Ecommerce business thrives during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the latest Digital Commerce 360 analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data, U.S. online retailers’ sales grew 30.1% in the first 6 month of the year. Comparatively, ecommerce sales during the first half of 2019 grew just 12.7% year over year. Traditionally, the last quarter is the peak season for retailers. Since there is not yet an end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, your ecommerce website matters for your business now more than ever. To maximize your sales in the coming holiday season, below are a few tips to prepare your website.
Review and Test Your Site
Before the holiday season arrives, you should review last year’s statistics and learn from them. Understand why your campaign succeeded or failed last year so that you can make a better plan for it. Traffic surge is expected during the holiday season. To make sure your website can handle that traffic, you should perform a load test to make sure your servers have enough capacity to handle spikes in traffic.
You can also test your website with:
Contact your website host for a high bandwidth hosting plan to handle high traffic if needed. Also monitor your site uptime using tools like Pingdom to avoid crashes.
Optimize Your Site Speed
According to KissMetrics, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Therefore, increasing website speed is crucial to increase your sales and enhance your site user experience. By using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, you can test your site speed and get some actionable advices on optimizing it. Common tactics to improve site speed includes things like optimizing images, clearing the browser cache or enabling compression.
Optimize Your Mobile Experience
More and more customers research products and complete transactions using their mobile. Make sure it is easy to browse your products and make a purchase from your website on phones and tablets. At the very least, ensure your images are responsive and your website design is mobile-friendly, so that your customers can browse your site without pinching, zooming, excessive scrolling or other frustrating behaviours. To identify the mobile UX problems that your shoppers might encounter, you can use Google Search Console’s mobile usability report and follow its advice to enhance your site mobile experience.
Moreover, remember to streamline your checkout process. Keep the purchasing procedure simple. Cut out any unnecessary pages and fields. Provide a guest checkout option for customers who are not willing to create accounts to make purchases. Minimize cart abandon rate as much as possible.
Make Major Changes Now
If you would like to experiment on the new website layout, or migrate to another ecommerce platform, complete it before the holiday season arrives. With the increased traffic and sales during the holiday season, any technical problems, site slowdowns or glitches can cause you tremendous loss of sales. Make those major changes now if you need and test them thoroughly before the holidays are in full swing.
Secure Your Site
To protect your customers’ credit card information and personal data, your website should obtain an SSL certificate. Display various trust badges prominently on your website to give confidence to your customers to make purchases. Invest in anti-DDos protection service to avoid site outages on your high traffic, high transaction days.
Strengthen Customer Support
Increased holiday traffic also means that there will be a lot more customer questions and concerns to deal with. Customers may want to check if the product will arrive in time, or get to know more about a specific product, how to refund and exchange, etc. Putting all those common inquiries on a FAQ page can cut down the numbers of inquiries you receive. Provide live chat if possible because customers want quick responses to their questions.