Black Friday is one of the most important shopping days of the year and an opportunity to see record sales and a flood of new customers. However, to make the most of its potential, you will need meticulous preparation. Not only do you have to get your stock and store ready; you’ll also need to make sure your site can handle any surges in web traffic and transactions. To ensure your site is primed to offer a great shopping experience, here are some of the crucial steps you need to take to get your online store ready for Black Friday
Ensure your hosting can handle more traffic
Your web hosting plays a vital role during Black Friday. It’s the backbone that supports your store’s entire online operations. So, if you are expecting an increase in the number of visitors to your site, it’s crucial that your hosting is up to the job. If you’re using a shared hosting plan, then it might be time to think about migrating to a more robust setup like VPS Hosting. VPS (virtual private servers) offer considerably more CPU, RAM and bandwidth and thus are designed to accommodate the spikes in traffic that are typical of Black Friday. If in doubt, check whether you’re nearing your bandwidth and resource limits and gauge the scalability of your hosting solution to deal with surges. Alternatively, talk to your hosting provider. With their expertise, they should be able to provide advice about your expected traffic and the best solutions for your needs.
Speed up your website
In today’s digital market, speed is of the essence. A slow-loading site can quickly turn customers away and lose you those valuable Black Friday sales. Upgrading to a better hosting solution can boost loading times dramatically, however, there are many other things that can also help.
Start by optimising images with large file sizes as these can seriously affect loading times. There are plugins you can use that reduce file size without affecting image quality. In addition, you can deactivate and delete unnecessary plugins, use caching and compression, and even use a content delivery network. If you want to know how fast your pages load and discover what issues are slowing them down, you can use the PageSpeed Insights tool. It’s free and quick.
Meet the needs of mobile shoppers
With 5G connections, enhanced security, OLED screens and built-in payment apps, mobile phones have rapidly become one of the major devices for online shopping. If you want to benefit from this huge audience of on-the-go customers, your online store needs to display and work perfectly on smartphones. Make sure your site is responsive and that visitors can easily navigate and carry out interactions.
A rise in visitors can increase security risks. Make sure you have installed an SSL certificate to encrypt your users’ data; update and patch your software to minimise vulnerabilities; and protect your site from intrusion and infection with a robust firewall. The last thing you need during a busy period like Black Friday is to see your site get hacked.
For enhanced protection, do ensure you have an adequate backup plan in place. That way, if a disaster does occur, you can restore your website quickly and inexpensively, without long periods of downtime.
There are numerous ways you can prepare your site to make the most of Black Friday. This includes designing a bespoke landing page that promotes your deals and points visitors in the right direction to find them. Don’t forget to check your inventory, update prices, add sale signs to individual products and so forth. Many eCommerce platforms provide automation tools or plugins which can be used to make bulk price modifications, saving you hours of work.
Additionally, don’t forget to start your email campaigns early and to keep your subscribers updated about your forthcoming deals. Using teasers and countdowns on your site and social media can help increase excitement and anticipation about your sale.
Test everything works
Avoid unexpected, last-minute hiccups by testing your site to make sure everything is working fine before Black Friday starts. Load tests can simulate expected traffic surges, while trial visits and purchases can ensure your site works well from a customer’s perspective. Pay particular attention to the checkout process, ensuring it’s seamless and glitch-free.
With the current cost of living crisis, a good Black Friday can be critical to the success of your online store. Indeed, with budgets stretched, it’s likely more people will be heading to the sales than ever. Hopefully, the points raised in this post will help you get your website thoroughly prepared to be successful on the big day.