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Is Your Site Ready for the Holiday Rush?

If you catch your relatives glancing at their phones this Thanksgiving, it’s a good chance they’re bookmarking some juicy Black Friday deals.

Consumer confidence is flying high in 2017, and experts predict it will lead to a significant bump in Holiday spending. Current forecast suggest a 4 percent increase in retail Holiday spending this year, which is a slightly higher gain than in 2016.

Ecommerce businesses and other retailers should therefore get geared up for a better-than-usual Holiday spending season, starting with Black Friday. Here are some of the strategies you can use to prepare for the Holiday rush.

Torture Test Your Website

A deluge of Black Friday success could just as quickly turn into a disaster. Many unsuspecting site owners get hammered with traffic on big Holiday sales days, and the flood can easily topple their systems.

Preparing for a traffic surge requires submitting your website to performance tests. You can simulate traffic using load test tools from companies like Blazemeter or Neustar. Run multiple scenarios in an attempt to “break” critical services, including content hosting, checkout, proxy requests, and secure encryption.

Take an especially close look at site-critical third-party services like payment portals and security services. If you’re nervous about them, ask your services providers about their plans for an increase in traffic volume for the Holidays.

Ensure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly

Be sure to test your site appearance and usability on mobile! Mobile ecommerce is growing, and an increasing amount of purchases now happen on smartphones and especially tablets.

Checking the mobile friendliness of your site and making the shopping journey appealing on all devices can help you reap huge returns these holidays.

Halt All New Feature Rollouts, Site Updates and Major Changes

Late November is certainly not the time to be testing new features or changing your site around.

Ideally, you will have been live-testing any recent changes made over the past several weeks. You want to know for a fact that site components load predictably and securely. You also want to have time to test UX for things like page navigation, checkout systems, and landing page referrals.

Press “pause” on anything that has not been submitted yet. Fix anything that’s broken, but implementing new changes now could have your site developers chasing bugs and creating piecemeal workarounds until well after Christmas.

Prepare Your Labor Pools for a Bump in Work

Whether you use your own order processing and fulfillment or you outsource it, you want flexible staffing in anticipation of a huge sales jump starting the week of Black Friday. This period can be a cash cow to companies, but only if they can scale capacity to meet higher demand.

Similarly, you may need to significantly upgrade your customer service capacity all the way through mid-January to handle the volume of customer service inquiries and returns.

Seasonal workers often work eagerly for an above-average paycheck or performance-based incentives. So consider digging a little deeper into your labor budget to meet customer needs, as opposed to praying to the commerce gods that you can keep up with demand.

Review All Customer Pathways, and Strive for Consistency Across Channels

Your 2017 Holiday ecommerce strategy likely hinges on many different channels: PPC, social media referrals, email marketing, and lots more. All of these elements should have consistent messaging and strive towards a natural, fluid customer journey.

Elements to check include:

  • Consistent pricing and promotions across all ads, marketing materials and ecommerce platforms
  • An agreed-upon strategy for which messages and promotions to prioritize (these can be segmented by channel or audience persona)
  • All referral links work as intended
  • All landing pages feel consistent with the messaging/imagery in their referring link and have been optimized towards conversions
  • You have social share buttons for people to share deals or broadcast their purchases
  • Customers can glean a consistent brand personality or value message across all marketing assets

Test Your Load Capacity and Streamline Your Messaging With the Help of an Atlanta Digital Marketing Company

If you’re nervous about your ability to handle Holiday sales volume or whether your messaging converts, EverSpark Interactive is here for you! We can provide end-to-end auditing, consulting, development and management of any or all of your marketing channels.

Contact us today to learn more about our paid search marketing and ecommerce development services.