YouTube outage is a wakeup call for Magento store owners

If your Magento store is like most other eCcommerce websites, chances are you’re relying on dozens of third-party services – from payment gateways to content personalization widgets. A “service oriented architecture”, as some call it, enables us to quickly build feature-rich websites without spending a fortune on custom development.

But this wonderful fabric of services also holds risk – when one of the components that make up your website breaks, you’re in trouble. The recent YouTube outage serves as a reminder of this danger.

Shoppimon, as a specialized monitor for Magento stores, was quick to report that something is very wrong (see a few screen shots we captured right after the incident took place). Needless to say, not being able to view product videos on an eCommerce site means fewer purchases…

YouTube failures are rare, you might claim, and we won’t argue. After all, Google is well known for its uptime. However, this recent outage should serve as a wakeup call for all online store managers, as problems with third-party components are far more common than you might think.

What can you do about it?

  1. Get the right tools to monitor your websites from an end-user perspective
  2. Ensure you get alerted to problems that affect your website as soon as they occur
  3. Design your website to minimize the impact of third-party services, as much as possible

 

This Shoppimon performance report helps tell the story of the YouTube outage and how it impacted eCommerce sites we monitor:

Shoppimon report showing store slowdown

 

To fully understand how the problem affected user experience, Shoppimon automatically captures screen shots – this one is from the Zend online store:


Screenshot showing YouTube error

eCommerce problems are more common than thought (we have a new infographic to prove it)

Most online store owners we talk to think their websites run just fine. Most of them are dead wrong. Turns out problems are common – from malfunctioning shopping carts to really slow performance. How common? To help answer this question, we decided to share statistics that Shoppimon gathers through simulating shopping on many Magento-based stores. Check out this new infographic.

Stats on problems with Magento-based stores

Shoppimon in 5 minutes

This is a pretty short video that provides a nice walk-through of Shoppimon. If you own a Magento-based online store, these are 5 minutes well spent.

How Shoppimon came about

Over the past several years we have been working for a software company where we generated millions of dollars through an online store. The site was initially based on Digital River and we then migrated to Magento.

At times sales went up and at time they went down, and we kept asking ourselves “why”.

If you run an online store, you probably know this scenario – you walk into the office, log in and note that you had unusually low sales the previous day. Why? Was this a seasonal pattern? Random slowness? Or, maybe a technical problem that drove shoppers away?

Our IT team used all kinds of monitoring tools (some of them quite expensive), yet we usually found that our Magento store was slow or the shopping cart was failing when customers shouted, or when we happened to come across the problem ourselves…

This is when Shoppimon was conceived.

We thought it would be really cool if we could build an online service that would be incredibly easy to use (i.e. you won’t have to go to your IT team or Magento developer for it), and would help us (business store owners) understand if we lose sales because of technical issues.

We also figured that it would be even better if this service could tell us not only how our store is doing, but also how it compares to other Magento stores.

Twelve months later we launched Shoppimon.