With total retail spend on e-commerce sites in the 2018 holiday season amounting to $123.9 billion, as reported by eMarketer, I’m sure you can bet that there will be a large amount spent this year during November and December. Out of that, $7.87 billion comes just from Cyber Monday – marking it as the “heaviest online spending day in history.” With that type of traffic on a single day, you want to make sure your e-commerce site is prepared. The following tips will help you make sure your site is set up to succeed this holiday season.
Make Sure Your Server Can Handle the Traffic
It is important to know if your server can handle a sudden spike in traffic or somewhat consistent high traffic during the holidays. Having enough resources on your server for any traffic you may experience between now and the end of the year will help prevent site crashes or extremely slow load times. If you don’t know, you can contact your web hosting service provider to find out.
Security, Security, Security
Gain the trust of potential customers by making it known that any information they provide in the buying process is secure. This can be done by having the proper security certificates, resulting in the lock icon displaying next to your URL. You can also provide a badge or statement in the footer section of your site or in the check-out portion of your site letting customers know that all payment information is secure, and all payments are processed securely.
A seamless website design creates an easy navigation for your users. The last thing you want is to lose customers because they could not easily navigate through your site to find the product they wanted. Try going through different parts of your site as if you are a new customer and see if you could find everything easily. If the site design requires you to click through many pages to simply get to a product, you should consider making the design more simple to provide quick and easy navigation to all customers.
Responsive Site Design: Mobile-friendly is Important
According to eMarketer, mobile purchases account for 34% of all e-commerce sales. With mobile devices being used this much for shopping and purchasing, it is important that you have a responsive website design. A responsive website is one that can respond, or fit, its content across devices (desktop, tablet, smart phone) without sacrificing the design and ease of use of the site. This is key when you want your customers to stay engaged on your site regardless of the device they access it with.
Optimize Your Pages
If you optimize your website with these simple tips, it can result in faster page load times and more customers staying on your site. In addition to this, faster load times can help you in search results rankings. Caching your pages is one way to increase the speed of your site and enhance the user experience. You might be wondering what exactly does caching do. Caching a page is creating a temporary copy of your web page to help reduce the amount of bandwidth required to load the page. Another way to improve load times is by compressing large files, such as images and videos. This decreases the bandwidth required to load the page as well, resulting in a faster load time.
Analyze and Test
Analyze your site thoroughly to check for any areas that may result in in a bottleneck of customers and to ensure it can handle any spike in traffic. Once you feel that your site is optimized and prepared for the holiday rush, be sure to test your site to make sure there are no slow loads on any pages and that all links and pages are working properly. If your site passes through your tests, it should be prepared for this year’s holiday shopping spree.
Bonus! A Few Tips on Making Sure You Don’t Miss out on Traffic this Holiday Season
Implement a strong keyword strategy to ensure that customers searching for your products or services can find your website and products easily. Utilize Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords that are relevant to your products. Keywords with high competition will be hard to rank for, so it is recommended to look for keywords with a good search volume and mid to low competition. Overall, you want to make sure the ones you use are relevant to your products and your market.
Promotions: Social Media
Utilize social media to drive traffic to your site, especially Facebook. Facebook has consistently ranked at the top for social media platforms that drives sales and traffic to sites. Some social media platforms allow you to sell your product directly through your ads and posts. This can be advantageous because it takes a step out of the process for the customer. When posting, be strategic and target your consumer segment. Create engaging posts that ask followers for their opinions, and, if you have the resources, do a few paid ads to broaden your reach. Be strategic in the content you create – make it festive, use hashtags related to the holiday season and your products, have special offers, post photos of your products being used, and more. Be creative!