What You Can Learn From Amazon’s Prime Day Fiasco

Harrison Hsu eCommerce

Amazon Prime Day

Amazon’s Prime Day has experienced tremendous growth since the eCommerce giant introduced the Prime member-exclusive sales event four years ago. However, even Amazon hadn’t prepared enough for how popular the event had become.

Prime Day 2018 kicked off on July 16 at 3 pm EST (12 pm PST), and the eCommerce giant’s servers were not able to process the traffic of all the people trying to access their website. Amazon’s customers who were experiencing issues with the website’s service took to social media to complain about the inability to shop Prime Day deals. Amazon then released a statement on Twitter saying that although the website was down, their sales were still higher than the sales in the same time period last year. The non-apology upset many consumers, many of whom grew increasingly frustrated by how slowly the site issues were being fixed.

Despite expecting the huge jump in traffic, Amazon did not do nearly enough to compensate for the amount of traffic which resulted in over 5 hours of issues. To temporarily “resolve” the issue, the company opted to block all international traffic and manually add extra servers. Amazon has a very loyal customer base because how easy it is for over a hundred million Amazon Prime subscribers easy access to the company’s enormous inventory, but other eCommerce websites would have suffered a significant hit in similar scenarios. The Prime Day fiasco will undoubtedly slow down the growth of Prime subscribers. An eCommerce analyst at Forrester stated that: “The worst part about it is it’s just embarrassing. They’re supposed to be the best company in the world from a retail and e-commerce standpoint.”

The biggest takeaway from Amazon’s Prime Day fiasco is, of course, to be prepared. Don’t let your website go down and be ready to tackle any issues that arise. But what does that really mean? The world of eCommerce is incredibly difficult to navigate, and preparing for spikes in traffic is essential to running a successful campaign around holidays, sales events, or seasonal sales in order to capitalize on the event. Here are some ways you can prepare:

  • Overestimate traffic: It is always better to overestimate the traffic your website will get in preparation for a promotional event. Allow for increased bandwidth on your server and make sure it can handle the increase in traffic.
  • Update your server: A common issue with slow websites is the server hardware and software not being capable of processing website information. Make sure your server stack is updated to the latest version. Having access to your own dedicated server or hosting your own website will allow you to handle heavy traffic and give your website its own static IP address. If you don’t host your own site, contact your hosting provider and make sure you’re completely up to date.
  • Compress files:Having site files that are too large slows downloading times and has the potential to drive users away. This includes images, pages, and the scripts running on your site.
  • Test the website speed: Test the site speed with varying levels of traffic – small and large. This will give you insight into how your site will perform during a promotional event and allow you to make adjustments accordingly.
  • Upgrade accessibility and improve usability: During the holiday sales season, most consumers are in a rush to get their shopping done, and eCommerce websites must be aware of the fact that users don’t have the time nor the patience to put up with difficulty navigating the website or lack of speed. If it isn’t relatively easy for a user to find a product, find product information, add it to their cart, and checkout, it is probable that consumers will abandon your site. Conducting usability tests and analyses of your site before the big sale date is a great chance to find out what works and what doesn’t, which allows you to make adjustments accordingly.

Of course, these upgrades to your system are useless without a focus on getting traffic on your website. By optimizing SEO and streamlining your marketing strategy you can effectively drive potential customers onto your eCommerce site. If you are looking to capitalize on days of heavy consumer traffic, Logic Solutions offers services for all things eCommerce that will benefit you and your users.