It’s that time again! Time to prep your e-commerce website for holiday traffic. Businesses can expect 120% more website visits on the busiest days of the holiday season. This means customer service, site speed, e-commerce reliability, and security should all be part of your prepping strategy.
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Before the season arrives, you’ll want to review your site. The first thing to review is how your sales did last year. Look for common demographics and time zones. See what your most popular shopping times were, and build a plan for it.
Next, you’ll want to review your site for out-of-date or unnecessary extensions or plugins. Plugins can seriously drag your site speed down and interfere with sales transactions.
Finally, review your hosting package to make sure it can handle the spikes in traffic you’ll experience through the holiday season. You don’t want server errors, slow load times, and web crashes during your busiest times.
Test your site under load. Use a staging site to create your holiday sales pages, design, etc. That way, you can push your changes all at once after testing it thoroughly.
Know what your e-commerce needs will be. Do you offer free shipping during the holidays? What incentives will you use? Preplan these pages and the design so your customers can have a wonderful sales experience.
Be ready for trouble! If your site goes down, what is your strategy? What will you do if you have problems with your shopping cart?
You’ll want to have a backup plan prior to launching your site, and perform regular backups throughout the holiday season. In some cases, you may need to take backups hourly so you don’t lose an entire day’s worth of orders.
Optimize for Speed
Did you know that at least 53% of mobile site visitors will move to another site if it takes three seconds or longer to load? When you consider the strain on already stressed systems and networks, not to mention frayed nerves of shoppers, it’s essential to have efficient loading time on your site. Your server also needs to hold its weight when the season traffic spikes hit.
We mentioned extensions and plugins earlier, but did you know that large site images and animations are the most common reasons for slower site speeds? The images on your site shouldn’t be any larger than 150kb per image at a maximum. Check with your developer, if you have one, to learn about your image optimization options.
Optimize for Sales
Believe it or not, customer service assistance is a huge part of your sales optimization. How will your customers find the answers to their questions? You can have a customer service chat, a contact form (not recommended as the primary customer service entry), YouTube videos that explain frequently asked questions, and more.
Optimize for Mobile
We can’t stress enough how important it is for your site to be optimized for your mobile audience. Check your site to make sure it’s mobile responsive. Speed tests will be imperative here, as well.
Ensure Your Site is Secure
Your customers are entrusting you with their money, credit card information, and personal data. They have to trust you, so you have to make sure your site is secure from hackers and verified for credit card use.
Prepping your e-commerce website for holiday traffic can seem daunting, at first. But if you take the time to plan it out and do it right, you’ll see great results!