4 Reasons Florists To Set Up Website Monitoring Before Valentine's Day
With Valentine's Day just a few weeks away it is a good time for florists to review the need for a website monitoring service. These services monitor the availability and performance of your website by automatically performing a variety of scheduled tests or “checks”. The best plan is to use a variety of checks that look for different issues (speed and availability of different pages, etc.). These should be performed frequently – as often as every minute.
If your flower shop website goes offline, or performance degrades, you will receive notification by one or more of the following, according to the service you use and your preferences: email, SMS text message, app.
Why is it more vital at Valentine's Day than ever? Four main reasons:
More Volume, More Problems
Websites are run on servers. More people visiting a website means more load on the server. Eventually that extra volume can cause the server to slow down (bad) possibly to the point of returning timeout errors to your customer (worse) and eventually going offline (worst).
The problem is compounded by the fact that the server that hosts your floral website probably (depending on your website provider) hosts other online flower shop websites, and they will all be experiencing peak traffic at the same time. That extra volume can quickly lead to problems during big floral holidays like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day.
You Are Least Likely To Notice
Most florists who don’t use a monitoring service assume that they’ll just be aware of any problems because they visit their own site once or twice a day. That kind of casual check and frequency doesn’t compare to a monitoring service that is running a full suite of detailed tests every minute but it’s better than nothin.
The problem is that at Valentine's Day you are likely so busy that you aren’t even doing that kind of infrequent/informal testing. At the time when you are most likely to have problems you are least likely to be aware of them.
Your Customers Are Most Likely To Notice
As for your customers… that is a different story. This is when more customers than ever are visiting your online flower store, and any problems (slow performance, offline, etc.) are going to be exposed to more people.
In fact there are probably many customers who only use your website on Valentine's Day and/or Mother's Day. What they experience on those days, likely the worst possible performance from your site (simply because of the volume), comprises their entire experience with your site. If your site is slow during the holidays they will see it as always being slow. If it is offline during the holidays they will assume it never works. And that is bad – your competitors are just a click away and people are not patient.
The Stakes Are Higher
Valentines Day…. more customers and larger orders. If your site goes down for a few hours on a Tuesday in August you might lose a couple of orders for $X. If your site goes down for a few hours on February 13 you are likely to lose many larger orders.
As you can see it is a perfect storm, problems are most likely when you are least likely to be aware of them but most likely to upset the most customers and lose significant sales.
What do you do if the monitoring service does report a problem?
- Contact your website provider, and give them as much information as possible. They need to be aware of the problem and the more information you can give them the better – it will help them diagnose and resolve.
- If you see the website getting slower and slower you might want to redirect online shoppers to call you with a message on your home page. Rather than asking them to suffer through the slow loading of all the pages required to complete their order (a process they are very likely to abandon) simply suggest that they call the store for up-to-the-minute availability.
- Make a note to talk to your floral website vendor after Valentine's Day. The sad reality is that you might go down and not be able to do anything about it right away, but you’ll want to find out what happened and how it can be prevented in the future.