Yes, we know that October is only a little over a week old. But, as retailers all over Canada are well aware, the holiday shopping season will be here before you know it! For some Canadians, it’s already arrived. Getting the early jump on holiday shopping is something many people like to do in order to avoid the always-hectic holiday rush.
It’s important to remember that, as an e-retailer, you’re about to enjoy a significant spike in online sales. That is, of course, if you prepare your online store to handle extra traffic. The first step should be to ensure that your customer base is well aware that it can make purchases directly from your website. Advertising your online store is a must when preparing for the holidays. But how else should you prepare?
Consumers need to feel confident that every online store they visit is reputable. If there is an inkling that their credit card information could be compromised or that the vendor is untrustworthy, they will log off and never return. According to Ana Karen Alvarez of ClickIT Tech, strengthening your website involves implementing a set of security practices.
“You need to have all your software infrastructure up-to-date and enforce a strong access and security policy so that you can stay protected against hackers trying to get in,” she writes, “Furthermore, it has become essential to have an SSL encryption with it affecting security as well as Search result rankings on Google…Principally, it’s a must for websites collecting any sorts of customer data.”
When an online shopper visits your site from this point forward, he/she should have no problem locating any and all items that would be classified as ideal holiday gifts. Set up a holiday category on your page and be sure to make the tab clearly visible on your website’s home page.
“For your online store, it’s (important) to creating holiday-focused category pages,” says eHopper.com, “This creates the appropriate holiday spirit on your website, and will enhance user experience. The added bonus is that this makes it much easier for customers to find your discounts, deals and gift packages.”
With higher traffic comes slower loading times. At least, this is what most online shoppers tend to experience. It doesn’t mean that they like it though. Make sure your site is prepared for increased traffic so that visitors aren’t encouraged to leave it due to it taking too long to load. As Alvarez points out, most users abandon websites if they don’t load within two seconds.
“If your site takes a lot of time to load and sow meaningful information, it’s an alarming situation that must be taken care of,” she insists, “The loading time of a website shouldn’t take more than 2.5 seconds, if it takes more time, then you are not going to have a good number of online visitors. This key element impacts directly on companies’ sales.”