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How Software Performance Testing Can Help Your Business Succeed this Holiday Season

Holiday time is quickly approaching. If you own a digital business, you should prepare for the yearly spikes in activity and demand from your clients. While ten years ago that might’ve meant hiring temporary staff to help manage the holiday rush, most of today’s shopping and customer service happens online. According to the National Retail Federation of the United States, holiday sales in 2021 increased by 14.1% to a record $886.7 billion.

In the digital retail landscape, providing customers with an outstanding user experience (UX) when interacting with your brand or accessing your services online is essential to your success. But with the increases in online activities affecting the performance of your technology systems during the holiday season, the UX becomes far more challenging to maintain.

In the digital retail landscape, providing customers with an outstanding user experience (UX) when interacting with your brand or accessing your services online is essential to your success. But with the increases in online activities affecting the performance of your technology systems during the holiday season, the UX becomes far more challenging to maintain.

Of course, your brand’s digital presence now consists of multiple channels that must all continue to provide an equally good, consistent UX. As a result,

maintaining the required level of performance, especially under heavy strain from high traffic volumes is a significant challenge.

Even small businesses today are required to simultaneously support a website, mobile application, customer service channels, e-commerce solutions, point-of-sale, inventory, shipping systems, business intelligence platforms and more. Without doing so, you’re accepting the potential of losing many online customers and seeing your sales drop significantly.

Therefore, to succeed – or even survive – this holiday season, you should implement an omnichannel performance testing strategy to ensure your systems can manage the load and continue to deliver the user experience necessary for your customers.

To minimize the possibility of slow service or system failure during peak traffic, you must also take a proactive approach to quality engineering. Begin measuring and improving your systems’ readiness for challenges before it’s too late.

Use Past Data to Predict Requirements

Start by analyzing data and gathering insights from previous holiday seasons. Then, use this to identify trends and predict scenarios that you’ll likely be facing this year. This will allow you to see patterns in online customer behaviour, expectations, and purchasing habits.

For example, you may find that your systems have faced the highest traffic at a specific time of day, or a particular day of the week, during the last few holiday seasons. These previous data will enable you to prepare your system for the busiest periods.

You’ll also find channels that are most likely used for a specific activity. For instance, your mobile app may find customers using discount codes or vouchers, while your website could be popular among customers who want the items they purchase shipped abroad.

Look for as many trends as possible and feed these to the team responsible for supporting your software. By understanding patterns in advance, performance testing can be used to prepare your systems for upcoming workloads.

Ensure Your Digital Apps Will Perform

When it comes to ensuring your digital applications will perform as required under the strain of holiday season traffic there are a few key factors that you will need to consider in advance.

First, measure the performance capabilities of your critical system components, such as the server, database, and middleware. This will give you a comprehensive view of where bottlenecks may occur and will show you where you need to optimize to improve your site’s performance.

Additionally, it’s vital to measure web page load times and user-facing metrics. Such data will give insights into the user experience your customers will have when accessing your site and would highlight areas that need improvement.

Some more in-depth questions to ask yourself ahead of this holiday season would be:

Home Page: How quick should products, that your customers are willing to buy, be displayed on the app?

Search Functionality: Do your consumers get relevant search results in a reasonable amount of time? If not, your customer may become frustrated and abandon your website in favour of one of your competitors.

Managing User Sessions: Remember that the holiday season won’t just bring more visitors, it will also put your log-in system and database under tremendous strain. Make sure to test scenarios such as a high volume of users trying to log in simultaneously.

Shopping Carts: Make sure to test software that facilitates customers’ interactions with their online shopping carts can continue to perform at the required levels even when there could be a drastic increase in the number of users.

Payment Processes: Can customers make payments concurrently through your third-party payment gateways? Run tests to ensure your payment system can connect to third-party payment approval processes even when your network is severely stressed.

Order Fulfilment: Is order information exchanged with the warehouse on time for items to be packed and delivered to customers? Confirm whether your warehouse management system can handle the increase in the order flow.
Background Jobs: Are background jobs for reconciliation, settlements and other purposes slowing down your apps due to high data processing volumes? Include background job scenarios as part of your workload model.

Special Offers: Special offers are much more common during the holiday season. Be sure to conduct thorough tests on functionalities of your website and reinforce your systems can handle increased loads.

The Business Value of Performance Testing

Performance testing is not just about finding problems and resolving them before they could negatively impact your customer service. Regular and efficient practising of performance testing can in fact deliver valuable opportunities and benefits to your business.

In addition to reducing risk and minimizing unplanned outages, performance testing can help you to:

Maximize uptime and speed, resulting in excellent customer experience, faster sales processing and increased revenue

Optimize channels’ performance to improve customer retention, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals
How to Further Reduce Your Risk

Performance testing can be difficult for an average business, especially with many channels to worry about and the complexity of tying them all together. However, with something as important as application performance, it’s often wise to work with a trusted, experienced partner who can provide you with specialist guidance and expertise.
As a leading provider of performance testing and quality engineering services, our team here at Testhouse has a proven track record of reinforcing retail systems to manage customer loads of more than half a million users.

Our team has successfully managed end-to-end performance testing for global businesses in the retail, banking, government, education and healthcare sectors. All our clients came to us with one requirement in common – the need for robust and scalable solutions to support their large user bases.

This holiday season, do not take the risk of allowing surges in customer traffic to cause your systems to fail. Instead, use performance testing to ensure you’re prepared to take full advantage of the busiest time and maximize your online revenue.

Get in touch with one of our specialists today to discover how to implement an omnichannel performance test strategy quickly and easily for your business.

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