Preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018

Are you preparing for the holidays?

For eCommerce professionals, it’s never too early to start preparing for the holiday shopping season. Summer is upon us and Black Friday will be here before you know it. You’re probably already thinking about your promotions, what inventory you will need, and what clever sales pitch you’ll use to get the dollars rolling in.

But prepping for the holidays involves more than planning your marketing campaigns. To get the most out of that clever promotion, you need to make sure that your site is running at peak performance as well.

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 review some of the preparation strategies that we outlined last year. (They never go out of style!) We’ll also offer some fresh ideas you can use to assess and improve your site.

The Tried and True: Steps to Prepare your Store

Step 1: Check Your Historical Data

To get a good idea of what to expect, analyze the data you have from past holidays Do you know what happened last year? The year before that? By comparing traffic and revenue from previous years, you can spot trends and improve your 2018 predictions.

Keep context in mind when you’re making your estimates. 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. If you took our advice from last year, you should already have most of this data prepared. If not, get crackin’!

Step 2: Load Test Your Site

Load testing is an excellent way to see what your site can currently handle. But what is it? Load testing is a process that simulates real-world situations on your website. Essentially, it’s test-driving. For instance, let’s say you’ve checked your historical data, compared it to your planned promotions, and you estimate you’ll have up to 50,000 site 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 problem areas and optimize performance.

Step 3: Prep Your Operations

Operational safeguards can help you nail the details and turn one-off gift shoppers into long-term fans. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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

Super-Size Your Holiday Marketing Efforts

Consider what small projects you can do now that could have a big payoff for your holiday sales and beyond. Consider ideas like:

  1. Checkout optimization
  2. Marketable landing pages
  3. Targeted landing pages
  4. Fresh homepage designs
  5. Improved search
  6. Post-purchase personalization

For some more great holiday tips, check out this 26-point checklist or these 15 successful marketing strategies from our partner Shopify Plus. 

Make the Most of this Holiday

For Gauge, being a great partner means making sure clients 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!

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