Well, it means there’ll be more pressure on your servers and your eCommerce administration, leading to overloaded websites and apps, resulting in slow performance, and ultimately, crashing your overwhelmed system completely.
If we’re continually looking into ways to drive more and more traffic into our online stores, to boost sales and profits without considering the pitfalls, are we just setting ourselves up for a fall? Well, without the right solutions in place, that’s precisely what’s going to happen.
If you sold 20,000 tickets for an event in a venue that only held 200 people, you know exactly how unhappy your customers would be and what their resulting behaviour might look like. The same goes for flooding a website with visitors it can’t cope with or isn’t built to handle.
The costs of crashing an eCommerce website
There’s far more to consider than the repair bill. The cost of getting your website or app back up and running is probably the least costly of all the related losses resulting from such an issue.
- Loss of revenue
- Loss of associated revenue
- Serious damage to customer confidence and brand reputation
- Damage to SEO strategy
- IT costs in repairing the crashed system
Ask yourself this. You want to buy a new computer, but you have problems at the checkout and get kicked right back to the beginning of the customer journey. You’d jump ship, right? Go to a competitor whose site works seamlessly.
It doesn’t stop there, though, does it? Chances are, you won’t go back to the original vendor because you’ve already decided they’re not worth the hassle. Think of the lost revenue from years of subsequent orders? What about the spontaneous sales from email campaigns you won’t receive? Or how about the missed orders that may have come from word of mouth or social media referrals?
The revenue loss from missed sales during the downtime of an eCommerce site crash estimates at around 25% of the total loss of all associated costs.
When you think eCommerce sites can lose hundreds of thousands of pounds or dollars in any given crash, just think of the total loss that downtime will cost the organisation over the long-term.
The problem with peak time traffic
There shouldn’t be a problem with peak traffic. We should aim to make the most of those periods to drive more potential customers to our sites and eCommerce stores. Sadly, as discussed, too much of a good thing can cause serious problems.
There is only so much traffic any one system can comfortably contend with. Overloading to the point of a system fail, crashing out pages, and the ensuing downtime is something to avoid at all costs.
So, how do we do that?
Solution 1 – Server scaling
The first thing most of us would think about is increasing the capacity of our website.
That’s great, but if your peak traffic times happen once a month, during seasonal times, for a product launch or special event booking, then all of that extra capacity is sat doing nothing for the majority of the time.
Yet, throughout the additional time that you continue to pay for those upgrades—it isn’t particularly cheap. Sadly, it’s still not a complete solution. Even with the best intentions and calculations, you could still suffer a surge so large it sinks your new system.
Do you want to overpay for something that you use so infrequently? We didn’t think so—that’s why we built a better and far more financially viable option.
Solution 2 – Implementing a virtual waiting room
We spent a lot of time learning about how customers react to waiting, to queuing online and in real life, and the psychology for both turns out to be very similar.
We’ll all wait in line, almost happily, as long as we feel the end justifies the means. For those products that are worth waiting for—then, we’ll wait.
The system fails when we’re left feeling forgotten or that somehow we’ve been lost in the system; that we're going to be hanging on forever, without the results we expect.
Here’s what our online queuing and virtual waiting rooms offer your customers to keep them feeling important and cared for throughout the process.
Communication is key
Keeping your customers informed with constant updates provides the security they need. They’ll see their exact position in the queue, how the line is progressing, and when they’ll reach the top and get to the good stuff.
By configuring every step in advance, you know how your system will deal with surges and sudden peaks in traffic. You can be confident that you are taking the best care of your customers in ways to build brand confidence, not destroy it.
Load tested for optimum operation
Testing your site and its systems will help you determine the limits of your operation. It will also show the points in the sales journey where your virtual queues need integrating. Managing this during a simulation is far better than waiting for the worst-case scenario to kill your servers in real-life. Understanding your site or app’s capacity will determine the optimum configurations for your queues—well within the limits of your system.
Giving your customers more of what they need
So, your customers are happily waiting in line because they can see their progress, and they know their turn is approaching at an appropriate rate. What can you do to improve their experience and feel further invested in your brand?
Your virtual waiting room gives you an opportunity to cross-sell, up-sell, reward them for their patience, and introduce them to products they might have missed or not considered. You can entice them to join mailing lists, sign up for discounts, or become VIP customers.
Now you’re equipped to deal with all the traffic surges the web can throw at you, nothing is stopping you from driving as much new custom your way as you can. And while your web and app guests are pre-occupied with all the added benefits of choosing your business, they’re not thinking about being stuck in a queue.
The benefits of implementing a virtual waiting room and online queue
- Zero downtime and maximum performance for your website.
- It provides a fair and transparent system your customers will respect and appreciate.
- You can deliver rewards or ‘thank yous’ to those waiting in line. Coupons, codes, and special offers can show your customers how valuable they are to you.
- A virtual queue can be installed for specific pages, keeping other areas of your site accessible for other visitors, or over the whole site—depending on the needs of your operation.
- They’re a quick, easy to integrate, and incredibly affordable solution to an array of eCommerce issues.
- You gather real-time data, delivering a history of your site and system performance you can use to understand your marketing avenues, promotions, and events, and also your conversion tactics.
- It allows access to real-time communication with your visitors.
- Multiple queues allow the segregation of your customers, applying different rules for different groups of visitors.
- Provision of additional security measures against bots, queue jumpers, and hackers.
- Fully customisable to seamlessly integrate with your business brand.
- You have the option to deliver live updates about product availability, alternatives, and additional items relative to each purchase.
- Pre-queuing allows you to protect your site in advance of peak traffic events, delivering each early-bird a random place in the queue when the event officially starts.
- A sophisticated yet simple to administer solution that integrates with current technologies and eCommerce systems.
This is merely a small selection of benefits. With a vast list of advantages saving you time, money, and, most of all, customers, our online queuing systems are perfect solutions to peak traffic problems for eCommerce sites and apps.
Let’s face it, there’s one adage that has served us well for hundreds of years, and in this scenario, it’s just as relevant—prevention is so much better than a cure.