How Can E-Commerce Tackle Critical Outages During Cyber Week?

How Can E-Commerce Tackle Critical Outages During Cyber Week?

The eCommerce landscape has seen significant growth and transformation in recent years, with online sales increasingly pivotal in the retail industry. In the United States, the eCommerce market is forecasted to reach more than $940.9 billion in 2023. According to Adobe Analytics, 2023 Black Friday sales were up by 7.5% on last year’s numbers. These figures underscore the substantial impact of eCommerce on the modern retail landscape.

“Black Friday online sales performance exceeded any retail executive’s expectations”, said Rob Garf, VP and GM of Retail at Salesforce, in a statement.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday incidents and glitches have also been notable in Cyber Week 2023. So, businesses need to ensure seamless operations during these peak shopping periods.

So What Are These Critical Outages in eCommerce Operations?

For eCommerce giants, incidents are not just glitches; they are costly disruptions ranging from $8-32 million annually for a $1 billion revenue company. The key lies in identifying and resolving these incidents swiftly and effectively. Let’s derive some of the most impactful issues faced.

1. High-Volume Traffic Overloads

High-volume traffic overloads during peak periods, such as Q4, can significantly impact eCommerce operations, with over 50% of annual sales often occurring during this time

System outage costs during these peaks extend beyond immediate financial implications, potentially casting long-lasting repercussions that impact revenue throughout the year.

To effectively combat these challenges, forward-thinking businesses are turning to real-time eCommerce analytics powered by advanced AI and machine learning technologies. By harnessing the capabilities of real-time insights, businesses gain a proactive edge and respond to potential issues before they escalate, ensuring operational resilience and safeguarding revenue streams.

In an era where eCommerce dominance is determined by the ability to navigate peak traffic seamlessly, integrating cutting-edge analytics is not just a strategic choice; it’s a necessity for sustained success. Embrace the power of real-time analytics to not only weather high-volume challenges but to thrive and capitalize on the opportunities inherent in peak periods.

2. Online Shopping Cart Issues

One persistent challenge in eCommerce is shopping cart abandonment, which can significantly impact revenue. Technical issues causing users to abandon their carts are only sometimes detectable with traditional monitoring tools. The complex web of metrics—products, devices, sessions, and campaigns—requires real-time monitoring to identify and resolve issues before customers are impacted. 

According to the Baymard Institute, 69.82% of online shopping carts are abandoned, resulting in significant revenue loss for eCommerce stores. Common reasons for cart abandonment include unexpected shipping costs, creating a new user account, and concerns about payment security. 

To address these issues, eCommerce businesses can implement strategies such as optimizing the checkout process, providing transparent pricing, and offering varied payment options.


3. Price Glitches

Price glitches in eCommerce can pose a significant threat to online retailers, potentially resulting in revenue loss and damage to brand reputation. These glitches occur when items are priced incorrectly, leading to unintended discounts and financial implications for businesses. 

For instance, Amazon and Walmart have experienced price glitches, such as offering items for significantly lower prices due to system errors. Real-time monitoring is crucial to address and rectify these issues swiftly, preventing financial losses and maintaining customer trust. 

Implementing an AI-based anomaly detection system played a pivotal role in tracking millions of metrics, offering accurate alerts, and ensuring the swift resolution of the issue.

4. Mistargeted Online Advertising

Mistargeted online advertising in eCommerce can drain resources, lead to missed sales opportunities, and harm brand reputation. Real-time analytics, driven by AI and machine learning, offer a solution by enabling precise targeting:

  • Resource Efficiency: Avoid financial drain by ensuring marketing funds are allocated to campaigns reaching the intended audience. 
  • Maximized Sales Opportunities: Targeted ads resonate with the audience, increasing conversion rates and optimizing opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. 
  • Customer Satisfaction: Reduce frustration by delivering relevant content, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 
  • Brand Image: Protect the brand’s image and reputation by demonstrating an understanding of customer preferences.

Real-time analytics achieve this through precision targeting, dynamic audience segmentation, personalized content creation, agile campaign optimization, and improved ROI. By leveraging these capabilities, businesses can successfully navigate the competitive eCommerce landscape, ensuring promotional effectiveness and sustainable growth.


5. Point of Payment Failures

Point of payment failures in eCommerce cause customer frustration and potential revenue loss. Common causes include faulty internet connections, incorrect details, insufficient funds, and misconfigured payment gateways. A study reveals 62% of customers won’t return after a payment failure. 

On November 25, 2023, Shopify and JPMorgan Chase experienced issues with point of payment failures, affecting customers using Chase-issued cards on Shopify POS, Shopify Instalments, and Shopify Payments. This incident highlights the importance of real-time monitoring and quick response times for eCommerce businesses to address payment issues and maintain customer trust.

Real-time monitoring and proactive measures, such as setting up backup payment methods and retry technologies, can help reduce the number of failed payments and enhance the customer experience.

6. Inaccurate Visitor Data Reports

Inaccurate visitor data reports can be a persistent challenge for eCommerce businesses using Google Analytics, Shopify or other tools. Issues such as fluctuations in visitor count, inconsistencies in real-time data compared to historical reports, and inaccuracies in traffic sources can lead to misleading data and affect decision-making. 

These issues can arise due to a need for more customization, maintenance gaps, website changes, or tracking code problems.

On November 26, 2023, Shopify users experienced issues with inaccurate visitor data reports, affecting some stores’ pageviews, sessions, and visits data starting from November 24th. On November 27, 2023, additional issues were reported, with some reports not loading correctly, presenting inaccurate visitor and conversion statistics, and affecting the live view in admins. These issues highlight the importance of monitoring and addressing discrepancies in eCommerce analytics.


Unlocking E-Commerce Success: Real-Time Solutions in Action

In the evolving eCommerce landscape, relying on old-school analytics and static monitoring is no longer sufficient. Real-time business monitoring powered by AI and machine learning is the key to eliminating blind spots, promptly addressing incidents, and achieving competitive business outcomes.

Don’t wait for things to go wrong; prevent them from happening in the first place. Invest in advanced monitoring solutions to ensure a seamless and reliable customer experience during the holiday season, driving growth and maintaining a competitive edge.

As you do your post-holiday analysis, don’t forget to plan to take your data analytics capabilities to the next level. Request a demo of our analytics platform and discover how Out Of The Blue can transform your 2024 holiday sales strategy.

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