Christmas and key day sales, like last Black Friday, are not only a great opportunity for ecommerce, but a challenge of resistance. And, is that, web traffic peaks can bring down the system, causing the online store to lose money and customers, in addition to throwing away any hint of reliability that it had.
The web hosting and hosting They are not web elements that a beginner takes into account when designing an ecommerce; however, they are very necessary when it comes to sustaining the system in the face of an onslaught of buyers. To find out a little more about all this, we have spoken with José Ramón Padrón, General Manager of SiteGround Spain.
MuyPymes: What can happen to an ecommerce when experiencing a traffic peak such as those experienced on key dates, such as Black Friday or Christmas?
José Ramón Padrón: It is a question of available resources, in front of a specific demand, at a certain moment. In an online store there are a certain number of resources to serve the traffic that depend on several factors, among which are:
- The quality of the online store’s programming and the optimization of its components.
- The hosting product in which that online store is hosted.
- And the traffic or number of simultaneous users at a given time.
MuyPymes: What happens when a website begins to experience a peak in traffic?
José Ramón Padrón: That it is going to consume the available resources and if it reaches a consumption close to 100% or exceeds it, that website will suffer a deterioration of the service (usually slow), until it does not have available resources. At this point, error messages will be displayed to users and the content will not be seen, with consequent loss of sales and brand image.
MuyPymes: Does this mean that when there is a peak in traffic, the service will always deteriorate or the web will “fall”?
José Ramón Padrón: No, fortunately there are many strategies and technology to avoid it and a large percentage of online stores (more and more) are well prepared for key moments.
MuyPymes: What measure can you take a priori so that everything works normally?
José Ramón Padrón: The truth is that if we work “a priori”, we have much more room for maneuver than “during”. Ideally, you would work on four different questions:
- Forecast: It is important to be as clear as possible at what times of the day there is the greatest traffic on our website. If it is your first Black Friday, look at statistics from other online stores, there are many examples on the Internet. Do not match a massive campaign on social networks or a mass email sending at the time of the highest traffic. Dose your marketing resources to reach your users in an “orderly” way as far as possible.
- Hosting product: We recommend using scalable products, ideally products that do so automatically when traffic peaks. Ask your hosting provider if the product you are using can handle traffic peaks, and how you can increase your resources if necessary. But do it before Black Friday, be clear about what the action plan would be in case you need more resources and how much time you need for the change (there are automatic options) and what you need to do to make it happen.
- Optimization: It is quite likely that you can imagine the differences between a car just bought from a dealer and the same model prepared to run a rally. The same thing happens in online stores. Optimizing a website (WPO strategies, Website Performance Optimization) is not only about making your website faster, that is a consequence. Optimizing allows you to serve more users with the same hosting product and with an ever-improving user experience as well as optimizing service costs. For this, it is necessary to optimize images, code, use caching solutions, compression and comply (as a guide) parameters such as Google’s Core Web Vitals, indicators focused on user experience.
- Extra security: Logically, your store uses SSL-TLS certificates, you have all your software updated to the latest version, you use strong passwords or double factor authentication, and all your data is well protected. There is an extra detail regarding backups. At times like Black Friday, the number of orders and transactions in your online store grows, so it is important that you have more than one daily backup of your online store, otherwise the information regarding orders in a certain time frame it could be lost if you have to dump the last copy in case you need it.
These are some of the measures that can be taken, but if you are forward-thinking, most of these measures are taken throughout the year, without having to change the scheme diametrically before dates like Black Friday or Christmas.
MuyPymes: Is it possible to increase the sales of an ecommerce from a technical point of view?
José Ramón Padrón: Of course. It is not just a question of brand, product quality or execution of marketing campaigns. For the above questions to render 100% it is necessary to have an exemplary user experience, both on the desktop and in the mobile version of your online store.
Technically, the performance of the online store can be optimized by complying with standards such as Google’s Core Web Vitals, very focused on the user experience. But there are many more ways to apply changes to all parts of the web focused on conversion (CRO strategies) and performance.
MuyPymes: What role does hosting play in an ecommerce?
José Ramón Padrón: The hosting provider is one of the important pieces in the start-up and production strategy of an online store. Those online business owners who do not choose to sell only on social networks or marketplaces, have to turn to hosting providers to provide a quality service.
To be exact, a quality hosting provider brings benefits in performance and safety. If it is also a provider that is specialized in the CMS or technology you use for your online store, the results are even better. This extra performance translates into an improved user experience and a more balanced resource consumption.
What use would the best marketing campaign or having the best design and development for your online store serve, if the platform or hosting provider where it is hosted is not up to the task? Success in eCommerce is a matter of excellence between good design and development, good marketing, good hosting, excellent content, to achieve a good user experience.
Hence, the engine of your online store is as important as the rest of the components. Speed and security are always an incentive for buyers and that is not possible without a good hosting service supporting you.