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What marketers should learn from Amazon?s cloud crash

Amazon?s cloud storage service saw a major crash come from its East Coast location, causing 54 of the top 100 online retailers? sites and applications crash, meaning lost revenue and disgruntled consumers. 

Marketers who were affected by Tuesday?s crash should take this opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. With 34 percent of consumers claiming to abandon a digital platform after 10 seconds of load time and Amazon?s crash causing more than 30-second load times, mobile marketers need to think about a multi-cloud strategy.

?For marketers, a degradation in website performance means lost revenue,? Carmen Carey, CEO of Apica. ?It?s as simple as that. Consumers are very sensitive to how web pages perform. 

?34 percent of consumers say they would abandon a website that takes over 10 seconds to load,? she said. ?During the Amazon outage, some of the world?s largest took over 30 seconds to fully load their home pages. 

?It?s critical that marketing and technical teams work together to develop a contingency plan for when a third-party provider goes down. One of the dangers of moving to the cloud is an over reliance on a single cloud vendor. Companies can deploy a multi-cloud strategy to mitigate issues when one or more of their vendors has an outage.?

Marketers and outages
On Feb. 28, app developers and Web site runners who rely on Amazon?s cloud service on the East Coast saw their platforms crashing and excessive load times. While Amazon has yet to release the details of why it crashed, more than 150,000 Web sites were affected, according to similartech. 

"Companies who find themselves in this situation will see a negative impact on customer experience meaning that they will miss the sum total of all interactions with the customer not to mention give the customer a negative view of your company or solution," said Justin Bougher, vice president of product at SiteSpect. "Missed interactions means missed data points that are important in evolving and elevating your customer?s experience. 

"A best practice to mitigate this risk is to test and know your response alternatives ahead of time," he said. "The key is to be prepared and have a response that has a minimal negative impact on customer experience or can convert the negative impact to a positive one.

"Example: a response that is communicated via mobile (text), email, or even direct phone calls. How does the customer want to be contacted in the event of an emergency? Depending on the life time value of the customer, you might want to have different options available from a simple apology to free billing that month as an 'apology' offer."

Issues with crashing
Research from Apica says that of the 100 top retailers, 54 saw a 20 percent or more decrease in performance. This type of lack in performance can be detrimental to a brand and retailer. 

Disney Store saw the worst, with a 1165 percent slow down, Target 991 percent slower and Nike 642 percent slower. 

Marketers like these need to secure plans in place if something like this is to occur again. While moving to a third-party cloud service is beneficial, putting stock in only one cloud can result in issues like this. 



Disney's site performance, courtesy of Apica

"So when your service goes down, even though it might be seen as a back-office/IT function, it boils down to how you respond to an emergency situation," Mr. Bougher said. "Sometimes an apology is not good enough and there is no such thing as over-communicating or communicating too soon in a bad situation.

"How well do you know your customer such that you can provide an offer that takes the 'sting' out of the situation," he said. "You could test different 'apology' promotions to know what resonates as well as what understand what the preferred method of communication.

"The airlines provide a great example in that they know how the customer wants to be notified in the event of a flight delay or cancellation."