With Thanksgiving solidly in the rearview mirror, the holiday shopping season is officially in full swing. This is prime time for bargain hunters who are looking for deals on the hottest trends, which means that it is also an important time to ensure you are delivering good user experiences.
According to the National Retail Federation, between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online. TechCrunch reported that consumers spent $6.59 billion online during Cyber Monday.
For some companies, such as those who experienced outages on Black Friday, there are obvious improvements that need to be made. If you were fortunate enough to not be in that category, there are still steps that you can take to improve your performance.
How to Analyze Your Performance and Improve Going Forward
1. Make an honest assessment of how you performed.
Ahead of the cyber surge, you likely took steps to improve your site’s reliability and performance. What sort of results did those changes give you? Theoretically, if you improved your site’s load times, for instance, you should also have seen an increase in conversions and a decrease in bounce rate. Does that hypothesis hold true for your use case? You should also compare this years performance to last years to identify any potential trends. Don’t forget to also examine how your third party providers fared.
2. Identify gaps in your plan.
They say that hindsight is 20-20, so while your pre-holiday web perf plan might have seemed foolproof when you made it in October, you likely have identified some gaps in it by now.
What should you have anticipated that you didn’t? For instance, $2 billion was spent by shoppers on mobile devices on Cyber Monday alone. If you failed to deliver a good mobile experience, you might have lost out on significant sales.
3. How can you make a better plan next time?
After assessing your performance this year, you should be able to identify some areas that you can improve on in the future.
For instance, perhaps in undertaking this evaluation you identify that you have an issue with third parties impacting your performance. You may need to better manage third party services on a regular basis or start monitoring APIs to ensure they are in compliance with service license agreements.
Another aspect of your planning to consider is the data you collected. You probably are tracking and trending performance KPIs, but are there key data points you wish that you had tracked? Perhaps you’ve taken steps to improve your performance, but don’t know how your site stacks up against your competitors. Instituting a benchmark check can help shine light on this going forward.
You should also consider how your team fared during Cyber Week. Were the right people notified and any issues triaged correctly or are there ways to improve that process, too?
4. Tackle low-hanging fruit now.
You may be tempted to return to business as usual and put off improvements until next year. But, the holiday shopping season isn’t over yet. If there is low-hanging fruit–either in your process or your performance–that can help deliver a better user experience, implement it now. For instance, given that anything can happen over the next few weeks, you may consider adopting high frequency monitoring until after the new year.
Once you get a sense of these items, you should have a better idea of what improvements you need to tackle. If making your website performance is a priority for your business, reach out to us here at Rigor. We’d love to show you how we can help.
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