Why Scalability Matters in Today’s Ecommerce MarketplaceJuly 20, 2017 No Comments
Featured article by Andre Smith, Internet Marketing and E-Commerce specialist
Launching and operating a successful ecommerce store requires keeping an eye on many different metrics at once. You’ve got your ROIs, CTRs, AOVs and on and on and on, just to name a few of the acronyms your team deals with on a daily basis. However, within all of that, nothing will throw a monkey wrench into the works of your ecommerce operation faster than a platform that’s not scalable. After all, online stores aren’t static, predictable entities. This is why scalability matters more than ever in today’s competitive ecommerce marketplace.
Ecommerce Peaks and Valleys
There’s no magical crystal ball that can tell you exactly how many visitors you’ll have at a certain time. You can certainly comb through analytics and create a predictive roadmap for the future, but nothing is written in stone. Online retail ebbs and flows depending on the time of year, the day of week, the time of day and the trends of the moment.
For example, your store may seem like a different company altogether in the summer versus in the winter. Analysts at SumAll collected data from 3,000 retailers totaling $500 million in sales over four years and found July sales were 30 percent lower than December sales. Customers also ordered less per transaction in the summer ($81.87 in August compared to $86.07 year-round).
Traffic levels also change based on special promotions. The last thing you want is for your servers to crash two minutes after your highly anticipated flash sale goes live. So what do these ups and downs mean for modern web-based retailers?
One of the major goals of any enterprise ecommerce solutions comparison should be to find a platform capable of handling holiday rushes as well as off-season slumps; the mundane Mondays as well as the annual sales. If you don’t want to fiddle with technical issues and troubleshooting, it helps to host your store on a platform like Shopify Plus with 99.99 percent uptime and limitless bandwidth. That way, you can worry more about planning your sales events and less about whether your site is going to go down or slow down and bounce visitors.
Consequences of “Scale Fail”
What are the consequences of failure to scale? Besides your store literally losing out on lucrative conversions you could have had in the bag, it reflects poorly on your brand. While 22 percent of overall damage comes from lost revenue, there are other intangible costs of downtime, like the 37 percent that stems from reputational damage.
If a customer tries to enter your site only to find an error message because a traffic spike stalled your servers, they’ll likely click the “X” in the corner and take their business elsewhere. They won’t see all of the complicated back-end logistics. They’ll just see an error message on a site that can’t meet their needs. Because you don’t get a second chance at first impressions you have to make sure your site works every time.
While you might start out with just a handful of customers, to grow successfully you’ll have to figure out how to provide the same level of responsive service to a much larger audience. It’s both a blessing and a curse—on the one hand your hard work has paid off and your e-store is growing, but you also have to do everything you can to make sure it’s scalable every step of the way. Choose your platform wisely and you’ll alleviate growing pains, because scalability absolutely matters in today’s ecommerce marketplace.
Andre Smith is an Internet, Marketing and E-Commerce specialist with several years of experience in the industry. He has watched as the world of online business has grown and adapted to new technologies, and he has made it his mission to help keep businesses informed and up to date.