Holiday shopping will have a new look this year. Many retailers are closing their brick-and-mortar doors for Black Friday, and the big “doorbuster” sales are moving online. With the busiest shopping period of the year going virtual, there’s going to be greater load on the business IT.
If your business wants to be part of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, prepare for a sudden surge in traffic volume. If your technology can’t handle the traffic, you’re going to lose revenue. A crashed system could be catastrophic for your bottom line, plus, it’ll hurt brand reputation and customer satisfaction long term.
Consider these strategies to get ready for the online crush of shoppers.
#1 Migrate to the Cloud
Your current server may do the job on a regular given day, but is it going to be able to handle 100 times the activity in a single day? You need the ability to quickly scale up as needed. That’s one of the great advantages of cloud services.
It’s difficult to predict your growth rates and seasonal demand shifts; however, using cloud services helps with increased demand for applications, storage capacity, or bandwidth. Your business doesn’t want to waste money on technology infrastructure it doesn’t need. Instead, partner with a cloud provider to add the resources required on a temporary basis. Scaling up in the cloud can take only minutes!
#2 Take a Stress Test
You may think your business is ready for an onslaught, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Run stress tests on your site and systems to ensure you’re fully equipped. Even big-name retailers have suffered Black Friday outages.
In advance of the peak shopping period, test performance in areas such as:
- error rates;
- number of time-outs;
- length of response time;
Performing OK may not be enough to match the need of holiday sales. Based on the Salesforce findings above, it’s safe to say you could be facing 15–35% increased traffic.
#3 Optimize Your Site and Services Beforehand
In e-commerce, every second, even millisecond, counts. There are several things you can do in advance to make sure you’re putting your best e-foot forward:
- Make sure that every page of your site and all your images are rendering quickly.
- Identify where you are seeing shopping cart abandonment, and do what you can now to stem that drop off.
- Revise site navigation to ensure it is as simple as possible for shoppers.
- Allow users to buy without registering and to use as many different payment options as possible.
- Remove unnecessary forms, sidebars, headers, and footers.
- Make your site as mobile friendly as you can.
You also want to be sure that your order and inventory systems are in sync. Promoting Black Friday items and then selling out will sour customer experience.
#4 Prepare Your Troops, Too
Along with readying your technology, prep your people, too. Need more hands-on deck to handle order fulfillment and customer service? Get on that hiring and training now. Having IT support on call can help respond to any unexpected issues.
Need IT support preparing for the e-commerce influx? Our technology experts can prepare your business for more traffic and transactions. Contact us today at 931-542-9327!