Well......it looks like we've arrived at that time of year again! Everybody loves a bargain don't they??
This is probably the most lucrative time of the year for a retailer, its coming up to Christmas and everyone is looking for a last minute bargain to help to fill up their stockings. In the grand scheme of things, a lot of retailers (both high street and online) rely on this period to bump up their sales and profits.
All in all, this all sounds like a winning situation, retailers just have to sit back and wait for customers to come pouring in and spend their hard earned money!
The most important thing to remember around this time is to be well prepared, this is important for every size and type of retailer. There are several steps you can take to make sure that you are all set for Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Utilising these tips will make sure you are in a position to make the most out of the increase in potential clients and customers!
- CACHING - Onto our first point, to enable your website content to load more quickly it is essential that you try to cache as much information relating to your site as possible. Caching prevents you having to download content from your server which can take much longer and will ultimately slow down content delivery. It might be worth looking into using a content delivery network such as Cloudflare, this can help reduce speed loss during the days leading up to predicted traffic spikes. This service is free to use, and is extremely useful when you are looking for content to download as quickly as possible.
- PRIOR PREPARATION - Prior preparation mitigates......yes you already know the rest. It is a smart move to make sure that you are in a position to cope with more orders than you anticipate over the Black Friday period. This might seem a bit like overkill, however, it is extremely important as a business to be able to honour your commitments to clients and be in a position to deal with each and every order to the highest of standards. Happy customers tend to return! Making sure you have ample stock of your best seller, and having enough staff working alongside you to help meet demands are just a couple of ways in which you can prepare yourself!
- DON'T ALTER CONTENT - Something I would advise against would be the changing any of your website content in or around the Black Friday Period. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly if you happen to be working on your website and customers are online, having a look around (or buying something we hope!), the content delivery can slow down considerably. This may leave a negative impression of your website on new visitors and may add inconvenience for your regular visitors. Secondly, its important that your 'brand' holds together, meaning that you want the presentation of your website to be as consistent and cohesive as possible to your target audience. This can be all the way down to smaller features such as 'where products are placed throughout the site' and 'how your displays look'.
- DO AN 'AUDIT' - It is best to have a regular review of your website from time to time, to make sure everything is in its right place and is in optimum working condition. If you haven't done this for a while, I would certainly recommend doing this in the run up to the Black Friday period. I personally have a look at all of my databases running up to peak periods and make sure that they are all optimised (see this guide). Also, I would recommend turning off non-essential features present on your site such as 'live chat functions' and 'moving graphics'. Reducing the workload in preparation for busy periods will ensure your website runs at peak efficiency during the upcoming busy period.
- GO TO BED EARLY THE NIGHT BEFORE.......... - Because you want to be your sparkling best for all of your eager visitors. Don't forget to stock up on coffee and tea and above all enjoy Black Friday, it only happens once a year ;)
These tips may only save a second or 2 of loading time for each user. However, time saved makes a difference around this time. This could ultimately mean the difference between a visitor making a sale or growing tired of waiting for your site to load and purchasing their product somewhere else.....
As always we are happy to chat if you have any questions relating to this article (or if you just fancy....a chat). Please get in touch via a support ticket (open a ticket) to our hosting department and we will do our best to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.