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You’ve planned your discounts and promotions, but is your online store ready from an operations standpoint? Read these 10 tips to make sure you’re prepared to sell on Cyber Monday.
1. Check your site speed.
46% of shoppers say they’ll refuse to return to a slow website.
Page load times are a big factor. Statistics from skilled.co show that 47% of customers expect it to load in 2 seconds or less.
2. Make sure your servers can handle extra traffic.
Besides load speed, you also need to check your site’s capacity. Make sure your servers can handle the increased amount of traffic that you expect to see this year. If there is any question as to whether your site will hold up during the holiday rush, reach out to your hosting provider to confirm capabilities and discuss feasible options for handling the upsurge in traffic for your site.
The threat of capacity overload is real.
In 2014, Best Buy’s website overloaded with mobile traffic, crashing on Black Friday. In 2016, several other major e-commerce sites experienced outages on Black Friday which lasted for five days. Lowe’s website went down Thanksgiving weekend in 2017 and again in 2018, when they were joined by J Crew and Walmart in CyberMonday purgatory.
Don’t let this happen to you!
3. Clearly mark limited stock.
When a shopper adds an item to their cart and discovers it’s out of stock, you’ve lost not just that sale, but some of the customer’s trust as well. If you’re selling limited-edition products, mark them as such and show the quantity available.
Limited availability is a strong buyer incentive. Feeling like they’re part of an exclusive minority that was able to score this great thing makes them value the purchase experience even more.
4. Construct distinct, conversion-focused landing pages.
Landing pages built specifically for Black Friday and Cyber Monday give shoppers a definitive direction for their shopping needs. The aim is to steer them toward product pages in as few clicks as possible to minimize friction.
Optimize your site’s checkout process to display your best sale offerings before they complete their purchases, for more upselling opportunities.
To help push conversion rates even higher, create a sense of urgency. A countdown banner with a timer can be a smart strategy.
5. Get your products sold through social channels.
Shoppers are impulse-driven oftentimes, so take advantage of that.
Do you show your products on Pinterest? Look into Buyable Pins. Popular on Facebook? Add a Facebook store. Getting good traction from your Instagram stories? Use Instagram shopping to direct more buyers to your products.
6. Back up your site.
Make sure that you have backups for everything- site code, product images, and descriptions. You don’t want to miss out on sales because something is missing from your site. Run your site through a checklist to make sure it’s all there before weekend sales begin.
7. Optimize for Black Friday and Cyber Monday SEO.
Trending terms change every year. Starting with the basic terms you’re using now, try a keyword search on Google Trends to see if there are new ways to describe your products. Add these new terms to your product descriptions for an SEO boost.
8. Test your checkout process, and cruise for ideas to borrow.
Run through your checkout process, make notes, and make improvements wherever you can.
This is also an opportunity to revisit your delivery and return policies, which should be clearly explained.
When doing your own shopping at other sites, try to notice which ones deliver a superior customer experience. Bookmark sites where you enjoyed the checkout process. Did you see friendly messages? Colors that caught your eye? Graphics that display particularly well? Save the things you like in a separate file for the next time you go to update your site.
9. Optimize your site for mobile shopping.
Shoppers don’t just use their phones for purchases this time of year. They also use them a LOT for price checks and product comparisons, both at home and while standing in the aisles of a store.
Picture your shopper in a store in front of a competing product. If they’re looking at your online store on their phone, can they find everything they need to choose your product instead? If you have a brick-and-mortar store, have you looked into Google Local Inventory Ads to attract out-and-about mobile shoppers?
10. Show customers that your site is secure.
Many new brands pop up around the holidays. Many online shoppers have previously seen late delivery or false claims from online businesses. They could be wary of trying something new. So, make it prominent on your home page that your site is secure, and has a valid SSL certificate. Displaying a shiny gold padlock icon is one way to catch their attention.
Running through this checklist and fixing everything you can now will help you avoid lost sales in the most critical sales period of the year.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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