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As we still feel the repercussions of the pandemic, online sales are reaching new peaks and the holiday season promises to be like never seen before. It is thus not surprising that the majority (60%) of consumers say they plan to purchase holiday items online this year. The surges in online traffic and orders that come with every holiday seasons, but especially this year, can lead to website performance issues. Crashes can tarnish your customer service reputation and hurt your bottom line. Even slowdowns can translate into lost business.

Consider these sobering statistics:

  • 47% of site visitors expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
  • A one‑second delay in page response time can result in a 7% reduction in conversion. If we extrapolate from this finding, a one‑second delay in a storefront generating $100,000 in sales per day would result in $2.5 million in lost revenue for the year.

 How can you reduce your risk for these damaging slowdowns or breakdowns?

Ensure your site is always ready and able

Like firefighters who are always ready to respond to a call, your site needs to be in a state of continuous readiness, 365 days a year. Here are two best practices for making that happen:

1) Give your website a complete checkup.

  • How fast are pages displaying?

  • Have you found and fixed all 404 errors?

  • Run key performance tests on a regular basis

  • Compared to benchmarks, how are high-traffic pages performing (e.g., Home, Product Search, Product Details, Cart, Order Placement, Checkout)?

  • Which site experiences are not meeting shopper expectations?

Examine these experiences and address the weaknesses. Test the fixes to ensure every page performs as it should. Ensure performance requirements are being met.

2) Leverage the cloud so your site will auto-scale when it needs to.

It’s not always easy to anticipate your holiday traffic patterns and methods of scaling up your infrastructure for the estimated worst-case scenario is not always easy or cost-effective. By using the latest cloud service offerings, or leveraging the cloud for your applications, you will be able to automatically scale based on customer demand without over-spending on “just-in-case” infrastructure.

Can Your Mobile Shopping Experience Make Buying Easier?

By 2021, mobile devices are forecasted to account for nearly 75% of the global online retail purchases, double the amount in 2018. While mobile represents 65% of all ecommerce traffic, they only account for 53% of sales.

What’s the story behind this paradox?

Make your storefront mobile-friendly

In spite of the ranking importance that Google’s search engine gives to mobile-friendly sites, some retailers still prioritize the desktop in their website design. Thus, many shopping storefronts are not optimized for mobile devices and shoppers wishing to checkout on a mobile site have to tap through an average of three pages of form fields. It’s not hard to imagine the frustration of filling them out on a phone.

Like your payment process on other platforms (e.g., POS or desktop), your mobile process has to be simple, intuitive, and trustworthy. What’s true for a desktop site is also a must for mobile, you need fast page loading. The right omnichannel e‑commerce platform provides that capability. It also brings customizable mobile storefront and responsive design, allowing the site to adjust to the size of the customer’s device and making life easier for shoppers.

Help shoppers find products faster

Whether they’re trying to get in and out of stores as fast as possible, doing errands with restless kids, or simply running low on patience, shoppers want to be able to find what they’re looking for fast on a mobile storefront. Customer-focused retailers know that their mobile product search should take no more than a few taps and include smart interface prompts that speed the process along. The right omnichannel mobile storefront will provide that same efficiency.

Enable ship-from-store, ship-to-store, and in-store pickup

According to the National Retail Federation, “nearly all (91%) online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping, while another 44 percent plan to use buy online, pick up in store and 16 percent plan to use same-day delivery” during their holiday shopping this year. Your omnichannel order fulfillment platform should offer customers the benefit of faster home delivery and the option to order online and pick up in‑store or curbside pickup. With the right solution in place, your stores can become hyperlocal distribution centres. Your platform will optimize in-store inventory usage and can significantly reduce the time and cost of fulfilling online orders.

Increase sales by making store inventory more accessible

With the right omnichannel platform, your mobile-store solutions offer advanced order routing and omnichannel fulfillment capabilities that ensure you keep your customers happy while leveraging a unified inventory and shipments from the best location. As a result, you can get your inventory to market faster and with less risk.

To conclude, the key takeaways to make sure your website is ready for the holidays include addressing your website’s weaknesses ahead of time and leveraging the cloud for scalability. In addition, your customers’ online shopping experience, whether it’s on a website or an app, should be smooth and convenient.