Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and this month we’re helping our eCommerce clients gear up for an increase in traffic and ensure their websites are ready to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers. And if you’re a non-profit organization gearing up for a big Giving Tuesday fundraising push, your site’s speed, user experience, technical performance, and security are just as important for reaching and retaining donors. Here's our eCommerce website development checklist to help you prepare for the holidays.
Before launching any eCommerce or donation platform, your web development team should have conducted rigorous functionality, integration, and performance testing. Still, it’s a good idea to conduct load and stress tests to ensure your website can handle a surge in traffic. Make sure your site speed and load times are optimized to prevent delays. For optimal performance, page size should be below 3MB and should become interactive within 5.3 seconds. Slower load times will cause visitors to abandon your site, reducing conversions and sales or donations.
Ensure all payment gateways are functioning correctly. Even minor glitches can cause cart abandonment and reduce sales or donation volume. Test various payment methods to verify they are working smoothly.
Traffic Spikes and Scalability Plan
Ask your hosting provider what accommodations are in place to quickly scale up your resources if traffic exceeds expectations. Review your hosting plan to ensure it will support increased traffic and will not implement bandwidth throttling or outages if your traffic spikes. Are you sharing rack space with a budget hosting provider? Talk to BoxCrush
about managed hosting on a dedicated server.
Security: HTTPS and Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
HTTPS protects websites from attacks and lets customers know your site is protected and trustworthy. Make sure all links on your site are pointing to HTTPS links. Regularly scan for vulnerabilities, and keep your website’s CMS up-to-date to ensure access to the latest security patches.
SSL is a standard technology for encrypting and protecting usernames and passwords, as well as forms used to submit personal information, documents, or images. Confirm that your SSL certificate is up-to-date.
Your website should be mobile-friendly and responsive year-round, but it’s a good idea to review mobile responsiveness before your busy season to ensure a smooth shopping and browsing experience on all devices. Bonus: mobile-friendly sites perform better in search results! Make sure interactive elements like buttons and links are not too small or too close together and mobile font size is at least 16 pixels.
Set up a dedicated customer support system to handle inquiries and issues. Ensure online chat, inquiry, quote request forms, and other contact methods are functioning properly. If you sell directly to consumers, have a clear return and exchange policy customers can easily find on your website.
Technical and On-Page SEO
Use a site audit tool such as Ahrefs
to monitor your organic keywords and top pages. Check for broken links, server errors, and redirect loops that can cause delays and diminish search rankings. Make sure your images and files are optimized for fast loading.
Promotions and Discounts
Create and schedule your promotions and discounts. Ensure these promotions are prominently displayed on your website. Perform functionality testing to ensure your discount codes are properly applied at checkout.
Prepare and schedule email campaigns to promote your Black Friday deals or Giving Tuesday campaigns. Segment your email list for targeted marketing. If you’re offering a discount that is tied to a specific email promotion or other digital campaign, ensure your analytics platform is ready to report on your conversions. For non-profits, email segmentation will help you communicate your goals and mission to both your volunteers and your donors. And make sure donors know if there’s a chance to have their donation matched if they donate within a certain timeframe.
Social Media Integration
Prepare social media content to promote your Black Friday discounts or fundraising goals. When your website is integrated with your CRM and social media profiles, you’ll have access to comprehensive analytics on the performance of your social campaigns.
Shipping and Fulfillment
Clearly communicate shipping times and options. Ensure your fulfillment process is efficient and reliable. For donations, make sure your system has automated emails set to trigger that send receipts for donors’ tax purposes.
Optimize Your Google Accounts
If you use Google accounts
to manage your online presence, ads, or analytics, make sure they’re connected and recording data accurately. Ensure your Google Business Profile is up-to-date with your holiday store hours and your Google Ads account is connected to Google Analytics to provide the most comprehensive data on your ad performance, traffic sources, and conversions.
Post-Black Friday/Giving Tuesday Strategy
Last, you want to make sure that you keep all of those new customers and donors who found you! Plan for customer/donor retention by optimizing your post-purchase experience (thank you emails, shipping and delivery confirmations, and other follow-ups), loyalty programs, and return and exchange services. Also, monitor and respond to new online reviews, and consider an email campaign to thank your customers and ask them to rate their experience.
Need a pre-Black Friday or Giving Tuesday performance audit?
Talk to BoxCrush. We are a full-service Indianapolis web design, development, and marketing agency that specializes in eCommerce website development for retailers, non-profit organizations, and more. Call us at 317-816-9353 or reach out by using the form below.