Get your e-commerce server flash sale ready

12 Feb, 2018

E-commerce is booming, so should your server

E-commerce is booming in South Africa with roughly 18.5 million online shoppers – a number that is expected to grow to 24.79 million in the next four years. This is an opportunity that should not be ignored by businesses that intend to serve this rapidly expanding online marketplace.

In the world of online shopping, uptime is non-negotiable and loading in 3, 2, 1 is the only grace time you will ever get to build trust, grow revenue and cultivate customer loyalty. High traffic e-commerce sites are heavily reliant on servers to deliver faster loading and transaction times, not to mention the processing of coinciding requests during flash sales, Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays.

The importance of exceptional user experiences and online payment systems can’t be overstated, especially on mobile devices. For many small businesses, your online shop front could very well be your only shop front. An efficient e-commerce site is key to growing your business. It sets you apart from your competitors and opens the door to international markets.

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The cost of downtime and slow sites
Studies show that 50% of visitors move on when websites and web pages take longer than three seconds to load. A two-second delay, especially during the checkout process, can result in abandon cart rates of up to 87%. Research also shows that a mere one-second delay can cost you a 7% loss in conversions and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Choosing the right server
One way to future-proof your online business, is to ensure that your server capacity, performance, stability and security is more than sufficient. Ask yourself: How well is your current server performing? What traffic volumes are you expecting in the near future? Do you have sufficient RAM and bandwidth to handle massive traffic spikes during flash sales?

Your business strategy should be your first port of call when deciding on a hosting solution. Be clear on your business objectives and your budget for website design and hosting. Aspects to keep in mind are your product range, type and quality of content, the extent of your technical support and the degree of control and customisation you would require.

The advantages of a dedicated server are extensive and include:

  • greater performance and reliability
  • smoother network connections
  • larger storage space
  • greater scalability and customisation
  • better security

High-level security is vital
Security is essential, not only to you but to your customers as well. Cyber-security threats like phishing attacks, hacking and credit card fraud are rampant and pose a great risk to e-commerce sites. Customers are aware of these threats and the moment they feel that their personal information is compromised, they will move to competitor sites.

Hackers can breach unprotected sites with ease and can compromise the functioning and integrity of e-commerce sites by stealing confidential information and by overloading or slowing down sites with large volumes of automated requests. Unprotected sites are also vulnerable to malware threats such as viruses, worms or Trojans.

A dedicated server guarantees maximum uptime and offers the best protection against a variety of cyber-attacks. It also eliminates the risk of sharing space with malicious websites and safeguards against malware.

E-commerce sites must offer a glitch-free customer experience, regardless of traffic volumes. However, the yearly recurrence of e-commerce disasters, especially during flash sales, Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays, are a harsh reminder that delaying the inevitable will have a negative effect on your bottom line. Make sure that your server can meet the demands of the fast-growing online shopping community, particularly ahead of the flash sales season.