The holidays are here and in full effect. Tis’ the season consumers clamour to find perfect gifts for all of their loved ones. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just welcome them all with open arms to your e-store? Perhaps you’ve done the work in preparing your e-commerce to weather the storm of holiday consumers. That’s right, you’ve decked the halls to make your site look festive to attract more shoppers. Before you open your online storefront, there may be some things you’ve missed that can cost you trouble later on in the season. Are you prepared for heavy surges of website traffic?
High surges in traffic, limited or slow shipping options, website downtimes, slow or unresponsive sites are all things that can hurt your holiday revenue potential. All of this can lead to headaches and high level of stress for you and your customers. In addition, it can hurt your reputation and cause you to miss out on great conversions.
We want to help you avoid website hiccups, crashes due to high website traffic surges during the holiday shopping season. So, we’ve curated 6 of the most common mistakes made by e-entrepreneurs and how you can avoid them.
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Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong Hosting Provider and hosting plan
The holiday shopping season has been known to throw even the biggest online retailers into a tailspin of crashes, slow website load times and downtimes.
Therefore it is crucial to have a hosting plan that comes with a robust set of features, space and bandwidth that allows your site to withstand surges in traffic at peak times.
If your e-commerce store began operating on a shared hosting plan perhaps it is time to upgrade to a plan with more power like VPS Hosting to help boost your web page load time speeds, allow for the higher influx of website traffic and to allow for the overall growth you will experience during the holidays.
Apart from upgrading your hosting package, you should also consider carrying out some website maintenance in order to boost your overall performance. Why? Well, large online retailers can still retain customers when they experience website downtime and crashes. However, smaller online retailers that experience the same problems will find that customers will simply take their wallets elsewhere.
Mistake #2: Not setting up Back up Automation
As a website owner, you know having top-notch security is tantamount to your business’ success and the privacy and trust of your customers. But sometimes even with the tightest security measures, your website can be susceptible to the most skilled hackers.
High burst of traffic during the holiday shopping season can knock your site offline at times. However, pay keen attention to this as hackers can also worm through your security measures and attack your website. As website owners scamper to deal with customers, hackers try to get access to credit card databases and confidential user information. If this happens, you need to be prepared. Ensure you have a plan to counter ransomware demands, backdoors and malwares installed on your website.
Sometimes malicious cyber attacks can take your site down for long periods of time. So, if it is infected with malware and viruses sometimes the best way to restore things to order is to roll your site back to an earlier period while you clean up the hacker’s mess. The question is, do you have an automated backup of your website?
If the answer is no, then you are vulnerable to an attack. Remember attacks can be costly in money spent fixing it and costly in revenue lost due to the downtime.
Having a crash plan for your website with automated backup is absolutely imperative during the holiday season. Anything can happen, and during this time even hackers are busy and sniffing around small online businesses ready to pounce.
To avoid this rookie mistake ensure that you equip your website with automated backup and a crash plan. You can automate backups, or if you prefer, do it manually. In the event of a cyber attack, you can easily to recover your site from its latest backup state.
Mistake #3: Security isn’t tight…Enough
Above we mentioned the bevvy of cyber attacks that can be launched against your site by cybercriminals. Every user on your site isn’t necessarily a shopper. Sometimes hackers sniff around to see how weak your defences are before launching an attack.
In fact, a lot of hackers use social engineering tactics in order to gather information before they attack. Not to mention you should be prepared for possible DDOS Attacks or any other cyber-criminal activity.
Review your site and ensure that all of its security protocols are up to date. Check your SSL Certificates, if your site lacks https:// remedy this immediately. As an e-commerce site, you are constantly collecting sensitive and private information from your clients. Therefore keeping tabs on the status of your SSL Certificates is a great idea. Check fror the expiration date and that there are no SSL error messages.
For further best practices for ensuring your site is in tip-top security shape review our site spring cleaning checklist.
Other things to consider is to update your site, especially if you’re using a platform like WordPress. Update your themes, plugins and get rid of any old ones that can be exploited by hackers.
Higher website security ensures that your customer’s data is protected and your website has a higher propensity for staying online while your security detail does the heavy lifting of thwarting attacks.
Mistake #4: No Allowance for Fraud Screening
In 2017 during the holiday online shopping mad dash LexisNexis reported that a shocking 43% of online sales orders were possibly attempted fraud. This happens at such an alarming rate because holiday shoppers want their shopping cart orders approved fast and so things can slip through the cracks and fraudsters take advantage.
To avoid this mistake you should establish a fraud prevention team. Ensure that you have more Customer Service Agents available during high traffic holiday season rush shopping and consider hiring a seasonal analyst. The budget for scaling up your Fraud Screening capacity. Make allowances to mitigate this problem to avoid losses.
Mistake #5: Limited Amount of Customer Service Options
Biz report suggests that online shoppers expect immediate and expedient customer support and service. These customer service channels usually come in the form of Live Chat Support and Bots, Social Media Messaging, and or 24/7 Customer support via telephone.
Having a myriad of responsive customer service channels is imperative to your business success and rapport with your customers. Especially during busy holiday shopping seasons when customers are looking for quick responses and solutions to their questions.
If you only have one communication channel open for customer support this may be hurting your online business especially during the holidays when heavy bursts of website traffic is prominent.
To fix this mistake, open more communication channels for your customer. Utilize your Facebook and other Social Media pages to answer pressing questions. Look into having a live chatbot on your website and hire more customer service agents to help you get through the busy season. The key is you want to be available for when your customers have questions about products, product reviews and descriptions, shipping times and schedules, etc.
Mistake #6: No Contingency Plan for a Surplus of Orders
Every e-commerce store owner wants a surplus in revenue and orders during the shopping season but not everyone has a contingency plan to tackle and fulfil those orders. This can be detrimental to your revenue growth and hurt the reputation of your business with your customers.
What’s more is it can lower return customer ratio and damage rapport. Plan in advance for high order volume or else you will risk not being able to keep up with sales.
To remedy this mistake there are a few things you can do beforehand:
- Anticipate and order extra of your most popular products.
- Order extra packing and labels.
- Ensure you have multiple shipping options for people who want 1-day shipping and rush shipping options.
- Place clear shipping schedules on your site in multiple locations including checkout.
- Hire extra staff to help you fulfil orders in a timely manner.
Ready to Rock this Holiday Sale Season?
With this article, we hoped we’ve helped you navigate and circumvent the common mistakes made during the holiday season. We wish you high surge in traffic that you can withstand and exponential revenue and growth this holiday season!