Why Small Business Owners Need to Make Sure their E-Commerce Sites are Ready for the Holidays

by / Monday, 03 November 2014 / Published in Technology For Business

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The month of November is when small business owners scramble to make sure that they are ready to meet the rush of the holiday shopping season. With a lot to prepare for, from Small Business Saturday to your clearance sales and New Year blowouts, business owners are in the midst of preparing for a marathon of sales that can take on the same intensity as a sprint. One thing that they must do in particular to get ready is make sure that their e-commerce sites are ready to handle the influx of holiday traffic they are expecting, and there is more than one aspect of whether or not a website is read to weather heavy traffic. Here are three areas that your business should ensure are strong regarding your e-commerce site before you roll out holiday marketing and start ramping up your efforts to drive traffic and conversions.

Design. The design of your page refers not only to its aesthetic optimization, but to its form meeting function. Is the site plan organized in such a way as to allow your customers to logically find what they are looking for? Depending on whether you are using WordPress or a similar CMS, or have had your site coded in custom PHP or HTML, it may be easier or more difficult to rearrange pages, especially on an expedited basis, but be honest with yourself whether or not your layout makes sense for creating conversions.

Security. Security for small business owners is just as serious a concern as for larger corporations, since digital criminals will often target small businesses knowing that they don’t assume they will ever be targeted in the first place. Make sure your forms are secure, and if you are running a CMS, that you have updated plugins and are not running anything that might have exploitable loopholes. Consider running a third party security audit if you have no native IT support.

Analytics. If your site doesn’t already have analytics and conversion tracking set up, make sure you get it installed right away. The value of knowing how much traffic you are getting, what pages are converting and the length of time your customers stay on your website is infinitely valuable. If you are running an e-commerce site without some form of traffic analytics, it is akin to being a pilot with the radar shut off- flying blind.

Form management. The forms that your customers will need to fill out on your website to order products or schedule appointments need to be engineered through A/B testing as well as aligned with your goals in terms of collecting customer information. There are a few trade-offs that come into play when you design your forms, and you should also be aware that if you plan on using user submitted information to contact leads at a later date, you will need to obtain prior written consent for many methods, so you may wish to incorporate that into your forms or not, depending. Other factors include the number of fields, and beyond that the number of required ones in order to submit a lead.

Photo Credit to infocux Technologies on Flickr

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