Performance is a funny word, at least when applied to business. You might say that if your business is up and running, it’s performing.
But that’s not really true. When athletes talk about performance, they’re really talking about optimal performance. And in today’s ultra-competitive environment, businesses are starting to understand this too. Jupiter Research found that a 50 percent degradation in performance resulted in a 25 percent drop in conversions. That’s staggering. A Vividence survey of online shoppers reached pretty much the same conclusion: More than half of those surveyed said that performance and speed (because speed often determines performance) influenced their buying behavior. Here’s another data point from Boston Consulting Group: 29 percent of web users won’t return to a site if it’s not performing sufficiently well, and six percent won’t even go to the affiliated retail store anymore.
Yes, performance is a loaded term. Just because you’ve hung a shingle and opened for business — or a virtual shingle for that matter — doesn’t mean you’re performing as you need to be. Every business is competing for consumer dollars, for mindshare and market share and — just like in competitive sports — the margin between good and great is often razor thin. Nowhere is that competition fiercer than in the world of websites and web apps. You not only have to compete against a finite group of direct competitors, but with a seemingly infinite and ever growing number of sites offering a similar product or service. This requires optimal performance.
I mentioned some of the consequences of getting this wrong. But it’s worth noting, there’s a significant upside that comes with getting it right. When companies identify and respond to loyal customers, they reduce their customer acquisition costs by 27 percent, according to Jupiter Research. A Bain & Company study found that just a five percent increase in customer retention yields an increase in profits between 25 percent and 100 percent. The upside of optimal performance can be staggering too. As a marketing guy, this doesn’t surprise me. I understand that a business’ brand is critical to its bottom line. Your brand is your public image and your reputation. And what is one of the biggest factors influencing your reputation? That’s right: Performance.
Your business, of course, will have to do all sorts of other things in addition to maintaining an optimal performance. But that doesn’t mean performance can be neglected in favor of showcasing your merchandise or offering competitive pricing or anything else. Performance is the foundation for everything else. If you work to ensure optimal performance, you can be a contender. But if you get it wrong, it won’t matter how well you carry out other tasks. You’ve lost the competition before you’ve left the starting block. Low pricing, for example, only works if shoppers can complete their purchases without the site crashing.
The only way to ensure optimal performance is to test, ahead of time, and with real world user behaviors and real world loads. Any other sort of test won’t give you the insight you need. Nouvola understands the value of real world testing with real world loads: It’s the basis for all of our software. We’ve built solutions to mimic these real world scenarios, because performance testing your cloud applications is no longer a nice to have, it’s essential. Think of it as practice for the competitive athlete. It can make the difference between good and great.
Wonder how your efforts are stacking up from a performance perspective? Click the link below and we’d be happy to run a free performance test on any site you like. We believe everyone deserves to know how they are performing and are happy to give everyone a chance to see where they stand.