Black Friday is rapidly approaching – but is your website ready?
Don’t fall victim to hidden bugs or issues you don’t know about during the sale, by reading our latest guide.
- Why stress testing is critical to Black Friday success
- Top tips for a fully functional website during the busiest sale of the year
- How usability testing could be your secret weapon this Black Friday
Scroll down to get the full ebook – or click here to download the pdf.
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How to nail Black Friday (with these web testing best practices)
Black Friday marks the start of the festive period and, for most retail outlets, the opportunity to pull in sales-hungry consumers with a stream of tempting promotions.
It’s big business. UK shoppers spent roughly £1.96 billion on Black Friday. That’s a 12% rise in online spending compared to the previous year, according to retail analysts IMRG. And, over the entire week, an estimated £6.5bn in online sales were taken.
Such high revenues also come with a surge in online traffic. Argos’ new CEO told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that in the first hour of online trading its site had 500,000 visits – up 50% on last year. Across the board, Black Friday 2016 brought an 84% increase in traffic to checkout pages compared to a ‘normal Friday’.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Research reveals bounce rates of 24% for last year’s Black Friday, which is a 5% year-on-year increase. A website or app riddled with bugs also means you may miss out on vital sales. Your brand could be damaged and shoppers may strike you off their Christmas lists now and for future festive periods.
Argos experienced issues the first day of its Black Friday sales promotion. The entire site went down before the sales had even officially begun. Users reported slow running speeds (roughly a four second increase in load time during prime shopping times) and the site was unavailable for at least 20% of the time.
In 2016, Dell’s networks could not cope with the level of demand created by Black Friday and customers reported 404 errors and failed checkout processes. Gaming store GAME made its Black Friday deals live a few hours early, but shoppers reported problems using the site, including complaints that the basket and checkout pages could not cope. Currys PC World, New Look, River Island, Missguided, British Airways and Tesco have all seen disruptions over the Black Friday rush.
The list goes on.
- Failure to examine your site could result in hefty financial losses and reputational damage.
- So, how should you examine your website or app for such a unique selling window?
- You’ll need to incorporate three basic types of web testing: stress, functional and 24/7 monitoring.
How many users do you think will come to your site on Black Friday? It won’t surprise you to know but your website traffic could double or even triple during this online shopping fiesta. With peak times between 6am-10am. John Lewis UK reported that its Black Friday sales were the highest weekly sales in the company’s 150-year history with a record £200m sales in that week.
Stress testing refers to the capacity and limit that your website can handle. Its purpose is to assess whether your website can handle the expected number of visitors without slowing down or crashing unexpectedly. This may seem like an aggressive approach, but it’s vital to assess what level of traffic your site can handle and still function correctly.
47% OF CONSUMERS expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load
Stress testing can help you to avoid such pitfalls by pushing your site to its limits. It’ll find out what effect large loads have, and identify any weak points on your site.
After you have stress tested your website, it’s also vital to ensure that you monitor your website infrastructure to ensure that it truly is equipped to handle a traffic spike.
Functional testing will check your website or app across a broad range of devices and browsers (and there’s over 24,000 combinations of them out there!) to ensure that it provides the user with the best possible experience on Black Friday. Making this even more critical is the fact that more than half of ecommerce browsing and 28% of purchases come from mobile devices.
As there is an overwhelming combination of screen sizes, devices and operating systems to consider with limited time and resources, it is recommended that you test on as many device variations as possible to cover the largest proportion of users.
And you’ll also need to include a range of functionality in your testing across all of these devices and browsers. For example, links, product descriptions, payment gateways and product offers will all need to be checked. It’s an extensive series of tests, but a vital component of any web testing strategy to enhance the user experience.
If a mobile site or app is slow, buggy or liable to crash, of all shoppers and a staggering 81%of millennials would abandon it and shop elsewhere.
New devices and operating systems can stop your website or app in its tracks, and that’s the last thing you want this Black Friday.
Most commerce companies implement a code freeze in the run-up to the big day. This will ensure new bugs are not introduced into your code at this crucial time. However, you must still implement a proactive bug monitoring capability during a code freeze to identify the most critical revenue impacting issues that could appear.
These issues can be caused by the release of a major new device or operating system, but the plethora of pricing, content and network changes that occur hourly throughout such peak periods will also have an impact. Our Always On live site test monitoring service is your way to protect yourself against the unwanted results of such changes. It means human eyeballs on your site 24/7. You can identify revenue impacting bugs in real-time well before your visitors find them, and shop elsewhere.
So how can you bring these three together? First let’s work out 5 key goals.
- Define your load goals
- Define your device goals
- Define your usability goals
- Plan your tests
- Choose your tools
It’s a complex process however defining your goals and evaluating what can be improved will save your internal team time and increase your revenue. But, as always get the specialists in.
The right specialist
Finding a testing company with the scope and ability to take on all of the different issues is a bit of a minefield. Some will be too expensive, while others will reduce the amount of testing on one area to compensate for a lack of resources. So what options do you have left?
At Digivante, we have developed a digital performance platform to help you optimise your customer experience proactively and build resilience. In partnership with our community of professional testers, security experts and real users, we will give you the actionable insight you need to compete.
Our three solutions are designed to cover all of your bases and, if needed, we can always adjust each to fit your needs and goals.
Launch – Professional testing at speed, at scale and on budget for all major digital projects. Our fully managed testing solution provides 90 work days of testing in 72 hours.
Release – Quality regression testing to support your release schedule, so your digital and development team can spend less time testing and more time implementing winning features.
Convert – Digital performance analytics that beats Google Analytics on in-depth conversion rate analysis. With comprehensive coverage across all major browsers and devices, our technology quickly identifies under performers.