Do you think a lot about how you can take your business to the next level? Yes, you’ve done a brilliant job with the design, your message is spot on and your campaigns are ready to take off. But does your digital platform burst at the seams with customer traffic? Do you get a lot of feedback on platform stability and poor performance? For an e-commerce platform to thrive, stability, performance, and uptime are critical.
Poor Platform Performance means Unhappy Customers
Speed is everything, especially for an e-commerce platform. Users get frustrated with long wait times. If your page doesn’t load fast enough, many shoppers simply click away to a competitor — and never come back. Performance bottlenecks and outages can impact the success of your online business. Here are some causes for poor platform performance that you probably wish you knew earlier:
Depleted database connections
Nearly every checkout transaction interacts with one or more databases. A database connection pool that’s too small can be a bottleneck for e-commerce platforms during peak load. Despite their best efforts, many organizations do not catch this, because their load testing methodology neglects backend services at high concurrency.
Code deadlocks occur when multiple server threads compete for the same resource. This is disastrous for the application server. It is usually the result of an application design that doesn’t account for concurrency. Since this appears only during high concurrency, it can be difficult to detect during development or test.
Server connectivity is another root cause of poor platform performance. On days like Black Friday, due to high demand and network saturation, your e-commerce platform may not connect to remote servers. Third-party services like billing, shipping, or fraud detection may not function and important transactions could time out.
Inefficient garbage collection
Caches are a very easy and popular way to speed up the performance of your e-commerce platform. To manage cache, a technique called garbage collection is used to discard objects and free up memory. But, inefficient garbage collection affects end-user experience, by deleting data and objects that users need and expect.
Slow third-party services
If your e-commerce platform is architected around distributed services, then chances are that some of the services are owned and operated by third parties. If these services are unavailable or slow, then transactions cannot be completed. This needs regular monitoring.
Production environments are almost never locked in. Server configurations are very sensitive, so visibility on configuration changes across your platform is essential to troubleshooting in production. Without this visibility, it’s very easy for your online platform to crash.
Unplanned Downtime comes at Substantial Cost
Imagine having an outage during your flash sale? Or worse, what if your platform crashes during Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Maybe you can survive the revenue loss, but can you deal with the loss of brand reputation and the damage to your NPS?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that quantifies the chances of a customer recommending your e-commerce platform to their social circle. The higher your NPS, the better the chance that your customers will become ambassadors for your business. As a KPI metric, NPS can be invaluable to grow customer loyalty and drive revenue. A low NPS score means that your business needs a lot of work.
The stability of your e-commerce platform is vital to your business. On D-day, you shouldn’t be worrying about your platform staying live and functional. You can’t just guess capacity! A methodical approach is the answer. Identify user behavior and run tests for load, spikes, capacity, performance, and stress. Nailing down platform stability is crucial to scaling your business and maintaining customer trust and loyalty.
Platform Performance Improvement made Easy
So how do you go about improving the performance, stability, and uptime of your e-commerce platform? Well, it all starts with identifying where in the funnel you have a problem. It’s critical that you identify your technical debt on both the application level and the infrastructure level. Then create a plan to improve the stability and observability of the platform. Tackle application, integration, and infrastructure-related issues to improve performance and customer experience. Keep an eye on the measurable KPIs to drive further improvement. Optimize at content, application, and infrastructure level. Why don’t you get in touch with us, if you need help with improving the performance of your platform?
MACH and the Modern Approach to E-commerce
MACH technologies – Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless – represent the modern approach to digital platforms. It marks a shift away from rigid, monolithic technology that prevents business agility to a modern composable enterprise, driven by APIs and modular components that represent discrete business capabilities. These modular components are plug-and-play, scalable, and replaceable, can be tailored to specific business requirements, and integrated with other applications across the enterprise.
This approach to architecting e-commerce platforms eliminates a lot of the stability, performance, and downtime challenges typically faced by e-commerce platforms. As a platform owner, you benefit from the reduced cost of ownership, the enhanced speed of operations, and the best possible customer experience. Curious about how else MACH can benefit your business? Read more about why Mindcurv advocates the MACH approach.
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Some of our customer’s platforms have experienced unanticipated peak loads. See how we have helped stabilise their platforms and how we helped rescue ones that were on fire.