We see it every year! Retailers nail down their social media and email marketing strategy for Black Friday but make the rookie mistake of not making sure that their servers are ready. It’s easy to underestimate the impact Black Friday can have on your server. Huge traffic spikes can lead to poor site performance (or even a crash) –and errors should be expected.
Here’s some tips before the madness starts:
1. Make sure your website is scalable. With a flexible hosting plan, you can easily increase bandwidth, memory, and storage to prep for a spike in traffic. When the madness is over, you can go back to normal. If you don’t how to do this, contact your hosting company as soon as possible.
2. Keep the user experience simple. It may go against everything you believe, but this isn’t the time to pull out all the bells and whistles. Not when it comes to your website, anyway. People want a very simple and seamless user experience when shopping online. They don’t care about your pop ups and flashing adverts (you’d be surprised but we still get requests for this in 2018). Keeping things simple helps reduce page load time by minimizing the data needed to display images and graphics. In addition, easier navigation and a basic display helps keep things easy for customers to find.
3. Optimise your mobile site. Mobile sales are important on any day, but especially on Black Friday. Hundreds of thousands of sales are being completed on mobile devices and that number is growing. But to ensure a customer does in fact checkout, you need to make sure your mobile site is optimised and provides a very easy shopping experience. Ensure there’s online payment gateways setup or allow the user to pay via SnapScan or Zapper. Forcing them to shop online and then EFT is just not cool anymore.
4. Start testing! Conduct regular tests on your website to make sure it’s functioning properly. Load Testing: This is testing done to anticipate your server’s behavior during both normal and peak traffic. It can help reveal any problems before they occur and allow for time to fix them. User Testing: This is when you test your software in the “real world” under the expected conditions. In this instance, it would mean asking a group of users to rate their experience during the Black Friday rush. And while that information might not be helpful this holiday season, you can certainly make use of those lessons come next year.