How to Keep Your eCommerce Website Operations Running Smoothly When Holiday Traffic Spikes
By Mario Peshev, CEO, DevriX
Mario Peshev is the CEO of DevriX, a global WordPress agency serving industries from publishing to fintech, healthcare, ecommerce and more. Peshev focuses the majority of his time on running his business and leading distributed tech teams at DevriX of 50+ people crafting high-scale WordPress solutions optimized for revenue. He is a Core contributor to the WordPress project, an Inbound Certified marketer, and a multi-disciplined business owner with a wide scope of skills. Follow him on Twitter @no_fear_inc and connect on LinkedIn.
This holiday season, consumers will likely spend more than $210 billion online, reflecting eCommerce's lasting appeal and power. Collectively, shoppers are expected to increase spending by seven percent year-over-year, creating an urgent opportunity for retailers looking to boost profitability amidst rising inflation and other headwinds.
This year, the holiday shopping season is starting earlier than ever. In October, top retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Walmart, announced specific events with discounts and special deals. Smaller retailers are quickly following their lead.
In a competitive business environment with just two months left to impact Q4 results, maximizing the holiday shopping experience requires retailers to enhance the user experience and optimize conversion rates—all while discovering creative ways to attract repeat customers in the year ahead.
Here are three ways brands and online retailers can achieve those important outcomes by keeping their eCommerce website operations running smoothly when holiday traffic spikes.
1. Offer Attractive Deals
Attractive deals are a prerequisite for attracting online shoppers this year.
According to one industry survey, 60 percent of shoppers say that economic challenges will prompt them to spend less this year.
Undoubtedly, a cooling economy, rising inflation, and other factors push buyers to look for deals and discounts early and often. That’s why 77 percent of consumers have started their shopping season early, allowing plenty of time to find the right deals.
At the same time, nearly half of buyers say that an item's cost will be the primary factor when making a buying decision.
Brands on eCommerce platforms should incorporate attractive deals at every point of the customer journey, including through social media posts, paid advertisements, and prominent copy used for research purposes.
2. Optimize For Mobile
eCommerce sales are overwhelmingly mobile-based. Therefore, optimize your content for the mobile experience. While this includes aesthetic elements, like responsive design, it also includes how customers interact with the app, website, or social media content.
For example, evaluate how paid promotions are rendered within the Facebook or Instagram browser. These embedded browsers are slightly different, requiring teams to conduct a customer experience audit to confirm that users can quickly and easily make a purchase online.
In addition, set up carousel widgets across your top content that reflect your best deals and most compelling items. This feature can significantly increase conversion rates, capitalizing on mobile-optimized content to drive sales outcomes.
Suboptimal experience during the holidays often means that customers won’t return to your platform throughout the year, making it more difficult to compete in an increasingly crowded eCommerce landscape.
3. Ensure Cyber Readiness
Online retailers collect people’s most sensitive personal and financial information. As a result, cyber threats are an omnipresent concern for brands and online retailers.
A recent survey of shoppers found that 59 percent of respondents indicated they would stop shopping at an online retailer if it experienced a cybersecurity incident or data breach, and they would encourage their friends to do the same.
With everything from brute-force attacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and phishing scams and ransomware attacks putting retailers at risk, it’s important to invest in the services and company-wide protocols that protect company assets and customer data.
Ensure that your web development vendor or in-house team is well acquainted with cybersecurity best practices and emerging threat trends.
Cyber attacks surge during the holiday shopping season as threat actors look to capitalize on the busy season to exploit vulnerabilities, so brands and eCommerce platforms can’t wait any longer to double-down on cybersecurity.
Why It Matters
eCommerce sales will surpass $1 trillion this year, meaning holiday shopping is just a gateway to continued opportunities throughout the year. When brands offer attractive deals that are showcased on an easy-to-use, mobile-first, secure platform, they are well positioned to convert visitors to customers and drive revenue growth this holiday shopping season.
Online shopping is poised to become even more popular in the years to come. However, a suboptimal experience during the holidays often means that customers won’t return to your platform throughout the year, making it more difficult to compete in an increasingly crowded eCommerce landscape.
These best practices can help brands and eCommerce businesses delight their customers this year, laying the foundation for successful customer engagement for years to come.