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A Holiday eCommerce Winning Combination

Site Performance and Optimization: A Holiday eCommerce Winning Combination Increasing eCommmerce conversion rate is important any time of the year, but especially during the two months of the traditional holiday online shopping season, when competition is fierce and many companies are willing to undercut margins to win customers. With holiday promotions starting earlier and earlier each year, running deep discounts for close to 25 percent of the year can seriously affect your profit, loss and margins; not to mention constant percent off promotions can exhaust customers already inundated with marketing offers.

Magento Business Intelligence research found that merchants can acquire up to 59 percent more new customers during the holidays, compared to post-holiday and the rest of the year, but a site that is not performing at its peak will never attain these impressive numbers.

So, what can you do? Here’s holiday health tips from the eCommerce team at Web Solutions NYC to get your online store in top-tier shape and make the customer journey as seamless as possible, potentially conversion and driving additional sales.

Data-driven Decisions

It’s hard to pinpoint a perfect conversion rate across-the-board for online merchants. For example, you’d expect a B2B medical supply site to have a lower conversion rate than a fast-fashion site. Checking your conversion trends year-over-year (YoY) can help you pinpoint the lift you want to see in sales, conversion and average order volume. While digging through your goldmine of data, be sure to be on the lookout for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are decreasing or any blips on the radar. Decreasing performance or conversion could signal potential bottlenecks or issues in your site that have gone undetected. Some of the KPIs to check for anomalies are:

Bounce Rate: The number of visitors that exit your site after visiting only one page. An increase in site bounces could signal that your site is running slower than the norm, causing customers that are used to lightning-fast websites to migrate off the site before it loads. An optimal site load time is 1-3 seconds, anything above that could be causing a loss in potential customers.

It could also signal a user experience that could use some work. If a customer is confused by the homepage set-up, they will more often than not exit the site before spending time to figure out your UX.

Customer Source and Conversion: Looking at where your customers are coming from: tablet, desktop or mobile, can deliver key insights on whether there is room for optimization across your selling channels. If there is significantly less customer conversion on one selling channel versus another, self-check for speed, design, broken pages and other issues that could be causing customers to not complete a transaction. You can expect a bit less conversion on smartphones versus desktop traditionally, but if the gap increasing YoY, you may need to evaluate your omnichannel design or strategy.

Don’t Set a Goal without a Plan

Anticipating the spike in traffic pre-holiday can ensure that there is no need to deploy a site-fail emergency plan, or lose profits because of a lagging site that cannot handle the traffic and capacity of many customers buying from your site at once.

As a merchant selling during holiday, your web store is your lifeblood. Operationally, your server and eCommerce platform should be able to scale and accommodate load spikes on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and “Green Monday;” these are key times your site should be running at the same performance levels as the rest of the year. A non-functional site is a customer service nightmare and can cause lost revenue, and the loss of loyal customers post-holiday. Here are a few items to self-audit now, or work with a partner to audit, to eliminate operational roadblocks during holiday:

  • Review of all added Modules, Widgets and Extensions
  • Review of Server Performance and Function
  • Review of Security Patches and Upgrades
  • Review of Customizations
  • Review of Server architecture and Logs
  • Review of Front-end Work
  • Review of Site Speed
  • Clean-up of Old and Outdated Pages and Promotional Codes
  • Start Sooner

A scalable and agile approach is crucial to optimizing your holiday performance plan, being well informed of analytics and identifying potential issues well before holiday is on any consumer’s mind should begin in summer and early fall. Schedule a site audit with Magento Enterprise Solutions Partner Web Solutions NYC or a server test with Hostdedi to help identify potential issues and eschew the holiday hang-ups that can kill eCommerce revenue.

Guest Author: Karah Finan is the Marketing Manager for Web Solutions NYC, a Magento Commerce Solutions Partner and Magento 2-trained solutions provider. Karah has over five years in eCommerce, and a decades-long interest in technology, and she’s passionate about disruption and innovation in the online landscape.

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eCommerce, Webmaster

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