Is Your eCommerce Site Ready for Anything?

Posted by Lindsey Mink

August 1, 2018 | 10:30 AM

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ready for anythingThe holiday season is a hectic time for everyone, especially retailers who are scrambling to get their eCommerce site perfectly optimized and ready for the holiday rush. While increased site functionality and hosting capabilities are important for the holidays, you never know when a random event will spike interest in your company website.

Amazon Prime Day recently showed business how important it is to be aware of all events that could have a potential impact on their businesses as larger retailers (those with $1 billion in annual revenue or more) saw a 54% increase in sales on Prime Day. While plenty of companies are not generating $1 billion in revenue and weren’t affected by Prime Day, it brings up the point of making sure your site is always optimized and ready for anything that comes your way. 

Look for Hidden Opportunities

Analytics and tracking software are useful for companies to help spot trends and patterns, but the world of eCommerce remains unpredictable. It is important to look at other businesses and competitors to see what they have in the works. Often time these organizations can have an impact on your own business. You may be able to capitalize on events they throw by leveraging the customers’ ready-to-spend mindset. When an annual sale approaches, consumers have prepared themselves to send money. If the host website has run out of the product but the customer is ready to buy, you can offer a similar product at the same discounts to satisfy their needs.

Site Speed

Patience is a virtue that many of us lack, therefore speed and load time are critical for a high-performing website. Studies show a 2-second delay in load time can result in a 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor. Not only are you losing revenue, but you are leaving potential customers with a taste of dissatisfaction. Constantly monitoring your load time is an important part of ensuring your site is fully optimized.

Take Inventory of Your Images

Images are a key piece to any website, but your company should be careful to not get carried away. Your company should take inventory of all images on your website and ask the following questions:

  • Do the images have a real impact?
  • Are they helping to sell products?
  • Are they telling a story?

If your answers to these questions is no, then delete them. Images account for about 60% of the average bytes loaded per page, therefore unneeded images not only clog your site pages but negatively impact your load time.

If you answered yes, then keep them. Images have the power to entice your customers and close a sale. However, run your images through an optimization software to ensure they are properly optimized for the web.   

Implement a Load Testing System

Load tests can help determine your site’s maximum operating capacity and pinpoint the places that are causing harm to your site’s performance. When running a load test, you will be able to see how your site runs under various conditions and the results can be used to see where your site would stack up during any type of shopping rush. If your load test results aren’t up to your company standards, you can confidently make changes to your platform abilities and functions.

Through regularly testing your site you can also track and compare performance to make changes or adjustments accordingly. It is a good practice to consistently run load tests, so you know your website is ready for any amount of traffic that comes its way.

Design

The design of a website has the power to entice potential customers and pique their interests into one of your products. Not only will the design of your website pull in customers, it also represents you as a company. It represents your look and feel which can have a big impact when trying to create relationships with customers. Your website design should change as your company changes but it should always remain user-friendly, whether that’s for one customer or one million customers. 

Embrace the Holidays

You don’t need to be over the top about holiday campaigns, but you should do something as small as  creating a banner for your homepage or mentioning the special day in a recent blog. Small touches such as these will go a long way in giving your customers a sense of holiday spirit without suffocating them.  Special events or once-a-year shopping events make consumers want to spend money as they feel it’s the only day they’re going to get a such a great deal. Capitalize on this feeling and give your website a hint of that holiday spirit to kindly push customers towards your shopping cart. Even if another company “owns” a holiday, for example Amazon Prime Day, you can still use this day to entice customers in the eCommerce world by providing similar deals on your own site. 

Functionality Across Platforms

We’ve said it for years and we’ll say it again: Mobile is everything. In fact, 56% of smart phone or table users intend to utilize their devices to search for and/or buy gifts this holiday season. This statistic alone demonstrates the importance of functionality across a variety of platforms. While look is important for enticing customers, functionality of the design should be the top priority. Check your site regularly on your own phone or tablet to confirm it’s functioning properly and that the setup is user friendly. Your company can also run A/B tests for different site designs to see which ones will work the best on all devices. As your site and design continues to change and adapt to the seasons, don’t neglect testing as it can give you useful insight into the most optimized site design.

Awareness and Consistency

Every action has a reaction; true in physics and true in business. It is important for businesses to be aware of everything that could potentially affect them. As the holiday season  approaches, be aware of the official holidays, unofficial holiday, and global shopping events. This can help your company prepare for potential visit spikes and help shed light onto trends you didn’t notice before. You never know what event will inspire someone to visit your site so make sure it’s running at peak performance 100% of the time and be ready for anything!

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Topics: eCommerce

About Lindsey Mink

Lindsey Mink is a second year summer intern. She recently completed her 1st year at the University of Dayton. Lindsey is pursuing a major in business and marketing. She is looking forward to applying what she learned in school this year to her internship.

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