During Black Friday weekend 2019, fast-fashion retailer Forever 21’s website had an outage that left users seeing a generic error message when they tried to shop the company’s doorbuster deals. As the site recovered from the outage, its performance took a hit, requiring extra time to recover. By taking advantage of its Edge server and CDN to handle geo-redirection, the company was able to quickly offload some of the incoming traffic while it managed the situation.

In this holiday edition of the #WebPerf Spotlight Series, Rigor CTO Billy Hoffman uses data from the Rigor monitoring and optimization platform to review how Forever21 handled its outage and makes recommendations for future plans.



Retail Sites and the 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

Today’s modern holiday shopping season begins online with deals and doorbusters on Thanksgiving and continues through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Retail businesses that rely on their websites for some or all of their revenue during the December holidays need to be sure to keep performance top of mind at all times.

While most ecommerce companies have a multistep plan in place to avoid outages during a peak-load event like Black Friday, errors can still occur. Even a short outage can have significant repercussions – studies have shown that every minute a site or application is down can cost a company around $6,000 – and outages can also damage a company’s online reputation when angry customers take to social media to air their grievances.

While outages are a major concern, the performance of a site whether it has been up for hours or is recovering from a crash can impact the user experience and prevent shoppers from finalizing their purchases. In fact, according to a study from Akamai, bounce rates increase by 103% when there is a two-second delay in page load time.

More Customers Are Shopping On Mobile Devices Than Ever Before

Mobile shopping is trending upward with no sign of stopping – not just on Black Friday but overall. That said, more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to shop vs. going into a physical store.

In 2018, mobile devices increased their share of Black Friday online shopping traffic volume to almost 60%, and in 2019, mobile devices similarly accounted for 61% of Black Friday traffic.

Today, companies need to be concerned with their mobile performance and should be monitoring it accordingly – for peak event days and for standard shopping days as well.


A Deep Dive into Web Performance Issues Over Black Friday 2019

Using the Rigor platform, Rigor’s CTO Billy Hoffman took a deep dive into the successes and failures of hundreds of retail businesses between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday 2019.

In this series of #WebPerf Spotlight videos, we look not only at ecommerce website outages but also how those businesses handled performance issues, either proactively or reactively.

For example:

  • How did a US-based company restrict access to its website from international locations to improve user experience?
  • What did a retail website do when, after an outage, its performance slowed down significantly?
  • What were the benefits and what were the drawbacks of the maintenance page to which an ecommerce site directed shoppers during an outage?

About Rigor

Performance issues can continue while a site recovers from an outage, which can impact UX and cost a company thousands of dollars in revenue. The Rigor platform uses synthetic technology to collect some of most granular monitoring data in the industry.

Rigor then goes beyond the offerings of other monitoring platforms by providing a UX/web performance analysis of the monitoring data to deliver actionable intelligence and provide recommendations for how to fix the issues that it finds.

Learn more about how Rigor can help your business develop a holiday readiness plan. Reach out to speak to a product specialist and start your free trial today!