Downtime is like the flu for your ecommerce business – no one wants to visit, nothing is running properly and without an actual cure it will just keep coming back. Unfortunately, it’s an issue we all have to deal with, no matter the size of the business.
A study in 2016 found that Ticketmaster had a whopping 4,410 minutes of downtime in just one week! But what exactly is downtime? And how does it affect your ecommerce business? Read on as we clear things up…
What is downtime?
Downtime is essentially the periods of time when a computer, network or server is not available. From system reboots to hacking attacks, there are loads of factors that could cause downtime on your site. The problem? During this time, nobody can access your site to make a purchase…
Loss of sales
Most websites only tend to be down for less than 5 minutes. So, how much damage can really be done in such a short space of time? Well, in 2012 Amazon lost around £52,000 per minute of downtime – that’s over £200,000 in just 5 minutes!
Of course, Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, so they’re bound to experience larger losses. But, you’re probably losing much more than you think every time your site is down.
Downtime losses are not just dependent on the size of your business, though. The time of day your site is down, the cost of your products, the amount your customers purchase and how long your site is down for all play a part. If, for instance, a site is down for an hour at 1am, they may lose around the same as a site being down for 5 minutes at peak time.
If your site is down for even a few minutes, the backlash can affect the entire business. Staff may have to abandon their normal roles to work on getting the site back up and running, or to answer phone calls from frustrated and concerned customers. Again, this is costing your business more money as your staff can’t carry out their usual tasks, delaying the whole system.
If your business is reliant on strong customer relationships, downtime could end up costing even more time and money. You’ve spent hours communicating with a client, developing a relationship, only for them to lose faith in your company with an unavailable site. The solution to this? Putting more and more hours into rebuilding the trust or risk losing out on a valued client.
In this vast, dog-eat-dog world of ecommerce, your reputation can be the difference between sinking and swimming. New customers have no experience working with your company. So, first impressions really count. A potential customer clicking onto your website is probably not going to come back if their first encounter is with a site that’s down.
Even regular, returning customers may be put off by downtime and tempted to shop elsewhere. With so many other ecommerce sites selling similar products, there’s nothing stopping inconvenienced customers from flocking to your competitors’ websites and staying there. In a competitive industry, even the loss of one customer could affect your bottom line.
It’s not just customers that are put off by downtime. Google doesn’t like unavailable websites. Whatever the length of the downtime, it can negatively impact your Google search rankings. Even if your site is back up and running in 5 minutes, your place on the rankings may have been replaced by an available competitor.
So, your site’s been down for a few minutes, you’ve dropped in rankings and lost potential customers. Downtime can impact your ecommerce site long term. Poor search rankings will prevent valuable customers from reaching your site, even when it’s back up and running.
Essentially, you will be pushing customers from your site and onto a competitor’s sale list. No business wants to encourage their customers to shop elsewhere, right?
Some causes of downtime aren’t as easily fixed as others. If there is a flaw in your operating system, for example, this isn’t something you can fix in-house. Once you factor in the costs of bringing someone in to sort out your site, potentially buying an entire new system, downtime is starting to look expensive. You may even need to bring in a permanent member of staff to monitor the site.
Even worse, if your site is down due to hacking attacks, and you don’t know how to combat this, it could permanently affect your business. With these types of downtime causes, it is vital that they are caught and dealt with as soon as to prevent further issues.
Avoid downtime damage
Technical issues can take a long time to sort out and, honestly, it can be exhausting to deal with if you don’t have the right expertise. At Fluid Digital, we take care of everything with our Magento support packages, leaving you with more time to focus on the important stuff.
Our specialist team will monitor your website 24/7 and provide regular audits to ensure that everything is running smoothly at all times. We operate a rapid response service too, with initial priority response times of 30 minutes or less.
Any questions? Get in touch with our Magento experts today to find out more.