E-commerce needs more than digital transactions to handle holiday spikes

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With the holiday shopping season upon us, some retailers may have already discovered the hard way that their e-commerce portals weren’t up to snuff for handling the increased load.

But there is still time to make some tweaks to ensure sure your site is geared up and ready to delight and satisfy shoppers.

Double-check bandwidth. Site traffic can easily double or triple during the holiday season, so a bandwidth that works 10 months of the year may not suffice for the last two. Check with your hosting provider and make sure you’ve got the capacity you need, and if not, bump it up, even if only for the holiday season. You can always dial back, but it’s worth the investment to make a favorable impression with holiday shoppers.
Optimize graphics for quick load. Digital shoppers are notoriously impatient, with nearly two-thirds willing to wait 5 seconds max for pages to load. If your site doesn’t meet their expectations, 35% say they will leave, and 13% will never return. Avoid losing valuable time by optimizing images and graphics to load quickly. Reducing resolution can dramatically improve page load time—there’s simply no need for those print-quality super high-res images.

Design for mobile. For the first time, mobile site visits will exceed desktop visits this holiday season, with more shoppers browsing and buying via mobile than ever before. In fact, desktop-driven revenue is expected to drop by 6 percent, while revenue from smartphone sales is expected to jump 26%. Offering a mobile-friendly experience is critical to capitalizing on this shift in buyer behavior, so make sure your site is ready.

Offer gift-giving ideas. Shoppers often struggle to come up with fun and creative ideas. Make their holiday shopping easier with great gift suggestions organized by age, gender or areas of interest (outdoorsy types, tech lovers, foodies, etc.). Not only will it help shoppers find a great gift faster, but it helps to cultivate loyalty by creating a memorable and easy shopping experience.

Add a store locator. For retailers with a brick-and-mortar shopping options, adding a “where to buy” locator to your site can satisfy both online and in-person shoppers. Last year, 33% of shoppers said the option to buy online but pick-up in store was a deciding factor in their purchase, so adding that option can help boost conversions.

Even with Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, there’s still plenty of time to make an outstanding impression and have a successful season with an e-tail website that’s primed, powerful and ready to handle the load.

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