Best Practices for Online Retailers During the Holiday Season

Posted By: Dydacomp Staff

PARSIPPANY, NJ, December 1, 2011 –

Dydacomp, a leading provider of business technology platforms for small and mid-sized eCommerce and multichannel merchants, today announced a list of best practices that retailers should implement during the busy online shopping period that began on Cyber Monday and continues throughout the holiday season.

In 2011, six of every 10 consumers say they will do their holiday shopping online, according to a report on Dropdowndeals.com. According to that same report, the average consumer will spend nearly $900 during the holidays. Last year, shoppers spent $1.1 billion alone on Cyber Monday, which was a 16 percent increase over the year before. Given the ease of use and deals that can be found online, it benefits merchants to prepare their websites for increased traffic to ensure optimum performance and increase sales.

To meet the demand to shop online, retailers should take the following measures now to ensure their systems are prepared all holiday season:

  • Minimize updates: Minimize, or completely eliminate, site updates over the next six weeks. If critical updates are required they should be done during off-peak hours, between 3 – 8 a.m.
  • Test and Re-test: Design changes should also be kept to a minimum and avoided if the site can go without them. However, many online retailers will want to highlight special holiday promotions online. If updates are made, test those changes thoroughly before they go into production – then test them again. The cost of an error at this time of year is much higher than at lower traffic times. Add software that enables testing in multiple browsers, as there are a number of popular options available and you can’t predict what browser any one customer may be using; create and use a test page, never a live page and keep a backup of the original page in the event there are issues with the new page when it goes live.
  • Prepare for the Best: Imagine the highest number of shoppers or buyers that might visit your site at any one time. Now run a test using that number to see what happens to performance and site behavior. This can be done by using software that simulates many simultaneous shoppers all browsing and clicking at the same time, or the old fashioned way by getting employees, friends and others to all get online at the same time
  • Upgrade rich media solutions: Now that Adobe has announced it will begin phasing out support for Flash, merchants should look to take advantage of other rich media solutions, like HTML5.
  • Organize Data: Do your best to make sure your data, such as product descriptions and codes, prices and inventory on-hand information, is up-to-date, clean and indexed. Any bad data could introduce negative changes that result in lost sales.
  • Keep Open Communication: Always make sure your suppliers support contact information is available and know when they are accessible. Surprisingly, most merchants don’t know the exact times that they can contact their service providers for assistance, and many offer 24/7 customer support services.

“Cyber Monday kicked off the six most important weeks for retailers, as robust sales could result in many retailers closing their books on the year in the black. While Cyber Monday represents the busiest shopping day for online merchants, every day following is an opportunity to increase sales. For those retailers who rely on their eCommerce sites to deliver added holiday revenue throughout the season, ensuring those sites continue to operate effectively throughout the season is of the utmost importance,” said Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp. “Taking the time to put best practices in place can be the difference between a successful holiday season and an average holiday season.”


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