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Sale season
With the festive season fast approaching, it is time to get prepared for the two busiest and most profitable shopping days of the year – Black Friday (26th November) and Cyber Monday (29th November). 

Black Friday traditionally is a day for physical shopping, whereas Cyber Monday was created exclusively for internet-only discounts. However, due to the seismic shift in COVID shopping habits, we’ve seen many retailers choosing to run their “Black Friday” sales online, across the whole of November to keep up with the demand.

The shopping extravaganza brings in huge profits for retailers across the globe, with recent research from Future plc suggesting that Brits are set to spend £200bn across the festive season. 

A test for the virtual high street
In pre-pandemic times, Black Friday saw thousands of shoppers heading to brick-and-mortar stores for their annual shopping bonanza, in an attempt to find the best deals. But with the continued effects of the pandemic, customers are increasingly opting to avoid the highstreets by shopping online, providing a huge opportunity for online e-commerce businesses to cash in on the festive sales. 

With so much anticipated traffic, it is important to thoroughly prepare your website or application to avoid outages, improve the digital experience and reduce shopping cart abandonment. So, how do you plan ahead? We’ve put together some handy optimisation tips a month ahead of the 4-day event:

Consider scaling up
The biggest mistake you could make is to underestimate the impact of a huge spike in traffic on your servers. Downtime for e-commerce websites can be detrimental to your business reputation and finances. So, scaling up your infrastructure to deal with peaks in traffic is a smart move ahead of the festive season. 

Hyve’s cloud services are ideal for e-commerce sites, as you can dynamically add storage resources to improve performance as traffic increases. The additional resources can expand your infrastructure to cover the period of peak activity, and then return to normal capacity after the sales-heavy weekend is over. This ensures that you don’t pay for unused resources all year round.

Review your security
Unfortunately, not all visitors to your site will be wishing to make purchases – they might not even know your brand. Attackers will prey on any security holes in your site, and on a high-load day, it really is like Christmas has come early for them. If your site security isn’t robust, you are open to exploitation, meaning both your businesses and your customer’s data could be compromised. 

DDoS attacks can bring down your site, which can have a devastating effect on your reputation and revenue on days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. At Hyve, our security suite is designed to progressively weaken an attack, using our DDoS Defence System,  Firewalls, VPN and SSL Certificates.

Do a site audit
Whilst most e-commerce sites will be already be regularly maintained and updated, with sale season approaching, it is advisable to further assess the flow and UX of your website. 

When you test your site’s UX, you can see what a customer does – are your landing pages relevant to the ads that took them there? Are there too many pop-ups?  Does it take too long to get from one area of the site to another? Whilst these issues may seem trivial on their own, together they could be factors in your users bouncing off your site and into the arms of another retailer. Ensure you test real customer journeys, such as making a purchase, so that you are confident customers can shop without issues. By gaining a better understanding of traffic coming in and out of the site, conversion rate, and bounce rate, your development team will gain a list of areas to improve and optimise. 

Optimise key pages
It goes without saying that any sale specific pages on your website should be SEO optimised before the event so that customers can find your deals. This could include creating new content, changing page titles, updating meta information, optimising keywords, indexing new pages for Google search, and so on. 

Content on your site should have keywords that are aligned with the sales strategy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which should be different from the rest of the year. Ensuring your product descriptions are informative, unique, and engaging will generate anticipation for the upcoming sale, and let Google know what you are selling so that you rank in search.

Improve your site speed
Site speed is important all year round, but particularly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to Google, if your site doesn’t load in under 3 seconds, you risk losing half of your customers. Using a site speed testing tool, you can gain insights into performance, accessibility, SEO and load times. One of the easiest and quickest ways to keep the page load time down is to compress any images or videos and minimise the amount of data needed to display products. Bloom & Wild’s product director, Sharon Anne Kean commented,

“What’s the minimum information you need to display to get someone to make a purchasing decision? A good example could be not showing all product imagery upfront, and progressively revealing it as users click through the shopping journey.”

Having a high-performance platform will also improve your site and page loading speeds, as well as the option of using a CDN to serve content based on locality during spikes in traffic.

Looking to scale up your resources for the festive season? Get in contact with our friendly team on 0800 6122524 or email sales@hyve.com today.