The biggest problem retailers face during peak season is the risk that their site will not handle the increased number of users elegantly, leading to crashes, or their sites becoming increasingly slower.
We’ve all been added to a virtual queue before, which is an incredibly frustrating user experience, particularly at a time when retailers are competing for consumer expenditure.
The average consumer has an attention span of 8 seconds when shopping online - bear in mind, goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds! So this means shoppers need to see relevant results instantly, or we'll lose their attention.
To address this, retailers proactively ramp up their hardware and deploy more servers in order to deal with the influx of shoppers engaging with their websites. This costs them a lot of money and despite infrastructure planning, their sites are still often prone to page load delays and crashes. In fact, a survey found that 58% of customers experienced technical issues during the Black Friday period last year.
Historically, a lot of technology is architected in a way that means the more interactions it receives, the more server power is needed to support and keep it running. Of course, this approach isn’t scalable. During peak season, millions of shoppers head online to catch a good deal.
Last year, consumers in the UK alone spent a total of £9.42 billion over the course of the Black Friday weekend, of which online sales accounted for 61.49%. Imagine how many sales were lost due to site delays…
It doesn’t have to be like this! Here’s an analogy to help explain why.
In November 2022, The Crown season five was released on Netflix. On launch day, 1.1 million people logged onto Netflix to watch the first episode. If Netflix worked like these ecommerce platforms, you wouldn’t be able to watch the episode seamlessly, you would’ve been put into a virtual queue until others had finished watching.
Of course, Netflix doesn’t work like this - it uses Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to store ‘cached’ content ready for users, this means that 1.1 million people could login at exactly the same time, and watch the first episode without any disturbances.
Most retailers will be familiar with CDN’s already, because their product images are probably delivered this way - however their listings page and filters are not. This is because product images are static, i.e every user see’s the same image which makes it easy to deliver via a CDN. Product pages, on the other hand, need to be interactive. Every time a shopper uses a filter, the page needs to update with the relevant products - making it harder to use a CDN, but no less worthwhile.
Most retailers start by thinking that a CDN approach is too complicated to implement across their product pages. We’re here to prove that it’s not.
Hullabalook’s headless commerce platform works like Netflix. Our cloud-first architecture pre-computes all the parts of your site and pushes it to CDNs, when users interact with the site, we use the computing power of the users own device to update the page, which means we can scale to huge traffic volumes without any risk of outages.
Think of us as Netflix for ecommerce. Hundreds of thousands of shoppers can use a Hullabalook powered page at the same time and everything will still run smoothly.
To give you some context, during the Black Friday weekend of 2021, we reported 36m events on our platform. That’s about 75 per second. 0% of shoppers waited for a page to load, were added to a queue, saw broken product images, or experienced a site crash.
So, instead of losing (potentially) hundreds of thousands of pounds due to site crashes and bad user experiences during future peak seasons, retailers should invest in scalable technology - such as Hullabalook.
Want to implement Hullabalook on your site ready for peak season 2023? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.