It’s that time of year again. 2019 has blown by in a whirlwind of e-commerce trends and online shopping. You’ve been busy all year ensuring that your customers new and old have had a quality shopping experience, great products, excellent deals, promotions and sales—great job but now it’s time to reinforce your website for the last hoorah of the shopping season. This is the most profitable time of year for online retailers. In fact, 80% of consumers check online retailers before making a purchase. The key to tapping into this demographic is ensuring your online store is primed and ready for holiday shopping.
Table of Contents
If we examine last year’s estimates online shoppers in the UK spent a reported £7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday; which saw an increase from £4.5 billion in 2017. The statistics also showed that men spend more online than women, at £234 compared with £206. Our guess is that electronic sales with men come with higher price tags than women’s clothing and accessories.
Either way, the stats don’t lie. Online shopping is the preferred method for most consumers during the holiday seasons. In order for you to keep up with the competition you have to make sure your website is fully optimised, security is tight, your shipping is sorted and your point of sale systems have been updated. You need to get ready for the influx of traffic to your site. It’s not too late to prepare. Read this article for the best ways to prepare for high web site traffic.
Important dates to remember as you make the preparations for the busiest season of the year:
- Black Friday (29th November)
- Cyber Monday (2nd December)
- Small Business Saturday (7th December)
- Last day for one-day delivery (23rd December)
- Boxing Day (26th December)
Panicked? No need. We’ve got you covered. Just follow our quick guide to boost your website so you’re ready to handle this shopping season like a pro.
3 Things You Need to Do Now to Prepare Your Website for the Holiday Season
1. Integrate your eCommerce and Point of Sale
Time to get into some software integration. If your eCommerce site is an extension of your brick and mortar business then you need to ensure that your online store is fully integrated with your point of sale. On the other hand, you may be a small business with a storefront looking to branch into eCommerce to broaden your brand’s reach. Or, perhaps you are looking to change your existing eCommerce platform to something more robust and user-friendly. Figuring out how to leverage these tools to increase your bottom line during the holiday season can be difficult and time-consuming.
Preparing your eCommerce store for the holiday season is crucial to having a jolly bottom line, but, for many retailers the online store is only a fraction of the preparations. If you are a business owner with a storefront in addition to your online store then you will want to sync your point of sale with your eCommerce store.
To do this effectively, consider an omnichannel. An omnichannel approaches sales and marketing holistically with seamless integration that provides customers with a user-friendly shopping experience. It unites the brick and mortar business to mobile browsing combining your point of sale for easy digital reach.
Using an omnichannel like eHopper, you’re able to prepare all aspects of your business for holiday shopping. It integrates inventory, customer information, reporting and employee management and it syncs with your in-store point of sale system. With eHopper, additionally, you get SEO for your website, email marketing integration, stock controls, and loyalty programs for customers. It’s the perfect omnichannel to boost your preparation for the holiday season.
Continue reading with this guide for increasing your website traffic and conversion rate.
2. Analyse Site Traffic, Performance and Security
Nothing can directly impact your online holiday sales more than poor site performance. The reality:
47% of potential customers expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.
40% of end-users leave a website that takes over 3 seconds to load.
A 1-second delay in page response can lead to as much as a 7% loss in conversions— that adds up.
For example, if your online store is making $100,000 per day, just a little ole 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales each year.
Use free tools to scan your website page for load speed and then boost your speed by optimising your website.
Scanning your website with a free or premium web performance tool can quickly show you what areas of your site to focus on improving. There are lots of things to consider, so these metrics given can help you see where improvements can be made.
Perhaps you need to optimise your image metadata, update your theme or template, remove outdated plug-ins or start cleaning up your database. You can use this page speed and SEO software to check your site’s speed. The free option provides a detailed analysis and the premium option provides both weekly reports and instructions on how to improve your site’s speed.
An increase in sales inevitably means a heavy increase in site traffic.
Preparing for the surge in traffic during the holidays, means you need to ensure your site can handle it without crashing. Consider a stress test. Try out services like Locust. They can flood your website with millions of simultaneous users. This provides a great glimpse into how your server performs.
Hopefully, your server is up to the task. However, if your server cracks under pressure, you should talk to your hosting company about increasing your bandwidth or possibly upgrading your hosting package to VPS hosting or a similarly robust system.
Track your biggest traffic days? Which landing pages drive the most conversions? It’s vital to arm yourself with this data with the aim of optimising your holiday online sales. These metrics can show you which day, times or social platforms to invest your advertising dollars during the holiday shopping season.
Once you’ve reviewed your site metrics, you can leverage this information to drive users to specific pages, products or sales on your website. You can also tailor products to certain demographics.
For example, if you uncover that Monday mornings bring a spike in traffic to your online store, then you can place banner ads on your site promoting a discount on Mondays to drive sales. Following, combine this strategy with an email blast to your customers ahead of Monday morning, advertising a “one day only flash sale” to take advantage.
Go even further by supplementing this support with social media, joining all of your digital channels to push customers to a landing page or webpage of your choice. An omnichannel retail strategy is one that combines all aspects of e-commerce and digital marketing.
3. Holiday Categories
For your online store, it’s significant and worth the time to create holiday-focused category pages on your website because ‘tis the season. This creates a suitable holiday spirit on your website and keeps things festive, and will enhance user experience. You want your customers in the holiday mood to shop. An added bonus is that this makes it easier for customers to find your specific discounts, deals and gift packages. For example, US retailer Macy’s optimises their online store with holiday categories and call-to-actions on their homepage.
Here are some examples of high performing holiday categories:
- Black Friday Sale
- Cyber Monday Deals
- Christmas offers
- Perfect Gifts for men
- Perfect Gifts for Mom
This is part 1 of preparing your e-commerce store for holiday shopping. These steps are crucial as the holidays always proves to be the biggest and most important year for retailers. In part two we will discuss, email marketing strategies, inventory management and shipping, and internet security to keep your website safe from hackers and other cybercriminals.
Come back for more holiday ecommerce and web hosting tips.