How Did Amazon Fair On Prime Day?

Here at Alertra we often discuss the fact that if your business is going to hold a major sale, your website better be ready to handle the traffic. Amazon’s recent Prime Day, which was held earlier this week, is a perfect example of how your site can frustrate customers, even if it doesn’t go down for the count in the middle of the sale.

What Was Prime Day?

For one day only on July 15th, Amazon.com held what they called “Prime Day”, which the company touted to be “bigger than Black Friday” in terms of deals and savings. We all know the havoc that Black Friday and Cyber Monday can wreak on online businesses, so how did Amazon’s site hold up to the demand that Prime Day resulted in? Exactly how well did the company manage the sale? Let’s just say not all Amazon customers were thrilled with what they experienced during this once-in-a-lifetime sales event.

How the Sale Was Held

First we must look at how the sale was held. Most of the items on sale were limited in quantity and were only offered at a discount at certain times throughout the day. While normally this wouldn’t be a problem, when a site isn’t performing as it should due to an influx of traffic, frustration begins to build in customers. So what did customers experience on Prime Day? Oftentimes the deals they wanted to get in on were gone, even though the site showed that the deal was still available. Some glitch in the site, which Amazon wouldn’t comment on, would cause the site to show that items were still available, but when customers tried to add the items to their carts the items were put into the “saved for later” section of the checkout page, showing the items weren’t actually available as the site indicated. An Alertra member tested the issue on three items and, sure enough, when the site itself was showing 2 to 6 percent of the stock was still available, we were unable to continue with a purchase as those items were added to the “saved for later” section of the shopping cart with a note saying the item was no longer available. To add insult to injury, when we went back to the item in question, the site would still show the item as available, even though a purchase was not made possible.

Making Sure Your Site Isn’t Just Up, But That It’s Actually Performing

Amazon has had more than its fair share of performance and downtime issues in the past, but customers were waiting with baited breath, hoping that wouldn’t be the issue on the highly-anticipated Prime Day. Unfortunately, it seems even on the site’s biggest sale day of the year, the bugs still had to be worked out. What can we learn from this? If you are going to hold a major event on your site, make sure that your site’s hardware and software are up to the task. The last thing you want is frustrated customers who can’t take advantage of the deal you are offering. While uptime is definitely important and you want to avoid website downtime at all costs, this recent spectacle has shown us that performance issues can be just as detrimental to a site’s reputation. What does this mean to you? A website monitoring service that merely monitors for downtime likely isn’t enough to protect your site’s profits and reputation. You also need to pay attention to performance issues that could affect the end-user’s experience with your website.