CS-Cart: Preparing Your Store for the Holidays
It’s beginning to look a lot like… October?
Now that it’s October, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming holiday 2018 rush. Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday! Now is the time to start getting ready, or else you may have to deal with ‘Weeping Wednesday’ when you take a look at your sales.
Why prepare now?
Simply put, the holiday season is the biggest retail sales period of the year, and you don’t want to miss out. If you have an online presence, you should expect people to be shopping your store on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and that there’s going to be a large, active shopping presence throughout the holiday season.
Take advantage of the months before November and December, when sales are steady and stable, to look over last year’s sales data.
- • What areas did you do well in?
- • Where do you need improvement?
- • Are there features you’ve been putting off implementing that you’d like to have for this year’s busy season?
Some typical issues that site owner see are site functionality that could be improved, your logistics and product delivery pipeline, and poor marketing positions. Is your store lacking in one (or all) of these areas?
Mobile sales are shattering records year-after-year. Does your mobile presence inspire trust in your brand among your customers? Is your mobile site easy to navigate? Are you accessibility friendly?
It can take two months or more to develop mobile enhancements to an existing e-Commerce site that doesn’t natively support mobile. Often, an entire site theme needs to be rebuilt and adapted to your store. The middle of November is not a good time to think about a major redesign. Start early, reap the rewards this holiday season.
Smooth Stores Make More
How does your site perform? Have you tested it? There a tons of website performance calculators out there… is your site up to par? If your performance isn’t where you want it, your customers could be experiencing frustration while using your site, and that could turn them away from your shop when there are deals to be had literally everywhere.
Things you can do now:
- • Have a professional performance audit — Let one of our engineers evaluate your site’s configuration and actual performance in real world testing, to determine whether there are any changes that can optimize your content delivery.
- • Compression — Reduce the size of your content (especially images) by compressing it before delivery. This will make your site faster and, therefore, more friendly to customers. You can also minify CSS and JS, and deploy your site over a content delivery network to improve performance further.
- • Load Balancing — When your service capacity is too small for the amount of traffic your site generates, you start to see “connection refused” errors. Using multiple servers sitting a load-balancer to evenly distribute the traffic can keep your site snappy even under intense load.
- • Is your code efficient? — Are you using 50 plugins? Do you have a spaghetti mess of customizations that have been built over years and year of tweaks? Maybe you’re running an older platform that needs upgraded? All of these things can lead to inefficent, ugly, and insecure code. This one is best left to professionals to handle… contact us today!
But Deals Matter Most
Fundamentally, shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are out for deals. Now is a good time to sit down, look at your product offerings and margins, and develop a sales strategy for the holiday season. Furthermore, figuring out what you really want to sell this holiday season can tell you how to sell it.
Starting now, you have a solid 6 week period for getting together new graphics, marketing materials, and planning a strategy for enticing customers into your store.
Ideally, you’ll have a solid strategy in place a few weeks before the holiday season starts. If you couple this with a site that’s been checked out by a professional, with any issues fixed or maybe even updated a bit, you’re sure to have a stellar holiday season.