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Ecommerce Holiday Prep Advice

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek closeup of a person using a laptop and hand holding a credit card

For ecommerce sites, the holidays are big generators of revenue. This is normally when your website receives the most traffic, processes the most orders, and generates the highest revenue of the year. Your business may also receive a flood of customer support emails, forms, and calls. It’s also when small problems can have the biggest impact. The best thing you can do to get through the holidays successfully is to prepare your site as much as possible beforehand. There is a lot of ground to cover and it can be hard to know where to start. Begin the process with this ecommerce holiday prep advice:

1. Check Your Hosting

Check that your hosting provider has allotted your website plenty of server space. It may also be a good idea to see if your website host has an option that allows you to scale servers up or down automatically as needed. This will help you avoid any downtime in case a traffic surge occurs.

If you’re receiving more traffic to your website than you expected, you want to make sure you’re prepared for it – the last thing you want is for your website to go down or slow down when you have a lot of potential customers visiting it!

2. Start Making Improvements Early

When it comes to holiday preparation for your website, make sure you test everything. Also, don’t just focus on testing things to find what is broken – focus on how you can make things work better as well. If you start testing early enough, say in Q2 or Q3 before the holidays get too close, you have the opportunity to make more improvements. You also have the opportunity to implement SEO best practices and have them start benefiting you in time for the holiday rush.

With enough time, you can test various parts of your checkout process to streamline it and ensure it’s encouraging conversions and reducing cart abandonment rates. The holidays might be your biggest revenue generator – make sure your checkout process runs smoothly so you don’t miss out. A few small improvements that also help improve your conversion rate could be the difference between exceeding projected revenue goals or falling short.

3. Fix Issues and Update

Thoroughly test your site, crawl for errors, and fix any issues you find. If your website is loading slowly, work with your developers to improve page speed and load time without affecting the rest of your user experience. Page speed is important to your users and can make the difference between someone completing an order or leaving your site.

You should be performing security checks and applying updates all year round. It’s important to ensure a check happens before the holidays. Make sure all security updates have been installed and your website is protected well before the holiday traffic starts to hit your site. The holidays are a prime time for hackers to gain valuable information from your website – don’t give them the chance.

4. Plan and Test All Promotions

Plan out your promotions early and test them all before they go live. Promotions that do not work as intended can often end up costing you business, especially during the holidays when shoppers are in a rush. Planning them out early gives you time to really dig into last year’s data, talk to current customers, and research further to determine what offers have performed the best for you in the past and what offers could perform well for you in the upcoming season.

5. Give Your Site a Break Before the Holidays

As it gets closer and closer to the holidays, give your website a break. You don’t want to make any large, unnecessary updates or changes to your website when it gets too close to the holidays. The last thing you need is for a major update to take your site out of commission as you’re heading into the biggest season for your business. If something comes up that is high-priority, take care of it as quickly as possible and test your site again to make sure the change didn’t negatively affect anything else. If it’s not a necessary change and is something that won’t make or break your holiday season, it’s often best to wait until traffic tapers off to implement it.

There are a lot of moving pieces to make an ecommerce site successful, especially during high-traffic times like the holidays. By planning early and prepping your site, you ensure that you are in the best position you can be to make the most of the holiday traffic and sales. If you’re using WooCommerce or are thinking of switching to it and your site needs some love before the holidays, contact us for a meeting of the MINDs!

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