#BlackFridayFail: Top 9 Cringeworthy Tweets Brands Can Learn From
According to the 2019 Retail Systems Research (RSR) report on eCommerce site performance, 90% of shoppers have left a site because it did not load according to their expectations for speed.
The report also found that when frustrated shoppers leave a website, brands themselves are often the last to know. Instead, consumers head to Amazon, shop from competitors, or worse — never visit the site again. But what retailers may not expect, is that shoppers often take to social media to air their unhappiness — with a vengeance.
From the same report, 14% of shoppers say they have posted on social media to complain about a slow loading eCommerce site. Add the disappointment of missing out on a time-sensitive sale right before the holidays, and you have a recipe for disaster (or entertainment, depending on your sense of humor).
So, what are angry consumers most-likely to post about a retailer’s slow site performance? We took to Twitter to find out, looking specifically at posts from Black Friday last year to assess the damage.
We also explored the potential problems that could have caused the site performance issues in the first place, as well as recommended solutions, so your eCommerce site doesn’t suffer the same shameful #BlackFridayFail fate this year.
Black Friday Fail #1: Your site is “broken”
Potential Cause: Too much traffic.
Retailers saw a 47% growth in online traffic during the holiday shopping season in 2018. With more and more people shopping online, traffic will only continue to skyrocket. Some retail sites can’t handle holiday traffic surges leading to performance delays or site outages.
At least two months in advance to the holiday, load test your web pages and internal servers to handle an influx of traffic. Have additional servers on standby in case of an emergency. When testing page load times, analyze performance at regional levels in addition to national-averages to ensure you’re identifying all potential problems ahead of time.
Lowe’s – Customers expect a functioning site 24/7/365:
— Naval Shah (@sknnyfatbrwnguy) November 24, 2018
Walmart – The last thing you want to do during a site outage is leave your customers with a boring 404 error page:
Shout-out to anyone about to throw their computer out the window bc of @Walmart Black Friday sale. At least when Amazon prime epically failed I had cute dogs to look at. #blackfriday #WalmartWednesday #blackfridayfail
— Tamika Scott (@queenakimat) November 22, 2018
Ulta Beauty – Make sure your website is optimized to support your holiday ad campaigns:
— Robert Martins (@SeattleRob128) November 22, 2018
Black Friday Fail #2: Your customers can’t checkout
Potential Cause: 3rd party outages.
The average eCommerce site today has between 40-60 3rd party technologies. These 3rd parties can experience an outage at any time, and since they are external to your infrastructure/platform, they are completely out of your control. Retail sites, on average, experience 1.5 million 3rd party performance violations per day. If a 3rd party supporting payment options breaks, shoppers can’t checkout, and will likely abandon their carts.
Cutting down on your 3rd parties is not the right way to fix this issue. eCommerce sites need 3rd parties, and shoppers expect you to have them.
We recommend working with technology to inventory and optimally sequence the loading of all 3rd parties on your site. With better visibility into your 3rd parties, you will be able to identify which ones are causing issues at any given time, speedlining remediation.
Ralph Lauren – 53% of shoppers say their biggest issue with a slow site is that it’s a waste of their personal time:
#blackfridayfail @ralphlauren You had one job. Let me check out. Spent 3 hours building a $1500 cart. Entered all profile data – except payment. All options to pay disabled. No indication of what was wrong. Never made it to checkout.
— Gern Blanston (@GernBlanston23) November 25, 2017
Hollister – The last thing you want on Black Friday is to prevent your customers from spending their money:
— Tiffany Smith (@trevillyan1) November 23, 2018
J Crew – Don’t make the naughty list this holiday season:
I had a #JCrew Christmas list for my entire family and your website will not allow me to purchase anything? Seriously? I hope Santa gives you all coal in your stocking. Totally unacceptable. @jcrew @jcrew_help #BlackFridayFail #BlackFriday2018
— EllieBoldmanHill (@EllieHill) November 23, 2018
Black Friday Fail #3: You’re driving shoppers to your competition
Potential Cause: Slow page load times.
We’ve seen many websites lose a large number of orders during the holidays due to a high level of inconsistencies in their website page load times.
Although 3rd parties account for 75% of slow site speed, there are other offenders that brands should be aware of. For example, heavy imagery, bad bots pinging and overloading your servers, and large amounts of rich content can all slow down site speed and ruin shopper experience.
No need to put your site on a diet. We recommend assessing the current state of your site with a performance evaluation to identify and address your specific performance issues. With the right tools, you can use technology that leverages bot mitigation, application sequencing, content caching, and enables full visibility and alerting on all website anomalies, so you stay ahead of any issues.
Lowe’s – 57% of shoppers leave and buy from a similar retailer when they are frustrated with a slow site:
In the mean time I'm looking at @Menards like maybe it's time to move my side piece to my main boo. At least their website works! 😍
— Amber Temerity (@ThriftyGuardian) November 23, 2018
Walmart – Don’t waste your customers’ time:
— Neil Fildes (@neilfildes) November 22, 2018
J Crew – Only 34% of shoppers are willing to wait for their favorite brands:
Trying to get my #BlackFriday shopping on, but @jcrew won't let me. Site STILL down 7 hrs after their apology tweet. Oh well, guess I'll spend my money elsewhere. #blackfridayfail #getanewITmanager #jcrew #disappointing
— Liza (@Life_of_Liza) November 23, 2018
Optimize your site for a #BlackFridayWin
Don’t let your site become the subject of this year’s #BlackFridayFail tweets. Instead of fearing shopper shade, grab some popcorn and watch the holiday traffic sent your way due to the competition’s poor site performance.
Not sure where to start? Load test your web pages to ensure they can handle an influx of traffic. Optimize and stabilize your site performance to prevent volatility and checkout issues. Confirm your IT team staffing hours and establish an emergency plan for site performance issues.