December 1, 2017

How to keep customers happy this holiday season

Fredrik Bergström

Principal Consultant, Omnichannel Commerce, Tieto

What’s the secret to retail success? You guessed it – forward planning for the Christmas shopping bonanza. Follow these steps to keep your webstore afloat and revenue flowing.

To strengthen the resilience of e-commerce platforms is more important than ever. Online sales forecasts for 2017 indicate a staggering 17 percent increase from last year and, as always, the holiday season will be the litmus test for retailers.

With these statistics, expectations are running high. E-tailers need to be acutely aware of how changing consumer behaviour can affect the uptime of webstores this December and beyond. For example, surveys show that a 0,1 per cent in page loading speed can result in 1 per cent higher turnover.

This begs the question: can you risk falling behind?

As unprecedented peak demand is likely to hit e-commerce sites this Christmas, it is worth underscoring that a robust webstore solution is the only way to ensure unimpeded sales. In addition, whatever improvements you make now will help lay the foundation for a better customer experience in 2018.

Keeping customers happy when pressure builds is perhaps the biggest challenge retailers face this time of year. There is no shortage of examples, including this one:

“A major e-tailer we work with had different scalability options installed for different areas of the business. The webstore could easily support many simultaneous visitors, but when it came to the check-out process, the site could only handle a few dozen purchases at a time. By choosing to add a CDN service (Content Delivery Network), the e-tailer could suddenly handle thousands of visitors all buying products at the same time, and thereby increased its sales during the peak period."

These types of insights can help make the difference between success or failure in the run up to the busy Christmas period.

Validate your system in advance – and keep monitoring

Toys, jewelry, books, consumer electronics and home furnishings. These are all top performing retail categories around Christmas. But nearly all business sectors, regardless of genre, are at their peak during the month of December. Taking precautions to ensure that your webstore can deliver on promises – and maximize returns – is simply a matter of good governance.

Once you have identified the bottlenecks of your system, you can easily see where adjustments are needed.

By choosing the right e-commerce provider with expertise in security and performance, you can automate the process of scaling capacity to meet peak demand on your site.

Think multiple touchpoints

A common pitfall among many retailers is that they only plan for a spike in site visits and purchases via computers. Don’t make that mistake!

Remember that a significant portion of sales during the holidays takes place via smartphones and tablets. Therefore, the shopping experience needs to be seamless and up to scratch regardless of the devices your customers choose to use.

By trimming your webstore functionality in all channels to ensure speed, scalability and uptime you can make the shopping experience better than your next competitor’s, which is never more than two clicks away. And simulating is often the ideal way forward.

If you want to know how robust your e-commerce platform really is, don’t hesitate to contact us for a trial run of scenarios and solutions for meeting peak demand sales targets.   

That said, avoid emergency fixes if you can.

Powering up for the holidays – 3 tips for enabling peak e-tailing sales  

1. Scale up your cloud to create a frictionless experience – and to avoid a loss of visitors when congestion builds

2. Make sure that your e-commerce platform performs well on all devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets

3. Avoid making changes to basic code before the peak period, as this may cause problems that can jeopardize Christmas season sales

Read more about our offerings Tieto Web Performance and Tieto Web Defender.

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