|Mon Nov 19 2012 17:34:20|
Online Merchant Tips for Coping with Holiday Outages
By: Ina Steiner
There are a lot of things that can go wrong during the busiest shopping days ahead, and for online merchants, website outages are one of the biggest disasters.
In fact, I've been getting a lot of companies reaching out with data about ensuring uptime during the holidays. The most recent is from Uptrends, which monitored the home pages of 1640 of the most popular ecommerce sites, including the Internet Retailer Top 1000, during the period from October, 14 through November 14.
Uptrends conducted the test from over 100 checkpoints worldwide with a monitoring interval period of 5 minutes and checked their availability for visitors and (potential) customers.
Here are some of the findings regarding website availability:
- The average uptime for the entire group of 1640 websites was 99.72%, which indicates that over the monitored time period, each website had an average downtime of 2 hours and 8 minutes.
- 1098 internet stores had a 99.90 % uptime or better, including 411 web shops with an uptime of 100%, which is an excellent performance rating. These websites were always available for visitors and (potential) customers. Examples of the web shops that were always accessible were: Amazon.com, EsteeLauder.com, Ikea.com, RadioShack.com, Shoes.com, Staples.com, ToysRus.com and Vistaprint.com.
- Of the 1640 monitored web shops, 542 of them (33%) did not perform well. Their websites only maintained an average uptime between 53.60 to 99.89 percent. They included Sears.com (ranked 8, Uptime 97.92% downtime 16 hrs.) and VictoriaSecret.com (ranked 19, Uptime 98.69% downtime 10 hrs.).
Assuming YOUR site is okay, what about the websites you rely on to keep orders coming in and shipments going out? From eBay, Amazon and other marketplaces, to shipping carriers and services, to inventory management services, to PayPal and other online payment services - if their sites are down, you may be in big trouble!
Here are some tips to help you research an outage.
1) Do a search on Twitter to see if anyone else is having the same problem. It's an incredibly effective way for services to keep customers up to date.
2) Not sure if the site is really down or not? Skim through David's three part guide, "The Online Seller's Guide to Troubleshooting Access Problems."
3) File a report on Ecommerce EKG. It's a good idea to check this site periodically and give a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate if YOU are also experiencing the problem.
What do you do to monitor and communicate during an outage? Leave a comment!