The period running up to Christmas is shopping spree time for both offline and online stores. It presents e-commerce with many challenges: launching seasonal product ranges, ensuring proper stock levels, designing the most effective promos and campaigns, and getting staff ready for traffic that’s usually double the normal rate.
And that’s not even counting the online Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy, which often continues into the after-Christmas sales. However, for online retailers who have implemented Progressive Web Apps, the Christmas shopping rush is easier to handle. Why? Let’s find out.
The Christmas rush starts in November
According to a Deloitte Digital survey, we begin buying Christmas gifts on the 1st of November (!). The peak time (58%) is usually from December 1 to 24; this is the hottest period for e-commerce, keeping online services busy and their employees on their toes.
We use the Internet for more than just shopping; we also use it to find inspiration and information about Christmas celebrations and gifts. All of this generates additional web traffic, which is another reason why e-commerce businesses should brace up for these spikes in site usage.
Otherwise, they risk exceeding their infrastructure (i.e. however they’re hosting their site), which will result in a service slowdown (at best) or total malfunction (at worst). The consequences here are fairly easy to predict and can range from waves of negative reviews to a massive financial loss.
of delay in the portal's response can cause a
7% slump in conversion rate.
if your e-store earns 10 thousand EUR daily, a one-second delay in website loading time may translate into a quarter-million euro loss in annual sales opportunities.
An effective way to address these issues is opening your business in headless mode, i.e. separating the most critical and resource-intensive operations from the user interface level. This increases site efficiency. Today we can architect sites in such a way that most of the business processes happen away from where the customers interact with the site; this approach provides a continuously-improving user experience. The most advanced variant of this method is the PWA (Progressive Web Application) standard, which was formulated and widely promoted by Google.
How a PWA helps manage e-commerce traffic
How can a PWA save the day when it comes to Christmas traffic and generally increased online activity? The PWA approach assumes extremely high standards of performance (speed and responsiveness) and uses state-of-the-art methodologies, such as service worker or hybrid caching strategies. Thanks to this, PWAs can move a large portion of the traffic burden to recipients’ Internet browsers. Then only the most central and critical processes are transferred to the server, which is usually not very responsive under pressure. These processes may be:
- Retrieving products and categories
- Managing the order, cart, or wishlist
- Validating (reviewing the accuracy of) critical data
- Authorizing payment and promotion information
- Entering or updating user data
The remaining operations can easily be handled by the retail site, which, when combined with well-thought-out caching strategies (e.g. how we store non-essential data), can significantly decongest the server infrastructure.