Preparing for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2017

Are you preparing for the holidays?

With temperatures rising and summer in full swing, it may seem a bit early to start preparing for the holiday shopping season. But in eCommerce, it’s never too soon. You’re probably already thinking about what sales you’ll run, what inventory will be in stock, and what clever tag line you can use.

The challenge is that prepping for the holidays involves more than just your marketing campaigns. Let’s be honest—your marketing campaigns can’t be successful if the platform supporting them isn’t up to snuff.

To fully prepare for the onslaught of holiday traffic, consider these questions:

  1. How many customers can my site support?
  2. What will be the peak days of my sales?
  3. Is my site ready for high mobile traffic?
  4. How much do I stand to lose if something goes wrong and I haven’t prepared my store?

In this blog post, we’ll outline some preparation strategies you can use to assess your site today and prepare it for the “most wonderful time of the year.”

The Ghost of Holidays Past: Using Historical Data to Make Predictions

Use the data you have from past holidays to get a solid footing on what you could expect this year. What happened last year, and the year before that? By comparing traffic and revenue from previous years, you can spot trends and improve your predictions for the upcoming holiday season.

To do this successfully, context is key. Keep in mind the specific sales you ran from year to year, and adjust your predictions in light of that data. For example, say you ran a 3-day 20% off sale last year, but this year you’re doing a 3-day 50% off sale. You can safely predict higher traffic this year, so you’ll need to prepare for that accordingly.

Test-Drive Your Sled: Load Testing Your Systems

Once you’ve gathered your historical data, it’s time to look at the here and now. Load testing is an excellent way to get a better understanding of what your site can currently handle. But what is it? Load testing is a process that simulates real world situations on your website. For instance, if you are anticipating 50,000 visitors on Black Friday, you can simulate that load and see how your site would perform if it were hit with that much traffic today. Then you can use the results to pinpoint the exact areas where your site needs performance optimizations.

Spreading Cheer: Operational Preparation

Having a plan in place prior to the holidays is essential for creating a flawless customer experience. It ensures that your business continues to run smoothly and that your customers enjoy stellar customer service. Operational safeguards can help you nail the details and turn shoppers into followers. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Update Transactional Emails with holiday shipping details or operational changes
  • Set up alternate payment methods in case your primary payment method fails
  • Enable gift cards. It’s simple to do and silly not to have them!

Trim the Tree: Boosting Your Holiday Marketing Efforts

While preparing for the holidays, consider what small projects you can do now that could have a big payoff for your holiday sales, like:

  • Checkout optimization
  • Marketable Landing Pages
  • Targeted Landing Pages

Wrapping It Up: Get the Most Value for Your Dollars

At Gauge, we work hand-in-hand with our clients to prepare for many different holiday scenarios. Part of a successful partnership with our clients is ensuring that they have the most successful holiday season possible.

It’s important for every eCommerce retailer to take steps to plan for your holiday selling season. If you aren’t a Gauge client but you have questions or need help getting your store where it needs to be, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help you!

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