Five Ways to Prepare your Site for Holiday Traffic

holiday marketing

If this year’s solar eclipse frenzy taught us anything, it’s that sudden surges in traffic can lead to complete chaos if proper precautions aren’t in place. As an online merchant, you can expect similar spikes in web traffic this holiday season.

It’s important to begin prepping your eCommerce site now to avoid potential traffic jams that could send your stress levels into overdrive. Here are five ways to prepare your site for holiday traffic spikes.

Analyze Past Data to Establish a Baseline

Your holiday sales data from last year contain a goldmine of valuable insights for this year’s eCommerce strategy. By looking back at last year’s traffic volume, for example, you can establish a helpful baseline that will prepare you for this year’s holiday traffic.

This will give you a good idea of how much traffic you can expect, but be sure to plan for more visitors this year. Not only is online holiday spending increasing each year, but you also have one more year of marketing knowledge under your belt. As a data-driven marketer, your marketing strategies are most likely improving all the time and will no doubt drive more sales and revenue this year.

Test Your Site Speed

Increasing your site speed is key to improving the user experience, ranking higher in search engines and driving traffic to your online store. In other words, your site speed matters — especially during the holidays!

Holiday shoppers are not going to wait patiently for your web pages to load. Test your site using Google PageSpeed Insights, and then fix the problems that it recommends. These may include optimizing your images with alt tags, minifying JavaScript and CSS, clearing your browser cache and enabling compression.

You might also consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to store static resources from your website onto multiple servers. If you’re using BigCommerce or Shopify, you will be pleased to know that they provide their customers with a CDN, free of charge.

Streamline the Checkout Process

The average abandoned shopping cart rate is 69.23 percent, according to Baymard Institute. If long and complicated checkouts are hurting online merchants this much now, think about what it will do to their conversions during the holidays.

If you’re a data-driven marketer, your brain is probably wired to collect as much data as you can from your customers. But be warned — the checkout process is not the place to ask your customers questions that aren’t absolutely necessary! Making them fill out multiple forms or asking too many questions will frustrate them and cause them to abandon their shopping carts. One of the most common causes of cart abandonment is forcing online shoppers to register before they complete the checkout process. In the example below, Living proof provides shoppers the option to continue their path to purchase without having to register.

holiday traffic

While abandoned shopping cart emails can help bring back lost shoppers, it’s more efficient to fix the problem in the first place. This holiday season, be sure to streamline the checkout process by using auto-fill attributes, keeping forms to a minimum and adding a progress bar to encourage them to complete a purchase.

Optimize for Mobile

With mobile shopping expected to rise 57.8 percent this holiday season, optimizing for mobile devices is no longer optional. People are shopping on multiple devices, and your site needs to accommodate them all to increase holiday revenue.

Simply preparing your site for regular holiday traffic will go a long way to improve the mobile user experience (i.e. using compression tools, streamlining checkout, etc.). However, you still need to tailor the user experience to mobile devices to increase your holiday spending this year.

To truly attract mobile users, your site needs to have more than a responsive design. It should allow mobile users to meet their goals with ease — without pinching, zooming or excessive scrolling. Use Google Search Console’s mobile usability report to find any usability problems your site has, and follow their suggestions to improve your site for mobile users.

holiday marketing

Final Thoughts

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for eCommerce retailers. With more consumers shopping online during the holidays, it’s essential that your eCommerce site is prepared for increased surges in web traffic. Don’t wait until the holidays are here to start working out the kinks in your eCommerce site. By preparing in advance, you can position your online business for maximum holiday spending and revenue.