You spent a ton of time and money building an amazing digital commerce experience, you launched your site, and at first, things were great. The money and the accolades came pouring in and your brand grew along with it. Then one day, you wake up and the site is crawling, orders are sluggish, and overall, your customers are not nearly as satisfied with the experience as they once were. What happened?
In eCommerce, your business has to be like a shark: constantly moving forward. Embracing new products, new features, and new engagement channels can make or break your business. But, the harsh reality is that over time, with all the added features and the speed-of-light pace at which the commerce landscape changes, we can drift away from the lean-and-mean principles that we use to keep our commerce portal streamlined and performant.
How, you may ask, do we keep this from happening? Well, one way we can maintain a watchful eye on our site’s overall speed and performance is to leverage site performance monitoring tools. With these tools, we can make sure that as time goes on, and as we update our site with new elements, that we don’t compromise our customer experience by slowing down the shopping flow.
Tools like J-Meter and Locust.io can be used to test both static and dynamic resources. Using these, we can generate load tests and measure concurrent requests per second processing on the backend resources, thus simulating heavy and/or targeted load on your servers and/or network.
While other tools use real browsers to access web pages and collect various metrics to evaluate how a site performs, tools like Webpagetest are great for analyzing your website’s speed and performance based on things like time to first byte (often listed as TTFB). It can also measure whether static content is cached appropriately, or if images are compressed for optimal page load, and whether not a CDN is in use and configured effectively.
Sitespeed.io is another great tool that lets you analyze and compare multiple sites, and can even use webhooks to have your CI server break your build if the current deployment is going to exceed your target performance metrics.
While any one of these tools can give us valuable insight into our site’s performance, using a mix of client and server side tools like the ones listed above, we can create a performance monitoring solution tailor made to keep your eCommerce site(s) cruising along and keeping pace with you and your customers’ needs.
Remember … Be the shark, not the food!