Black Friday: high expectations and the 5 second rule


F5 Networks has released research to highlight the increasingly high expectations surrounding online and mobile availability following Black Friday, and the consequences for those who don‘t surpass.

There is no denying the impact Black Friday had on the retail world in November 2014, the fact that its reverberations are still being talked about now is a pretty good indication. Yet with a massive 82% claiming that a fast website or app is important for them when engaging with a brand, the pressure for retailers to get their online services excelling is crucial.

As a fifth of consumers (that‘s 22%) claimed they would switch to an alternative brand if the website wasn‘t running within just 5 seconds, the retail phenomenon provided a clear signal that consumers expect immediate access to products; something that many retailers were unprepared for.

With the biggest surge in online traffic of the year that saw online sales reaching 130% higher than 2013 at midnight, many big brand names, including John Lewis, Argos, Currys and Tesco fell victim to an influx of customers. The internet traffic of Black Friday caused gridlock between retailer and consumer, with some sites taking up to an hour to respond.

This research equally revealed that nearly a quarter of shoppers (24%) would report any negative experiences to others, jeopardising both the customer‘s future loyalty and the brand‘s reputation. Consequently, a third of consumers reported that slow website speeds, irrelevant content and concerns of security would negatively effect their brand perception. 31% of respondents claimed they would fail to complete an online purchase if the experience was poor.

As ecommerce becomes such a defining element to the overall perception of a brand, service and response online is now critical in ensuring customer relations and an upper hand on competitors.

Gary Newe, Director of Field Systems Engineering at F5 Networks said:

“Understanding how, why, when and where consumers are interacting with brands and each other is now a crucial component for any customer facing business, whether it‘s simply delivering an online experience or application in a fast and sleek manner.”

Whether it‘s a fault in our fast-paced, digital world, or simply an uncontrollable advancement of ecommerce, consumers are no longer willing to wait for the right service. Black Friday has provided a valuable lesson for retailers, to ensure that their online availability is as fast and efficient as consumer‘s now expect, otherwise they‘ll be lost in the flood.


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