Prepare your e-Commerce Website for the Holiday Season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still a few weeks away, but many online retailers are already advertising deals to entice customers. The holiday shopping season is already here, so if you have an e-commerce website, you’ve already taken measures to ensure your site is ready for the onslaught. Right? Well, if you haven’t, don’t despair. There are still things you can do to help cope with this year’s buying frenzy, and you can use your experience with this year’s shoppers to plan for next year.

Don’t make major code changes

The window to make major website changes for the holiday shopping season has effectively closed – there just isn’t enough time left to thoroughly test to ensure the changes will work properly. You want your customers to navigate your site easily, find the terrific bargains you are offering and make purchases. You don’t want your customers to turn to your competitors because of a buggy website, so defer making any major changes to your website to a time when you experience less traffic.

Monitor website performance

Your objectives this holiday shopping season are to make sales and keep your customers happy, so it is crucial to monitor your website’s performance for downtime and slow page loading. Both issues cost you lost revenue in the short run and can cost you permanent loss of customers in the long term. Monitoring gives you prompt notification of problems and allows you to take quick corrective action and minimise their impacts.

Optimise any holiday themes

It’s nice to have memorable graphics on your site for the holidays; however, don’t let them cause user experience (UX) to degrade. Large graphic files can cause pages to load slowly and frustrate your customers, so reduce page load time by compressing them. Remember that many of your customers will use mobile devices for holiday shopping, so it’s crucial to optimise your graphics for these devices.

Display shipping deadlines clearly

Many customers wait until the last minute to make purchases. Unfortunately, they will tend to blame you if their purchases don’t arrive until after the holiday even if it’s their fault. A bad review for alleged late delivery can adversely impact your online reputation and cause you to lose potential customers. Highlight the shipping deadline for guaranteed delivery before the holiday and make that notice more prominent as you get closer to that date.

Analyse current and historical sales data

Use past and current sales data to help you plan for future holiday shopping seasons. Compare data for holiday sales with sales for previous months to see which products are more popular during the holiday season and target your sales promotions towards them. Analyse your traffic sources and see which channels convert better from your marketing efforts. Analyse your traffic patterns to see how effective your marketing efforts are in promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Data analysis will help you make better decisions and improve your bottom line.

Keep in mind a final thought. Don’t just focus on your website’s performance during peak sales times. You need to provide consistent UX for your customers throughout the year, or your customers may not be there for you during the holiday shopping season.

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