Technology is the key to retail success during the November sales season

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Source: Unsplash / Paul Hanaoka.

For technologists working in the retail industry, the November sales season is the key time of year when they can expect their systems to be pushed to the limit. From Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday (BFCM) to Click Frenzy, and beyond, the technology and backend that underpins any online storefront must be foolproof before the inevitable influx of traffic.

In 2020, Commonwealth Bank data showed that online spending for clothing and electronics increased by more than 100% over the four-day BCFM period, compared to the average amount spent over the previous three weeks.

And this year, with ShopifyWith the Australian Consumer Shoppers Survey predicting that 90% of BFCM shoppers plan to buy online, we are sure to see an absolute wave of activity with peak spikes throughout November. .

A massive increase in traffic or a rush of transactions can massively influence the performance and page speed of an ecommerce site. This is not just a site or cart abandonment issue right now, but in the long run it can also irreparably damage a brand’s image and the ability to capture loyal customers. .

Without a solid plan to strengthen the back-end, all product, sales and marketing efforts from the perspective of BFCM risk being entirely wasted. The longer you delay optimizing your website for speed, the more customers will flock to a competitor who serves them faster, or a website that doesn’t give in under pressure.

The need for speed

Track everything and optimize the speed, as you can. Evaluate the essentials, especially on the most frequently visited pages, and eliminate or compress anything that is excessive. Make sure all images are optimized with lazy loading, so that they only load when a user sees them – this will improve the initial page load speed.

But why this need for speed? Our recent survey found that saving time is one of the top three reasons Australian consumers will shop online during BFCM. Customers are now quite used to shopping online, not least thanks to the need for blocks – it means they know what they want and know how to turn to an alternative if their experience isn’t up to par.

Mobile speed must be equally robust. For three consecutive years, Shopify stores recorded more mobile purchases than desktop purchases over the entire BFCM period. In 2021 in particular, for younger and middle-aged consumers, the dominant device for making online purchases is a mobile phone (67% and 63% respectively) and for older consumers it is a personal computer. office (69%).

People are notoriously impatient when it comes to slow mobile load speeds and will click to a competitor’s site if they have to wait. A website needs to be fully mobile responsive and blazingly fast, even in peak times, such as immediately after a TV commercial airs, or in the last moments before a sale officially ends.

Test add-ons in advance

Synchronized inventory, personalized product discovery, live chatbots and other add-ons should all be considered and tested well in advance so that the system is fully prepared to handle the growing number of customers. and product updating. Rather than seeing them as good last-minute add-ons, consider bringing them into the website ASAP, so customers can tune in to their presence and test their abilities before the BFCM big rush.

Successfully testing and retesting the technology is the only way to ensure full uptime and minimize downtime, which will do wonders in keeping customers shopping at your site.


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