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Guest View: Website performance testing is crucial for marketers

Chris Livesey | Oct. 1, 2013
By implementing a performance testing solution via the cloud, the IT department can more effectively and affordably manage heavy loads on the company’s website

Marketing and sales professionals rely on business applications to execute critical transactions every day. For online marketers and retailers, unusually high demands such as those around promotions or shopping seasons make it crucial that these application environments are constantly prepared for extreme demands.

This is especially true as e-commerce continues to grow and builds in popularity, both globally and in Asia Pacific markets where access to online sales channels is increasing.

According to independent market research firm eMarketer, business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce will increase by 17 percent globally in 2013, with worldwide sales expected to reach $1.2 trillion.[1] The Asia-Pacific region is driving e-commerce growth more than any other, and is expected to outpace the rest of the world at 23 percent growth over last year. China and Indonesia are leading the region's growth.[2]

Marketers who are left unprepared are vulnerable to service outages, customer dissatisfaction and trading losses - and often when it hurts the most. The London 2012 Olympics ticketing was a high profile event which experienced a tremendous website failure. Excited fans rushed the site to find "Sorry, we cannot process your request at this time," messaging because the website could not handle the rush of visitors. Another example worth mentioning was when Apple launched its iPhone 4S. In early October, iPhone 4S became available for purchase at the Apple Store. Huge spikes in website traffic throughout the day either downed the site or slowed it considerably, effectively halting tens of thousands of new phone purchases.[3] 

According to independent global research study undertaken by Vanson Bourne, even minor delays to website response times can have a sizeable impact on customer satisfaction, page views, conversion rates and site abandonment. Despite this, an astonishing percentage of organisations (32 percent) do not know if their website is monitored on a 24x7 basis. Moreover, although 79 percent of CIOs knew of the usual instances that drive peak traffic volumes, 44 percent did not test their website performance to see if they could handle increased pressures on their websites.   

Businesses cannot afford to lose customers just when their users need them the most.  Not only can it lead to an astronomical loss of sales, it can lead to loss of reputation - something businesses may find very difficult to recover from.

Barriers to optimum website performance

The cost of buying performance test software tooling can be a huge barrier to businesses investing in tools that can ensure optimum web performance. In addition, the development of simulation scripts and user expertise and time spent can be viewed as costly.

Similarly, traditional business silos can add additional complexity. Traditionally, website performance has been considered an IT problem but a poor performing website becomes a liability for both IT and marketing departments.

 

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