Walmart, Petsmart, Lulelemon, Costco… What connects these companies?  You might point out that they’re all retail giants, but did you know that they’ve also all suffered outages due to traffic on their e-commerce websites on Black Friday?

In 2020 Black Friday & Cyber Monday, spurred by the pandemic, hit highs both in terms of spending and internet traffic. In fact, around 30% of all holiday shopping took place on the Black Friday weekend. In 2021, with world economies rebounding as well as the continued existence of COVID causing customers to continue to shop from home we can predict more of the same.

One of the biggest concerns for online retailers is ensuring that their websites are resilient enough to withstand the amount of traffic they receive on the busiest days of the year when spikes in traffic can risk bringing their websites down or large amounts of users can cause increases in load times.

Consider this, a recent study from Deloitte shows that a 1 second increase in load times causes page views to reduce 11%, customer satisfaction to decrease 16%, and conversions to decrease 4.42%.  For a large e-commerce store this can lead to millions in lost sales and revenue.  You can expect all of these factors to matter more on a weekend when shoppers are committed to making all of their purchases.  If your website is slow, or not available when users need it they will go somewhere else.

So how can you prepare?

Start testing your site now

In reality, you should be regularly testing your website throughout the year as you update it and make changes to ensure it’s able to cope when it gets hit with traffic.  Testing, diagnosing, fixing, and retesting all take time.  Load testing should be a part of your CI/CD cycle and Gatling Enterprise is the perfect tool to help.  With advanced reporting and the ability to run multiple versions of the same test and compare them you’ll be able to see what’s working, what needs to be fixed and where your vulnerabilities are.  

Set up a scenario

Setting up a simple scenario of a user arriving at your store, selecting a product, adding to cart, and checking out is a great way to test the various areas of an e-commerce website that could be points of failure on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  We’ve also included 2 different tests below that can simulate the traffic you can expect to experience Black Friday weekend.

Soak Test

A soak test is designed to show you where the bottlenecks in your application are.  You run a steady rate of traffic through your site for a long period of time and you should be able to see where your points of failure are based on the reporting.  While this is a helpful test for Black Friday weekend you should be running tests like this year round to ensure consistent speed and proactively fix performance issues.

Stress Test

A stress test simulates many users accessing your site at the same time, for example midnight on Cyber Monday.  This is a crucial test to run as it can show how your website will react when it’s hit with a huge rush of users.  By analyzing reports you can see when you’ll crash, make changes, and ensure your website is stable and resilient enough to handle the spikes of traffic on Cyber Monday.

How to get started

It’s never been easier to get started with Gatling Enterprise than with our new Cloud version, just create an account, follow our step-by-step guide, and you’ll be testing in no time.  

We also have amazing Gatling Academy courses if you’re new to load testing including an e-commerce course which details how to run the tests mentioned above.