For an e-commerce retailer, website downtime is analogous to a brick-and-mortar retailer being forced to shut down its store unexpectedly, sometimes during peak business hours, a new product launch, or a major holiday event. In the case of both downtime and store closings, customers are unable to make purchases, and business owners mourn the resulting loss in revenue.
1. Competitor Infiltration
72% of web users report abandoning a company website for a competitor’s due to frustrations with the site. When a website goes down, online shoppers are not willing to wait for the unknown time at which the site will be back online to make their purchase. Instead, frustrated visitors simply spend their coveted dollars on a competitor’s functioning site. Downtime is frustrating for online shoppers, but the ability to instantly navigate to a competitor’s site certainly provides some consolation–for them at least.
2. Loss of Repeat Purchasing & Customer Loyalty
Users who experience downtime on your site are less likely to return to your site in the future. A study conducted by 1&1 Internet, Inc. recently revealed that 58% of consumers have chosen not to use a company again due to website errors. Regarding this study, 1&1 Internet, Inc. CEO Oliver Mauss comments, “It is clear that when faced with a faulty or offline website, consumers will turn elsewhere. Perhaps more surprising is the proportion that will be unwilling to return.” This permanent loss of customers means that retailers must consider the loss of potential revenue incurred due to downtime in addition to the revenues lost while the site is offline.
3. Negative Brand Equity
Downtime is often highly publicized via word-of-mouth and social networking sites. According to data released by KISSmetrics, 44% of online shoppers report that they are likely to tell others about a bad online experience. The negative publicity that downtime can catalyze damages your brand’s reputation and significantly decreases the likelihood that customers will recommend your site to others. Businesses spend large sums of time and money building their brands, and the potential for one instance of downtime to counteract these efforts is an imminent threat that many companies fail to plan for.