With just days until the start of November, now is the perfect time to get your website ready for the Holiday traffic surge. Nearly half of an average retailer’s sales for 2017 occurred in November & December according to Deloitte, so preparing for this critical sales period has never been so important.
From making sure your website can handle the extra seasonal traffic to checking the payment options you offer, our blog post will ensure your site is fit for the season ahead.
Evaluate your site
Many e-commerce stores start small and grow over time, this is an excellent way of minimizing risk and keeping start-up costs low – but before the peak traffic season kicks in take some time to check if you’ve evaluated your website against your competitors in terms of functionality, some key questions to consider:
- Is your layout intuitive for your visitors? Think names of menu items & position of your site search bar.
- Does your website load perfectly on mobile devices? Grab a mobile and tablet to take your site for a test drive. A lot of your visitors will be using mobile devices so be sure to cater for them on every page.
- Are all of your images present and high resolution? Seeing is believing, your visitors will want to take a close look at your products before purchasing so be sure to check that all your products have images uploaded and look crystal clear.
Make sure you can handle traffic spikes
Check your hosting plan, look at key figures such as bandwidth allowance and resource limits. A good host will surface your usage statistics with you from their control panel, take a moment to look over your usage and ensure you have at least three times the headroom before the holiday season takes hold. For example, if you have a limit of 15GB of bandwidth but see you’ve used 9GB this month already, then it’s time to upgrade your package or change hosting provider if you’re considering the latter be sure to take a look at our generously allocated Europe and USA located website hosting plans!
Check your payment options
Having a wide range of payment options is key to ensuring your customers can complete their purchase once they’ve decided what to add into their carts. Alongside offering industry standard payment processors such as Stripe, be sure to offer a backup processor in case your primary has any service issues – you don’t want to stop your online register ringing due to a technical glitch outside of your control. Consider partnering with another processor like Due and Square.
In addition to your main card processors like those mentioned above, we strongly recommend offering PayPal as a payment option on your website’s checkout. PayPal allows its users to pay for your products without having to enter their credit/debit card details on your site, something that appeals to many of its users.
If you’ve already implemented the above and are looking for something a little more unique, why not consider accepting Crypto Currency as a method of payment? CoinGate is a great way to get started.
Secure your site
Take a few minutes to check your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is applied correctly and expires well beyond the holiday season if it expires soon consider an early renewal so you can be sure your visitors will always see your website as secure. If you don’t have an SSL right now then get one right away, an insecure website will drive visitors away. All Hugoton Hosting web hosting plans come with free SSL!
Securing your website also goes further than an SSL, head over to our ‘How to secure your WordPress website’ blog post to be sure your online store is secure.
Implement a review system
So your website has an array of products with high-resolution images and perfectly crafted descriptions for each – but can your visitors see what others who’ve purchased from you in the past thought of the products they received?
Reviews on their products are something every e-commerce store owner should offer, but you should also host reviews of your website as a whole, TrustPilot and Bazaar Voice are leading the way in this space.
Hopefully, the above tips have given you some food for thought on how to get your website holiday ready! We love to hear from our visitors, why not drop us a message and let us know what you’d like to see us blog about next?