How to Get Your E-Commerce Site Ready for the Holiday Rush

The 2020 holiday season is shaping up to be like none we’ve ever seen, with 60% of consumers planning to do their holiday shopping online. Can your website handle a surge in traffic and online orders?

The fact is that website performance issues lead to lost sales. It’s not just your site crashing that you need to worry about—if your site is slow, customers won’t wait around to make a purchase. Consider the following statistics:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversion. For an e-commerce site making $100,000 in sales per day, this translates to $2.5 million in lost revenue for the year.

The good news is that you can take steps right now to prep your site for the holiday rush.

Optimize your website

Think of your site like a runner training for a marathon: if it’s going to make it to the finish line, it needs to be in top shape. There are two main things you should do to prepare your website for the holiday shopping season:

1) Evaluate your site and fix problem areas

Set aside some time to comb through your entire website and assess the user experience. Do pages load quickly? Are there any bugs or 404 errors? What aspects of your site might frustrate shoppers? Have a look at how your high-traffic pages—such as the home page, product details, cart, and checkout—are performing compared to your benchmarks. Once you’ve identified your site’s weaknesses, fix them as soon as possible—and be sure to test the fixes, too. It’s a good idea to run performance tests on a regular basis.

2) Use cloud services to auto-scale your site

You don’t need to overhaul your site’s infrastructure to meet the increased demands of the holidays. Save time and money by taking advantage of the latest cloud services, which automatically scale your site to meet customer demand as needed. Gone are the days of trying to predict how much of a spike in traffic you’ll see during the holiday period and overspending on new infrastructure “just in case.”

Improve the mobile experience

Mobile-friendly sites not only rank highly in Google search results, but they also cater to the shopping habits of most consumers: already, 65% of all e-commerce traffic comes from mobile devices. However, only 53% of online sales are made via mobile. This discrepancy can be explained by the fact that some retailers continue to prioritize desktop design and fail to optimize their site for mobile devices, resulting in a frustrating experience for mobile shoppers. Don’t make this mistake!

Here are two things to keep in mind when designing your mobile storefront:

1) Make the payment process easy

Mobile shoppers have to tap through an average of three pages during checkout before reaching the order confirmation page. If you’ve ever spent time filling out dozens of form fields on your smartphone, you understand how tedious this is. Your site’s mobile payment process needs to be simple, intuitive, and trustworthy—and just like on a desktop, pages need to load quickly. An omnichannel e-commerce platform will help you with this, ensuring fast page loading, a customizable mobile storefront, and responsive site design that adapts to the size of the user’s device.

2) Help shoppers find products quickly

If customers can’t quickly find what they’re looking for on your site, chances are they won’t stick around to keep searching. Consider implementing an omnichannel mobile storefront to make sure your mobile product search function has an intuitive interface and takes no more than a few taps to complete.

Make your store inventory more accessible

Your online store should offer customers a range of options when it comes to receiving their order. The National Retail Federation reports that this year, 91% of holiday shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping, 44% plan to buy online and pick up in-store, and 16% plan to use same-day delivery. With an omnichannel order fulfillment platform, you can offer customers faster home delivery and either in-store or curbside pickup.

An omnichannel platform is not only convenient for your customers, but also great for your bottom line: it reduces the time and cost of fulfilling online orders and can help boost sales by making your entire inventory available for purchase from any location.

Now is the time to get your website ready for the holiday rush. Address any problem areas, implement cloud services for scalability, and use an omnichannel platform to ensure an optimal mobile experience and efficient order fulfillment. Your online store will be in top shape to handle a surge in traffic and sales, all while offering your customers a smooth shopping experience.

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