Is your Magento store ready for the holiday shopping season?Tick…tick…tick…It’s already that time of year! As a retailer, its your favorite time of the year. But its also your least favorite….There is so much preparation work, so much inventory/cash tied up, and so many things that can wrong. Do not let your Magento store’s performance slow you down this Christmas shopping season. After working in e-commerce since 2003, and with Magento specifically for about 4 years now, I’ve seen a lot of things that can go wrong. Preparing now is well worth the investment. Here is my top 5 list of questions you need to ask yourself in order to prepare for this holiday shopping season, and quickly!
- Can your server actually handle the increase in traffic and simultaneous shoppers? This is something that somehow everyone overlooks. That new site redesign and amazing promotions aren’t going to even show up if your server crashes. And its much easier to address potential problem points now than it is during a site-down situation. If you do not have a system administrator on staff, I would recommend consulting with one right away. Here at Creatuity we have a full-time server administrator that works with all of our clients to ensure that their server is performing well, optimized, and the right fit for the amount of traffic they are expecting this holiday season. I absolutely cannot stress enough how many clients I’ve seen that aren’t getting the actual server configuration they are paying for, or have had someone inexperienced with Magento do their server setup. These are costly mistakes, particularly during peak times.
- How long does it take shoppers to complete checkout? If your checkout process seems slow now, imagine when shoppers are in a frenzy trying to buy dozens of gifts simultaneously and compete for time-sensitive or limited quantity deals. There are several One Step Checkout extensions that are inexpensive and quick for your Magento developer to install. Stop putting off this upgrade, it is worth the investment and shopper will thank you.
- Are you answering the “How quick can I get it?” question? That question is on every shoppers mind. Magento’s default “In Stock” status just doesn’t tell them much. There are tons of creative and inexpensive ways to communicate with your shoppers exactly when they can get this super cool gift. Whether its a simple standard graphic on all product pages or a more definite date-calculation on a per-product method, make sure you are answering this question, or risk losing the sale entirely.
- Does your product page convert well? Even a small improvement in conversion rate can add up to big bucks this time of year. Tackle those projects that you keep putting off, like moving that Add to Cart button above the fold. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend having a consultant that specializes in usability review your site as a whole, but particularly that product page. Nearly every day I make recommendations on ways that my clients can improve their conversion rates. A fresh perspective really does change things, and a trained eye will notice things that you do not.
- Are you making those transactional emails count? If you haven’t customized your Magento transactional email templates, now is absolutely the time! Don’t let Aunt Sue’s only visit to your store be when she’s buying little Johnny a present. Give her incentive to come back to buy herself (and maybe little Johnny, too) something else. Be sure to comply with the anti-spam regulations of course, but there’s absolutely no harm in adding a quick Discount Code to that shipping confirmation email. Ride this increase in traffic all the way through January…It does not have to stop in December if you keep your holiday shoppers coming back.