For online retail companies, downtime is the worst-case scenario. Downtime or traffic slowdowns lead to a number of negative effects:
With the always-on nature of e-commerce in a world changed by a pandemic, retailers of all kinds have shifted toward e-commerce-first. The brick-and-mortar, physical experience was already on the decline, but has been accelerated by Covid-19. Buying online has become a daily habit, and while that’s shifted how retailers position themselves, how they market to consumers, and how supply chains and shipping operate, it’s also afforded some opportunities for streamlining and improvements to user experience.
Online retailers have lived and died by the pre-Black Friday/holiday season code freeze almost since the dawn of e-commerce. The Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping weekend is the biggest revenue-generating, high-traffic time of the year in US markets, and a growing staple of other global markets. No retailer can afford for their site to slow down or go down in the most make-or-break of moments.
In 2021, as the Covid pandemic that pushed e-commerce into the dominant way of shopping, it became clear that existing challenges to e-commerce persist: site availability and speed. The new levels of demand placed on e-commerce platforms and websites challenged their resilience, taxed the patience of consumers, and ultimately changed the way e-commerce companies think about the technology they rely on to power always-on shopping for the nonstop, 24/7 nature of online retail post-Covid.