It's That Time of Year Again - Getting Ready for the Holidays!
By Aaron Rudger | October 24, 2012
The holiday shopping season is just a month away. At this point, you and other online retailers are deep into stress testing and trouble-shooting potential issues that can affect your e-commerce website when the busy holiday season hits its height. But have you also prepared for the onslaught of customers expecting a great experience on their smartphones and tablets?
Why should you optimize your mobile site for the holidays? A study from Comscore revealed that 4 out of 5 of the US’s ~86 million smartphone users accessed retail content on their smartphone during July 2012.
Many smartphone users check pricing and deals on their phones even while visiting a physical store. If your site is fast and responsive, you could win new customers or solidify relationships with current users. While mobile shoppers love apps, mobile web enables them to search new sites quickly and efficiently during sales.
Assuming you have a mobile-friendly site, here are three questions to ask to ensure a smooth holiday shopping experience:
What is weighing down your site?
Don’t be afraid to trim down the size of the site with lighter content, less redirects and less heavy items such as large amounts of pictures. On the other hand, you still have to find the balance of an aesthetically pleasing mobile site. You can solve this by having smaller images, using Data URIs (to minimize latency) and following other best practices.
A lighter, faster site, may be the key to keeping your customers from going to a competitor's site. Remember, holiday shoppers are stressed out and busy! Anything your organization can do to make it easy for them to shop will be rewarded with higher conversions and increased loyalty.
Are you taking advantage of holiday opportunities?
Mobile websites are important for all retailers because they’re far more discoverable than apps, which require a download from an app store.During the holidays, you may be tempted to collect buyer information. Although this is a common practice in social retail, companies should weigh what’s gained in collecting junk data against the potential loss of real prospects by introducing multiple barriers to consideration of your merchandise.
Be sure to utilize an integrated and branded campaign across multiple platforms to reach as many potential customers as possible during the holiday season. In addition, mobile coupons are on the rise and can be a perfect addition to your mobile strategy this holiday season.
In a recent infographic, Microsoft Tag reported that 20% of smartphone users currently acquire and redeem mobile coupons on a regular basis, with that number expected to grow to 30% by 2013.
Do you load test and monitor the site regularly?
Load testing will ensure that your mobile site can handle the influx of traffic when the holidays hit.
Mobile load testing allows you to simulate load and stress your mobile websites in anticipation of both expected and unexpected traffic spikes. This includes peak shopping periods, promotions or big news stories that drive many more thousands or millions of customers than usual to visit, to peruse, to click and/or buy.
Implementing a 24/7 monitoring method will alert you to any potential performance and availability issues, allowing you to troubleshoot effectively and in real-time.
It is not uncommon to see increases in mobile traffic outside of traditional working hours, and with special deals and midnight launches during the holidays, you will need to be sure to test at different hours as well.
The final question remains: Is your mobile site ready for the holidays?