to reach audiences and live streaming has become an increasingly used medium, especially for Singles’ Day. Celebrities, brand influencers, and experts have moved to this medium to promote products or give product demos over live streaming events, along with promoting deep product discounts, which all help to drive sales. Live streaming ecommerce is an effective method to get in front of potential customers.

The LoadView platform has a wide range of features and benefits, all of which can be found here. Additionally, LoadView also supports load testing Postman collections and JMeter scripts.

 

Dotcom-Monitor: Keeping an Eye on Availability, Uptime, and Performance

Like we mentioned previously, the Great Firewall of China can cause your site, or elements of your site, to become blocked or unusable to visitors without any notice. While load testing in advance of peak traffic periods or ecommerce shopping holidays like Singles’ Day, is critical for businesses, it does not end with performance testing. Once your websites, applications, or APIs go “live” and are put in front users, you need to have a way to know to ensure that they are performing smoothly in real-world conditions. This is where synthetic monitoring comes into the fold. Organizations are going to want to make sure that any critical pages, applications, or APIs that are directly tied to revenue are monitored to ensure they are continually performing as intended.

The monitoring solutions from Dotcom-Monitor provide you with the comprehensive features you need to keep your pages, web applications, and services up, running, and available. Furthermore, you can set up monitoring devices from locations within China (Chengdu, Guangzhou, Qingdao, and Shenzhen), so you know exactly how your sites and applications look to users from within China. See our global monitoring network.

 

Preparing for Singles’ Day: Final Considerations

Preparing for an ecommerce event like Singles’ Day can seem like an overwhelming task. And rightly so. There are aspects of the that are completely out of your control, especially when you consider the Great Firewall of China and how it can affect how your visitors see and interact with your web elements. However, what is in your control is being able to test your websites, applications, APIs, and web services against heavy traffic and ensuring your systems are up to the task.

A load testing solution like LoadView can help you carry out these tests more efficiently and effectively than other solutions in the market. The results of these load tests will help you to decide, among other performance factors, whether it is a matter of updating current infrastructure, optimizing applications and pages, or a combination of both.

Secondly, setting up monitoring for your most critical pages, applications, and APIs ensures that everything is running as expected the day of the big event. And should anything go wrong, you are immediately notified so you and your teams can take the appropriate action and minimize the number of visitors that would have been impacted.

Looking to get started? Dotcom-Monitor provides a variety of tools and solutions to get your site ready. From free network tools, like website speed test and a China Firewall Test, to professional performance testing and monitoring solutions, we have you covered. Additionally, for organizations that may not have the personnel or bandwidth to carry out performance testing, we offer professional services. Our engineers can guide you through the entire process or take on specific segments of the testing process for you.