Amazon.com suffered a worldwide outage late Sunday evening on July 11. The outage interrupted shopping for more than 38,000 shoppers, and the ecommerce behemoth’s website and mobile app were down or disrupted for nearly two hours, according to outage monitoring service Downdetector.
Downdetector tracks outages by collating status reports from a series of sources, including user-submitted errors on its website.
“Some customers may have temporarily experienced issues while shopping. We have resolved the issue, and everything is now running smoothly,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a written statement. The spokesperson declined to comment on the reason for the outage.
This is the second outage affecting Amazon’s services for a brief period in less than a month. The first occurred on June 24, a couple days after Amazon’s annual Prime Day sales event—held June 21-22. During that outage, more than 6,200 shoppers reported issues shopping on Amazon, according to Downdetector. Amazon did not disclose the cause of this earlier outage either.
Site outages are frustrating for all online retailers. And Amazon’s two recent episodes illustrate that even ecommerce giants with vast resources aren’t immune to them. Site performance issues are also costly. Just a few seconds of downtime can cost merchants both sales and customers.
For example, just a minute of downtime on Amazon.com amounts to $220,318 of lost revenue for the retailer and its marketplace sellers, according to estimates derived from performance vendor Gremlin’s cost of downtime calculator based on public revenue and earnings.
“Enterprise commerce businesses typically rely on a complex microservices architecture, from fulfillment, to website security, ability to scale with holiday traffic, and payment processing—there is a lot that can go wrong and impact revenue, damage customer trust, and consume engineering time,” Gremlin writes on its site. “If an ecommerce site isn’t 100% online and performant, it’s losing revenue.”
31% of retailers said improving site performance was their biggest ecommerce achievement during the 2020 holiday season, according to the 2021 Performance and Retailer Survey of 103 retailers conducted in January/February 2021 by Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights.
But as the 2021 holidays approach, early results from Digital Commerce 360’s 2021 holiday retailer survey conducted in July 2021 show that just 28.1% of retailers are thinking about updating their technology systems. And only 20.3% have invested in performance monitoring of their systems ahead of the holidays.
Every retailer has a different circumstance that leads them to investing in and improving their site’s performance—and sometimes it’s not top-of-mind until their site goes down for the first time. Custom Neon is one retailer that weathered the COVID-19 storm to improve its site’s features and performance, focusing on the speed of its site when it has an influx of customers, such as around the holidays. And grocery retailer H-E-B spent more than a year improving the back end of its curbside pickup services, which really took off when the pandemic hit.
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