Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Why a three-pronged approach is the only way to optimise website health

By Gav Winter, CEO of website monitoring company RapidSpike

A sobering report by Box UK revealed that 10% of ecommerce revenue is lost each year due to website performance issues. With the ecommerce market set to grow by 50% between today and 2025, there are simply millions of pounds being lost to avoidable problems.

Financial loss is not the only risk for ecommerce retailers. A poor user experience may also result in:

  • Reputational damage
  • Security breaches
  • Loss of market share.

The most common problems modern ecommerce sites face

Ecommerce trends have accelerated since the pandemic, with customers turning to new methods such as augmented reality, mobile apps and social shopping. While a bigger range of options improves the customer experience, it also opens us up to more problems. The most common are:

Blue light incidents

A ‘blue light incident’ is an unexpected performance failure on an otherwise functioning ecommerce website. This results in customers not being able to reach the checkout, and could be caused by bugs, server issues or design faults.

Bugs may hinder the user experience, for example, missing product data could stop the user from adding their chosen product to the basket. The issue may appear at the payment screen, for example, discount codes not working, or payment methods may time out.

Server issues can slow a website down. These are common during sale periods like Black Friday, where servers struggle to balance the load and websites crash. Content delivery networks or code optimisations are a huge help here.

There may even be simple design faults that prevent user check-outs. This issue was labelled ‘Cumulative Layout Shift’ by Google when they released their Core Web Vitals update. New elements that may stop the user accessing key buttons or links could prevent a sale.

Uptime emergencies

An uptime emergency occurs when the website appears to be functioning, but something is going on behind the scenes. Often, this has been bubbling under the surface for many months – perhaps on a single product page so it’s not noticeable.

Fashion retailer Lacoste came under fire in July 2022 when a bug revealed £100 off all items at the checkout. Many customers flocked to the site and crashed it when they discovered they could buy items for free.

Other issues may be affecting product pages or the whole site, such as slow-loading imagery. If this renders a product too slow to load, customers may look for alternatives elsewhere. Let’s not forget that even a 1-second delay could decrease website conversions by 7%. Customers are time-poor, so while a site may ‘look functional’, it could be anything but.

Security breaches

Arguably the most critical issue for ecommerce sites, security breaches could result in personal information being leaked, and revenue loss. One of the most common hacks is a Magecart attack, wherein a hacker injects a line of malicious code into HTML or JavaScript source code. The attacker then adds a keylogger to payment forms, and steals users’ credit card details.

Other cybersecurity concerns include DDoS attacks, whereby servers are crashed by a sudden influx of bot traffic, and phishing, where hackers pose as somebody else.

Why we must keep our fingers on the pulse

Revenue loss, reputational damage and customer safety should not be overlooked. This is why it’s so important to be proactive and prevent attacks or website issues before they become a problem. 

RapidSpike offers a three-pronged ‘emergency service’ approach to business-critical website monitoring. Treating performance, uptime and security as ambulance, fire and police, the platform monitors ecommerce sites in real time to detect key issues.

We have seen first-hand what happens when website problems are left undetected. One retailer made a potential £2.5 million mistake when ignoring speed issues. A proactive website monitoring solution helps to:

  • Mimic user journeys to identify issues that affect real customers
  • Analyse Google Core Web Vitals to spot flaws in ecommerce design
  • Detect specialist ecommerce attacks such as Magecart.

Customers are fickle and short on time. They’re also susceptible to security issues and may not be aware of attempts to hack their personal data. With a proactive website monitoring solution, we can maintain competitive advantage and keep retail customers returning time and again.


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