The holiday season is highly anticipated by marketers and store owners everywhere. Retailers and online marketplaces alike get their largest shipments, their most inventory, and, normally, provide their deepest discounts. All of these things combined lead to a huge traffic peak and one of the largest seasons for sales. The question is, is your website prepared for the surge? I’ve outlined below some key considerations on enhancing an ecommerce website for the busy holiday season to reduce the risk of turning a great sales day into a disaster.
Be Prepared for Mobile
Did you know that 36 percent of millennial consumers are making purchases from their mobile phone? For retailers like Amazon and Walmart, more than half of their ecommerce site views are from mobile-only visitors. Therefore, it’s important to not only make sure your website is mobile-friendly but optimized to work its best.
Usually, when people browse your page on their mobile phone, they’re on 2G, 3G or LTE, which is generally a slower connection than what they use at home. Therefore, it’s good practice to show only what users need to see on their mobile device, rather than a shrunken version of your website. A few ideas for optimizing your mobile site are:
- Test your pages with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, which lets you know if a certain part of your page is not well optimized for mobile.
- Always select a theme that’s either mobile-first or has a native mobile version. When you run tests for your website, make sure you test the mobile version as well.
- If your theme doesn’t have a mobile version, consider using a plugin that will generate a mobile version of your page.
Images are an essential part of a website and may need some time to be transferred from the server while the site is loading. If you want to display an image 300×300 pixels, don’t upload a
1024×1024 pixels image and then set it to be shown smaller with HTML or CSS.
For an eommerce website, caching can save resources since online shopping uses a site’s database more often than normal sites. Caching saves the outcome of different operations that your site must perform in order to produce your final content. It then serves this ready “product” for the next visitor of the site even faster, because it remembers the resources that the browser has already loaded.
In online stores, it’s not a good idea to cache entire pages because a lot of the data is dynamic – Cart and Checkout pages, Smart cart widgets showing the number of products you have, recommendations, etc. In such cases, you can use Memcached, a form of object caching, designed to greatly improve the speed of communication between your web application and its database.
With a good caching solution enabled and functioning, the site will be as fast as a static page.
By caching content like product pages, your visitors can browse items quickly and seamlessly, and the pages will load faster for repeat visitors who are ideally looking to make purchases on the site.
Make Checkout a Breeze
The most important point of an ecommerce site is an easy checkout. While your main focus may be stuck on the design and products on your site, what good is it without the assurance of a sale? If the checkout isn’t well structured, users may end up abandoning their cart.
One thing to consider is the amount of payment methods offered. Many brick and mortar retailers are allowing new methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Why not add extra methods along with the general credit card and PayPal options?
Taking these considerations into account will ultimately make for a better experience for your customers, adding a little less stress to their holiday season and more money in your pocket.