There will be a new look for holiday shopping this year. Several retailers will be closing the physical brick and mortar doors for Black Friday and possibly even last-minute Christmas shopping. Those big “door-busting” sales will be taking place online. With the busiest shopping period for the year going online, there will be a more significant load on all your business IT.
Prepare for the sudden surge in traffic volume if your business wants to be part of the Black Friday or pre-Christmas sales. You are going to lose revenue if your tech cannot handle the increased traffic. Your bottom line can be impacted significantly if a system crashes, as will your reputation and customer satisfaction over the long term.
The following are some strategies to consider when getting ready for that crush of online shoppers.
#1 Migrate to the Cloud
The current server may handle traffic fine on any other given day, but can it take 100 times that activity in one day? It would help tremendously if you could scale up quickly when needed. Cloud services provide this significant advantage.
Cloud services can help with the increase in demand for storage capacity, bandwidth, or applications during this difficult to predict growth rate from the seasonal demand shifts. Your business will not want to waste money and time on additional tech infrastructure just for this short shift in shopping patterns, especially if it does not need to. Instead of dropping cash on this short-term requirement, consider partnering instead with a cloud service provider to add those temporary resources. It takes only a minute or two to scale up to meet demand when you are in the cloud.
#2 Take a Stress Test
It is better to be safe than sorry when you are getting ready for the onslaught of this busy shopping season. To ensure you are fully equipped and prepared for the rush, stress test your system and site. Black Friday outages have even impacted the big box retail stores.
Test performance in advance of peak shopping times, such as:
- error rates
- number of time-outs
- length of response time
An “Ok” performance may not be enough to match those holiday sales demands. Based on Salesforce findings from a 2018 report, a business could face an increase in traffic by 15-35%.
#3 Optimize Your Site and Services Beforehand
Every millisecond counts in e-commerce. To make sure you put your best e-foot forward, several things can be done in advance.
- Make certain that every page of your site and all your images are rendering quickly
- Identify where you see shopping cart abandonment and do what you can now to stem that drop-off
- Improve site navigation to ensure it is as simple as possible for shoppers
- Allow users to buy without registering and to use as many different payment options as possible
- Remove unnecessary forms, sidebars, headers, and footers
- Make your site as mobile-friendly as you can
You need to ensure your inventory and order systems are synced up. Selling out of items after promoting them will sour the customer experience.
#4 Prepare Your Troops, Too
Besides your tech, you need to prepare your people as well. Do you need more staff to deal with the increase in customer service and order fulfillment? Get on the training and hiring issues now. With on-call IT support, you will be able to respond to those surprise issues.
Need IT support preparing for the e-commerce influx? Of course, you can make it even easier by partnering with a consultant to help prepare you.
The ITSM Rhino can set your business up with the right fit for IT support and advise on tech actions to take. I am also here to help you to manage and secure cloud-based systems for that increase in holiday traffic. Reach out to me today by calling me at 877-858-9272 to learn more!
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