How to cash in on eCommerce this Christmas – Part 2

Date: 15th October 2014
Author: Deri Jones

Christmas future…12 Tips of Christmas…

It seems that it’s not simply Christmas and sale periods that are important for today’s eCommerce sites. Following the US trend for key shopping days before Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have also emerged as critical shopping days in the UK.

News headlines continually reinforce the pitfalls that occur when a system is unable to cope with peak loads see the recent DVLA website crash for example. All savvy eCommerce organisations implement Load Testing this time of year as well as additional monitoring, to see if a site will cope with real usage levels in the run up to Christmas.

black friday sale image

So what’s different in eCommerce this holiday season?

Firstly websites need to be ready sooner to maximise this year’s Black Friday (28th November) and Cyber Monday (1st December).

Testing mobile journeys will also be extremely important this year. IBM recently released a report highlighting the need for mobile ready websites if retailers are to cash in on Christmas sales this year. It’s easy to get bogged down with testing on the multitude of browsers out there and ending up with too much test data. It’s better to concentrate on testing the leading browsers for each operating system, so Safari for iPad, and for Android the default browser (AOSP).

The trend for ‘Click and Collect’ is expected to overtake home delivery this Christmas. As we discussed in our blog Capitalising on click and collect in time for Christmas it’s important to monitor right to the end of your journeys and to randomly select different delivery options such as click and collect.

We’ve put together 12 top tips to help you ensure that your website delivers a smooth, responsive experience during the peak holiday season. Here’s a few to get you started, or you can download our complete list of tips to prepare your eCommerce site for Christmas here

eCommerce web performance tips for Christmas

Here are a few quick, low-cost tips to ensure that your website is ready for a bumper online Christmas.

1. Load test critical ‘User Journeys’ Load test around 3 months prior to peak periods so you have time to make the necessary amendments.

2. Monitor key mobile/multi device journeys Monitor key mobile journeys on the appropriate browser, it’s critical that your site is mobile ready this Christmas.

3. Monitor and load test right to the journey end including ‘Click and Collect’ or delivery options Ensure monitoring and testing makes random choices about your order fulfilment to check all these options are working correctly.

4. Check for obvious pricing discrepancies Avoid bad PR and set up criteria to alert (intelligent alerts) on obvious pricing problems like multiple items at the same price.

5. Keep journey pages small In this age of mobile web performance optimisation is critical. Check your monitoring for oversized pages; ensure images are optimised, Java Script and CSS is minified and also consider deferred loading.

6. Monitor un-buyable products Avoid customer frustration by monitoring 24/7 across your entire website for products that are findable by your customers but for a number of reasons, can’t be added to basket  from the worst case ‘ Add’  button is missing, through to ‘out of stock’.

Download our complete list of tips to prepare your eCommerce site for Christmas and make sure your site’s ready for a bumper online Christmas.  

Download Christmas eCommerce Tips

Read Part 1 of this blog – Christmas past…learning from the stats…and the mistakes