The holiday shopping season is just a few weeks away, which means retailers are scrambling to get prepared for a crush of new customers. Every year, we hear from at least one or two business owners who thought they had their ducks in a row only to find they are struggling to get their websites ready at the last minute.
That’s almost always a recipe for lost sales and missed opportunities – something you can’t afford at the busiest and most profitable time of the year.
To help you avoid those mistakes (and the ensuing panic that comes with them), today we want to share five simple ways you can prepare your retailing website for the holiday season.
1. Conduct a Website Audit
It’s hard to judge the readiness of your website with the naked eye. A better solution is to opt for a website audit – a series of performance tests and a deep dive into your code. A thorough website audit will reveal any problems with speed, linking errors, and even outdated plugins or security issues. It’s always better to know about problems with your website before the shopping season starts than later, so this is an important preventative first step.
2. Update Products, Prices, and Schedules
One thing you definitely don’t want is for your website to give out false information to customers. Outdated prices, color options, or product descriptions (as examples) can all cost you to miss out on orders or lose revenue through returns. The bigger your website is, the more important it is for you and your web design team to go through any product pages together to look for mistakes and oversights.
3. Get Your Holiday Marketing Content Ready
You definitely don’t want to be making up your holiday marketing campaigns as you go along. You should have pages written and designed, emails ready to send, and any PPC campaigns prepared so they can be turned on or off at a moment’s notice. Procrastinate on any of these tasks and you run the risk of missing something important. Likewise, you could end up in a situation where your web design and online marketing team is under the gun to provide you with the creative work you need on short notice.
4. Back Up Everything
Your website is probably going to be busiest during the holiday shopping season, but it’s also at its most vulnerable. On the one hand, a surge of traffic to your pages could lead to unexpected performance issues or even crashes. On the other hand, hackers will be looking for businesses that can be broken into so they can steal email addresses, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information. One simple way to protect yourself from both of these threats is to simply have your site backed up and ready to relaunch if needed.
5. Set Your PPC Ad Budgets
It doesn’t take a great deal of time to set pay-pricing click advertising budgets, but it’s good to plan out your bidding strategy ahead of time. That’s because clicks can come so quickly during the busy holiday online shopping season that you could end up going significantly over your daily spend limits because of the way automated bidding plans work. If you need to keep a close eye on your advertising dollars this November and December, consider scaling your budgets back slightly to accommodate any unintentional overflow.
The Holidays are Coming, is Your Retailing Website Ready?
If you aren’t 100% sure your website is ready for a busy and profitable holiday shopping season then there isn’t any time to waste. Contact our experienced creative team today so we can help you evaluate your pages and get everything sorted out before shoppers start showing up to your website.