Hurray! The time we have all been waiting for is here.

A few days from now, we will be having the 2021 Black Friday, the day that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It is time for consumers to buy products in their carts at lesser prices and the same period for merchants to make massive sales—a win-for-win season for all.

As Black Fridays have promoted some merchants, likewise, it has been a day others remember to regret their mistakes. From past events, it has been observed that while some merchants are breaking limits, others are rolling with website breakdown.

Big companies are not exempted from these unfortunate circumstances. In 2018, Walmart lost sales worth $90 million when their website was down for 150 minutes during the Black Friday season. Lowes and J.Crew also experienced a website crash the same year.

It implies that as Black Friday approaches this year, all online merchants should ensure that their website is technically capable of bearing the heavy burden of the season. Almost every ecommerce website will receive massive traffic, and only the strongest will survive the hit.

In this article, we will discuss some things you can do to prepare your website for this holiday shopping season so that you don’t miss out on the massive sales that are coming your way.

Moreover, this year will be a bit challenging because people are used to online shopping. The 2020 pandemic experience has made most people online shoppers. So, merchants should be expecting more traffic than they used to have a couple of years back.

For Shopify Stores

There is not much to do to prepare your store for Black Friday traffic as Shopify is fully optimized to handle almost everything, except if you are Jeffree Star. For all others ensure you have a good quality theme, plenty of inventory, and get ready to fulfill your sales.

Non-Shopify Stores

For all other stores the following are what to do to prevent your ecommerce website from breaking down this coming Black Friday;

1.      Monitor your site uptime to avoid crashes

Can you boldly declare that your ecommerce website stays up 24/7? Perhaps, the website experiences downtime every week that is oblivious to you. Now is the time to figure it out before the big day.

Website uptime is the time a site stays online without interruption. Measuring your website uptime will help you know if your website truly has the strength to handle massive traffic. Also, it will assist in detecting and correcting faults that are causing your website to go down.

The best way to monitor your website uptime is by using tools such as Hexometer, UptimeRobot, Pingdom or site24×7. These tools have uptime time calculators that express your site uptime in percentage. The higher the rate, the better. Besides, anything less than 99% is not good.

Also, they provide website owners with regular updates of their site’s performances. These may include page speed analysis, new user registration, shopping transactions, among others.

2.      Speed up your website pages for higher conversions

Having a website with a slow loading speed is no better than an offline website. Long page load time is harmful during Black Friday and holiday seasons. Shoppers are in haste and want to quickly buy products at a lesser price, so they won’t exercise patience for your slow website.

Therefore, it’s essential that you do everything necessary to speed up your website as the holiday season approaches. A good website page should have a load time of 1-2 seconds. An ecommerce site should strive to load faster because it aims to get money from visitors.

You can achieve a short load time by implementing website designing and maintenance best practices. These practices include the use of optimized images, cleaning up database junks, using a light theme, and installing a caching plugin.

A caching plugin saves and serves your visitors with a lighter HTML format of your website pages. Installing one on your ecommerce store will reduce its loading speed to a noticeable degree. Caching plugins you could consider are WP rocket, WP-Optimize, WP fastest cache, and LightSpeed Cache.

3.      Use predictive search to promote browsing experiences

One thing to know about the holiday season is that shoppers get frustrated when they are not getting attention from the store they want to patronize. A minute delay, and they are already heading for another store knowing that they would get the same product for the same or a lesser price. For this reason, you would want to put in place everything that will engage your ecommerce store visitors to the point of buying.

One of those things is the predictive search. Predictive search can be done in different ways, but the most common is the auto complete. This engagement tool was introduced and firstly implemented by Google and has helped them to keep their users.

Auto complete assists your ecommerce store visitors to complete queries. It will present them with different search suggestions, even before they type in all the words in their search queries. Moreover, an upgraded version corrects and produces search results even when the shopper type-in wrong spelling.

Having all these in your store will encourage shoppers to buy from you. Also, it will assist them to find products and finalize purchases faster, thereby preventing site crowding.

4.      Make the checkout experience quick and straightforward

It’s the holiday period; people have other plans and activities to do aside from shopping. And they would greatly appreciate it when you save them some minutes by simplifying the shopping processes.

If possible, do away with the promo codes strategy and let people get discounts without the stress of memorizing five digits. Also, design your website so that shoppers can clear their carts and make payments on a single page.

Besides, this period is not the time to get email subscribers. Yes, you’re going to receive lots of visitors, and you will be tempted to expand your email lists. However, this might cause visitors to leave your site because many are here for a one-time business.

If you must do it, let it be after their purchase. And let your buyers know that it’s optional; they could cancel and proceed with shopping.

5.      Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)

The content delivery network is a collection of geographically distributed groups of proxy servers that delivers the website’s HTML, style sheets, and Images to internet users in different parts of the world. This network of servers helps sites to provide content to their visitors at a faster pace.

CDN companies have servers distributed globally and ensure that your site files are on them so that your website visitors don’t have to connect to your hosting server located far away to access your contents. BunnyCDN and Google Cloud CDN are trusted content delivery providers, and they are affordable.

Using a CDN will reduce the burden on your primary server. Moreover, it boosts website loading speed and expands your reach, increasing site availability during this holiday season and Black Friday.

6.      Upgrade to a bigger and traffic accommodating hosting plan

If you want to be assured of 24/7 uptime for your ecommerce business, upgrade from shared hosting to either virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server. These two hosting plans have room for massive traffic, and they offer features that will assist your ecommerce store to withstand the holiday sales. But they come at a bit more expensive rates.

Prepare your ecommerce store before the holiday rush

Please don’t wait till it’s too late. Now is the time to make the necessary adjustments and corrections. You can’t afford to miss out on the great profit that’s coming your way during this holiday season. Make sure you implement all the remedies and preventions advised above. One more thing, ensure that your website is designed for mobile optimization.

I wish you success and significant sales this coming Black Friday. If you enjoy this content, please share your friends on social media.