The Black Friday / Cyber Monday phenomenon is upon us again. While you may be working on sales, offers, coupons and specials to attract business during Thanksgiving week and beyond, have you thought about preparing your website for the influx of traffic and potential customers over the holiday season? While the week before Thanksgiving is a little late to start planning for holiday shoppers, a recent survey conducted by Google shows that 51% of shoppers aren’t sure when they will begin their holiday shopping and of the 49% that have already planned their holiday shopping, only 26% plan to start purchasing the week of Thanksgiving during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and 44% will be shopping in December.
So what can you do to make sure your website is ready for holiday shoppers? Here are a few items to consider.
Another Google survey found that “41% of adults and 76% of smartphone owners plan to use them for holiday browsing”, which is 17% more than last year. Additionally, more and more shoppers are doing research on their desktops and tablets at home before they ever go to the store and using mobile devices to check out competitor pricing and inventory while in a store. Just having a website is not enough. You need to make sure that customers and visitors have a good experience when visiting your website on different devices.
If you don’t have a mobile website yet, it’s probably too late to get one in place before the holiday season. However, you can still take a look at your site and make sure that information is clear when viewed on mobile devices.
You should also make sure that your site loads quickly and can handle an upsurge of traffic. If you are offering the next big thing for holiday gift-giving, you don’t want potential customers to shop elsewhere because your site loads slowly or not at all due to high traffic. Check with your web hosting company to see if your hosting plan has an option that will handle large amounts of traffic over a short period of time. You can use Google PageSpeed or check Google webmaster tools to see how your website performs. You will also receive recommendations on how to improve performance.
If you haven’t planned a holiday social media plan yet, now is the time to get started. You should find or create content that you will be sharing with your fans and followers and create a schedule of what you will be sharing and when. Social media is a great way to communicate with people who are already interested in your brand, offering them incentives to purchase, as well as share your coupons and offers.
If nothing else, think about changes you need to make for your website in the future and plan to have them taken care of as soon as possible.