5 Tips to Avoid a Health Crisis on Your E-Commerce Site
The now notorious Healthcare.gov marketplace website seems to have returned consumers to the 1990s, a period when trying to buy anything online was frequently challenging and frustrating. In its early days, e-commerce struggled because the internet originally had been developed for transmitting information, not conducting secure and easy transactions. As technology advanced, however, and retailers gained a better understanding of how consumers wanted to interact on the web, companies modified their e-commerce sites and thrived online.
Clearly, developers of the healthcare marketplace didn't have a full understanding of the way consumers would react to the launch of the site. In its first day of operations, for example, 2.8 million people tried to register on the site, and whether the result of overwhelming volumes or simply faulty coding, Healthcare.gov essentially crashed. Weeks later, most visitors still were unable to enter the site to shop for healthcare insurance.
These same types of pressures led to the demise of many e-commerce sites in the early days of online shopping. For example, a company would promote special products and prices for the holiday season and then discover that it was unable to fulfill the high volume of orders that ensued. Angry consumers went elsewhere and those online companies failed. Even some well-known global brands has issues like this in their first forays into e-commerce, which they've corrected over time. On the other hand, retailers flourished when they designed their sites in ways that appealed to the shopper's needs and were capable of reliably conducting transactions and shipping or downloading purchases.
What could Healthcare.gov — or your own e-commerce team — do to improve performance and attract eager consumers? Consider starting with the following approaches that can help your site both create and meet demand:
1. Load test your website. Before introducing or expanding your e-commerce site, test it by simulating a big surge in volume that stresses your technology. You'll discover any significant problems in these pre-launch simulations, giving you the opportunity to address them before consumers visit the site.
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