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When Pound Shop Solutions Go Wrong...

Last nights BBC Pound Shop Wars show that all PR is good long as your website is available that is.

01 Oct 2015

Last night, during the BBC Pound Shop Wars “Battles in Cyberspace” episode, two leading pound world chains documented their entrance into digital commerce with the launching of a new website.

As part of the episode they show the web development team celebrating the launch of the website launch and 40 concurrent users on their analytics just after launch before moving to the next scene of a warehouse worker waiting for orders to come in and be processed. What wasn’t shown was the actual website itself, so like many people, I popped online to see the end result.

It seems that I wasn’t the only one as, rather than seeing the new pound world website, I was met with a holding page explaining that I had to queue for around 5 minutes while others viewed the website. Ironically during the program the team had issues getting the site online during the content population phase blaming server issues as the problem.

In this day and age when this happens thats it, you have lost the consumers interest and are unlikely to have them return again. Microsoft surveys show that the average level of attention in a digital environment is 8 seconds, thats less than that of a goldfish, so there is no way a user is going to wait 5 minutes. Now this customer may not of being buying now but if they can’t see your website now they are very unlikely to return when they are in the mood to buy.

So what can you learn from this situation for your business? Well here are 4 simple steps that could of been taken to reduce the risk of this happening, after all, the company in question went to great lengths to secure a holding page detailing the BBC Show is the cause for high traffic levels.

  1. Plan for the future and invest in a scalable hosting solution, if you expect heavy traffic then the cloud might be better than a dedicated environment. Scalable solutions can accommodate a sudden surge in traffic that might happen.
  2. Don’t compartmentalise your third party suppliers. 9 times out of 10 your web hosting company, web development agency, advertising agency and PR company not only know each other but already work together. These agencies want you to do well, if your business is doing well, they benefit from the positive PR too, so get everyone involved in your yearly marketing plan, you would be surprised how small tweaks can reduce embarrassment and maximise the return on investment.
  3. Work with your hosting and web development agency to plan for potential peaks, pre planned activity can be factored into your solution. Why spend on advertising if you can’t convert customers.
  4. Look at reducing the website digital footprint as much as possible. content delivery networks, compressed assets, Optimised Imagery, serving stylesheets and code libraries from platforms such as Amazon S3 and a well developed website can drastically increase the amount of visitors your website can handle at one time.

Your website is an investment and in the increasingly digital marketplace, the first place a potential customer has engagement with your brand, for those with no traditional shop front on the high street, getting the foundation of your solution right is the key to digital success.

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