Some people spend their whole year waiting for Christmas, or Chanukah, or even Halloween. But if you’re the proprietor of an e-commerce site, you spend your whole year waiting for Black Friday.
And guess what? It’s almost here: Business is about to get booming.
The National Retail Federation calculated the total amount of retail sales–online and in-store–to be $691.9 billion between November and December of 2017–a 5.5% bump from the previous year.
While it’s hard to pinpoint an exact number from mobile alone, it’s fair to say that it’s significant.
What does that mean for you? It’s time to get your app in order. With big sites like Amazon and Walmart to compete with, you can’t risk a poor customer experience.
We have been developing e-commerce apps for years, and we know exactly what to expect when traffic surges. These are our best tips to help ensure you have everything covered on the big day (and throughout the rest of the season):
1] Plan Ahead
Don’t head into the biggest shopping season of the year unprepared. For many retailers, preparations start as early as June or July–because the sooner you start planning, the more time you’ll have to ensure the best possible user experience.
If you’re a little behind, don’t worry: there’s still time to make things right.
Start by looking at your data from last year. Using Google Analytics, you can determine:
- When traffic started to increase.
- When sales grew and when they started to slow down again.
- Popular sources for mobile traffic, and how long those visitors stayed on your site.
- Your most (and least) successful promotions.
Try to identify patterns, so you can adjust your sales strategy accordingly. If you find that one promotion outperformed all the others, replicate that campaign again this year. If 90% of your traffic came from Facebook, focus your marketing on that platform.
This isn’t the time to reinvent the wheel and try something new. Between filling orders, handling customer requests, and putting out fires, the holidays are already stressful enough. When it comes to your mobile app, stick with what works.
2] Optimize for Speed
It can be tempting spending all your time worrying about site design: you want to lure customers in with flashy promos, huge graphics, and interactive wish lists. But let’s face it: none of that is worth anything if the page won’t even load.
This holiday season, site speed should be your #1 priority. Studies have shown that 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less–and that 40% of them will abandon a site if it takes more than 3.
With our Azure Consulting Services, you can be sure you’re ready to go. We’ll help you build a highly scalable custom application structure based on your business’ unique needs—and we’ll make sure there are no interruptions to service when things get busy.
3] Keep the UX Simple
Holiday shoppers are already stressed out long before they arrive on your site. The last thing they want is a complicated online experience–and if you make it hard for them, they’ll likely just hop on over to the next shop.
To keep things simple:
- Don’t require users to log in up front (or at all).
- Minimize the data needed to display products for a faster load time.
- Implement an easy-to-use, familiar navigation setup.
- Place the best deals and the most popular products right on the homepage, with one-click viewing.
- Keep all Black Friday deals together on one page and make it easy to find.
4] Optimize Checkout
Fact: your visitors’ checkout experience is just as big a part of UX as anything else on your site. Perhaps even more so.
Just because you’ve gotten a customer all the way through the funnel and to the checkout doesn’t mean you have them hooked–and this would be a terrible time to lose them.
Cart abandonment is a growing problem for many online retailers–and the number one reason cited is unexpected shipping costs.
Here are some other reasons customers bail at the last minute (and what you can do about it):
- Long and confusing checkout: your checkout process shouldn’t take 10 different steps. Make it as simple as possible, and always offer a “guest” option–no one wants to take the time to create an account just to buy one thing.
- No express shipping available: during the holidays, shoppers are anxious and want to receive their purchases as quickly as possible. Always provide a variety of shipping options for their convenience including (free!) express shipping and in-store pick-up.
- Couldn’t find a coupon code: normally we wouldn’t encourage advertising promo codes during the checkout process, but during the holidays we’ll make an exception. It’s a nice little “gift” to offer your customers, and they’ll appreciate the savings during a time when they’re already spending a ton of money.
5] Amp Up Security
This isn’t something that your customers will necessarily be aware of–but that’s ok. Security is the one thing they should never have to think about.
Unfortunately, hackers know that e-commerce sites are overloaded, and proprietors are overwhelmed, at this time of year–and they use the opportunity to look for an easy way in.
If you want to impress holiday shoppers with your mobile app, make it a great experience. Optimize your server, highlight your best products, and make shopping easy. We can help you eliminate downtimes and ensure the best user experience possible–call us today to find out how.