The holiday shopping season is the single most important time of year for online retail sellers. In fact, with over 23% of 2016 eCommerce sales made in just two months, starting November 1st and ending December 31st, online brands and merchants can’t afford to get things wrong.
Unfortunately, too many site managers either forgo additional site preparations all together, leave things to the last minute, or fail to leave enough time between major site updates and the start of the year’s busiest season.
And each of these scenarios leads to the same unfortunate outcome, brands not being ready for the increased traffic and load on a site’s infrastructure, site or campaign issues, frustrated shoppers, and lost sales.
So this year, do yourself a favor and get to holiday-proofing your online store yesterday!
Leah Na’aman, VP Marketing at Shoppimon has listed 5 top tips to have your ecommerce site ready for the 2017 holidays:
- Plan and execute
Plan and execute all of your holiday specials and promotions far in advance. That means make sure your campaigns are built, ads created, landing pages optimised, holiday discounts set, analytics integrated, and pricing changes decided upon.
- Test the full funnel.
Why have this all done so long before the holidays begin, you ask? Because you need to be ready to test them like crazy! Make sure to test the full conversion funnel, from promotion through to final sale. Of course, as is the case with every marketing campaign or sales offering you’ll need to optimise in real time once results start to pour in, but make sure to give yourself room to breath and make sure that everything works long before the first holiday shopper hits.
- Test your site
Estimate increases in traffic, and load test your site to make sure it can handle those numbers. Can your eCommerce site handle triple its normal traffic numbers? Or can your backend system support 4x the number of orders placed in any given hour? These are the questions you need to be asking now. Rather than finding out your site can’t handle the stress in the middle of the year’s biggest shopping season, when being unprepared means you’ve had an immediate impact on revenues.
- Prepare to scale up
Be prepared to scale up on the fly if necessary. Even if you’ve been in business for years, it’s not always easy to know what level of traffic to expect on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. So understand what it would take to double your Web and data servers for example. Make sure you’re aware of what that would involve both technically and in terms of cost. Keep in mind of course, that these types of changes will be easiest if you’re using a scalable cloud-based solution. Here, if you already run a micro-service based site you’ll have it easiest of them all, as you will be able to most quickly and cost-effectively scale up and down individual aspects of your site as traffic levels change. But no matter how your site is structured, be prepared to make changes if and when necessary.
- Monitor your CX
Monitor in real-time to know what your customers experience. The worst case scenario for any online brand is having serious sale-blocking site issues reported to them by shoppers. How many customers actually encountered them and sales were lost before someone even took the time to let you know? Use monitoring solutions to make sure you have full visibility and control of the shopping experience in your eCommerce site, and guarantee you find critical issues before actual shoppers encounter them.
With holiday spending in the US expected to hit nearly $917B in 2017, making sure your online store’s performance is up to scratch is an absolute must. Don’t give customers a reason to consider buying from the competition, and provide them with a smooth, friction-free shopping experience this holiday season.
About the Author
Leah dreams of a world without buzzwords, where big data analysis is distilled to simple plain English insight.
As a marketer with nearly a decade of experience in the technology sector, Leah has worked at both global companies and exciting startups. A trained linguist and MBA grad, Leah is VP of Marketing at Shoppimon – a technology company giving top brands the visibility they need into their eCommerce site performance.
By visiting an eCommerce site the same way real shoppers do, Shoppimon behaves like a 24/7 secret shopper to identify any problems that impact a shopper’s experience and their ability to make a purchase.
Built for the world’s top online brands and systems integrators, Shoppimon ensures they know when business critical issues happen, drills straight down to their root cause, and suggests a fix before actual shoppers ever encounter a problem.