Conventionally, festivals across the world have been the drivers of increased sales, for both online and offline stores. With e-commerce revolutionizing the online shopping sector, more and more people choose to shop online. The choice is propelled by the ease of purchase, the huge number of choices, seamless online payments and most importantly, the attractive discounts offered by the platforms. As an e-commerce website owner, your primary goal should be to utilize this surge in traffic during holiday seasons to your advantage. But it is easier said than done. You need to plan in advance to handle such traffic surges in an e-commerce website. You wouldn’t want your website to be experiencing frequent downtime during such peak hours.
The starting point to optimizing any website is the types of hosting you are using. With the multiplicity of robust options, e-commerce business owners are spoilt for choice. However, hosting types like Cloud Hosting or VPS Hosting can prove to be powerful as well as an affordable hosting solution for e-commerce websites. The scalability and advanced security associated with Cloud Hosting can help you tackle an unexpected surge in traffic with ease.
Steps You Can Take to Manage E-commerce Website Traffic During Peak Season:
- Ensure your website doesn’t experience downtime: Downtime could make or break your fortune during the holiday season. Even if you have done everything right, like stocking up, advertisements, etc., the whole objective would go down the drain if your website is down and inaccessible. Traditional hosting solutions employ shared resources which may fall short for an e-commerce site during a sudden traffic surge. Your website may give-in to the overburden. However, Cloud Hosting is the best platform to host your e-commerce website. Talk with your hosting provider in advance, to know about the limitations of your hosting type and get prepared in advance. You can install tools to monitor your website’s uptime score. Surveys suggest that the top e-commerce websites had an uptime score of 99.9% during a seasonal traffic surge.
- Ensure high page speed: A page load time of more than 3 seconds can drive away more than 40% of your potential customers. Not only page load time is essential for SEO rankings but also is an important factor to enhance user experience. The bottom line is speed sells. You can utilize tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which not only measures different parameters related to page speed but also gives you recommendations for improvement. A mere 2-second acceleration in page speed can improve your conversion rate by a staggering 66%.
- Boost security to give confidence to the customer: Ensure your website is secured to overcome the incoming onslaught of traffic. There are many ways to make your website secured. All the admins should use a two-step authentication process. The server should have a firewall and antivirus installed. Also, make your website secure by being prepared for any DDoS attacks. Websites with SSL certificate installed, use an encryption system to communicate information with the server. This is a must-have feature for e-commerce websites as they store valuable information of the users such as credit card details and personal information.
- Make use of the CDN: A Content Delivery Network or CDN works by creating static content of the website and storing them on servers across the globe. When the website is accessed by the user, the information is loaded from the nearest proximate location, thus fetching the information at lightning speed. This also avoids overburdening of the server, eliminating repeated HTTP requests to it. CDN also acts as the first line of defence against cyberattacks and DDoS as the attackers won’t be able to find out your original IP address. There are many CDNs available in the market, like Cloudflare, Key CDN etc.
- Optimize the mobile version of your website: Greater number of people are turning to their mobile phones for the internet. Just having a mobile phone optimized website may not be enough for an e-commerce website. In fact, having an app for different platforms would be a great way to handle the seasonal traffic surge. For seamless purchase, a user may not have to do excessive zooming and scrolling. There are many tools which can analyze and give reports whether a particular website is mobile-friendly or not. Tools like Google’s Search Console provides actionable insights for your e-commerce website.
- Enhance customer support beforehand: Increase in traffic for your website would lead to increased work in the backend of your business. There would be many more customer queries, many more order resolution requirements. It would be prudent to beef up customer support during peak seasons. Marinating a FAQ page on the website can cut down many of the user’s queries. If the website can answer their queries, it would lead to a better conversion rate. Also, live chats and prompt email resolution for their problems can go a long way in dealing with an increased number of customers.
- Simplify the checkout process: Around 70% of abandoned cart rates are caused by multiple checkout process-based issues like complicated checkout, website crash, not enough payment methods, unsatisfactory shipping policy, etc. Also, creating too many pages increases the size of your website, making it load slower. It is a good idea to streamline the process to a few steps. Having a quick buy button next to the product can save customer’s time as well as not overburden your server.
It may not be a good idea to wait for the last minute to make the necessary changes. There are a lot of challenges involved in capitalizing the seasonal surge in traffic for your e-commerce website. Although there is a lot of potential during holiday seasons, if not done correctly it may do more harm than good. Websites experiencing downtime, or unsecured monetary transaction threats may result in damaging the reputation of the company. The first step in making your website traffic-ready is by choosing Cloud Hosting, which can help you tackle the seasonal traffic seamlessly. You can easily ramp-up resources as per your requirement to handle any traffic for an e-commerce website. From the control panel, you can monitor your website for any downtime and access 24*7 customer support to help your business website flourish.
Tell us the strategies you adopt for the traffic surges on your business website in the comments below.