Bracing for the Festive Onslaught: E-commerce Tips and Budget Hacks
With holiday season just round the corner, online retailers need to prepare for an influx of traffic. Not only is there Halloween and Thanksgiving coming up, but you’ve to think about Black Friday and Cyber Monday too and then you will, no doubt, start to see festive Christmas orders.
So how can you best prepare for the busiest time of year?
Here at Sumobaby, we’ve put together some tips. We have also added some notes for those of you on a tighter budget.
Optimise your site speed
Slow websites can be extremely frustrating at the best of times and even more so when one of your customers is trying to make a purchase.
Conduct a site audit.
Conducting a thorough site audit will pinpoint the bottlenecks that might be slowing down your website. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix can identify what might be dragging your site speed down, so you can take steps to correct problems before they affect your seasonal orders.
Use a content delivery network.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) store copies of your site on servers around the world, ensuring visitors access your site from the closest server, improving load times.
This is the most essential tool for ensuring your website stays up during the seasonal period. There is a popular free CDN that can help a website owner use modest hosting but deliver at scale.
Prepare for traffic surges.
Ask about scalable hosting.
If you are expecting a significant boost in traffic, ask your hosting provider whether they can scale resources on-the-fly.
Monitor your website’s server.
Use monitoring tools to keep an eye on server health. This will help you react quickly if something goes amiss. Here at Sumobaby, we believe that it is essential to set up uptime monitoring of your website so that you will receive alerts if your website goes down. Sumobaby monitors all clients even if they don’t host with us.
Boost customer support.
Hire temporary staff.
Consider bringing in seasonal support staff to handle increased customer inquiries.
Extend support hours.
Offer extended support hours, especially on the biggest shopping days.
Implement AI-driven chatbots for instant answers to frequently asked questions. There are free online chat tools that can be implemented if you’re prepared to be the AI answering people’s queries.
Optimise for mobile.
Optimise your checkout.
Simplify the checkout process for mobile users. Consider one-click payment options.
Implement responsive design.
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. A significant chunk of holiday shoppers will visit from mobile devices.
Get to grips with inventory and stock.
Review your past data and current trends, and ensure you’ve stocked up on popular sale items.
Utilise real-time inventory updates.
Use systems that update stock levels in real-time to prevent over-selling.
Create attractive deals and discounts.
Go for early bird deals.
You can attract early shoppers with exclusive deals.
Bundle up offers.
Bundling products together is a great way to offer value deals to your shoppers.
Review your checkout.
Test your checkout process.
Regularly testing your checkout process will ensure you find any problems and enable you to ensure customers’ transactions are smooth and easy. Abandoned carts are often a consequence of a cumbersome checkout.
Offer multiple payment options.
Offering multiple payment options will enable you to cater to all customer preferences.
Engage through email marketing.
Send holiday newsletters.
Don’t forget to inform your subscribers about upcoming sales and special offers.
Send tailored product suggestions to your customers, based on their past shopping behaviour.
Plan your marketing campaigns.
Start your PPC and social media campaigns early to build awareness. If you are on a budget, be mindful that larger businesses with higher marketing budgets will dominate a lot of the paid space, so leverage your community as much as possible.
Use retargeting ads to draw back visitors who didn’t convert on their first visit to your site.
Be ready with social media.
Make sure you’ve prepared your social media posts in advance. Create a buzz around Black Friday, share your offers, and inform about sales dates, and update about your sales. In a situation you don’t have a budget for paid advertising, this will play a key role in driving sales.
Backup! Backup! Backup!
Always have a recent backup of your website.
If something goes wrong, you need to be able to restore your site quickly.