Foreword Online

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Is Your Store's Website Ready for Black Friday?

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 11/17/15 3:17 AM
Topics: holidays, college retail, sales strategies

Black Friday is the biggest sales day of the year for most retailers. And these days, with Black Friday sales happening online more than ever, it's crucial that your store's website is able to handle the demands. Gotta get Grandpa that 16th coffee mug, after all. Below, you'll find an excerpt from a Hubspot article that covers a list of things your store will want to have done before the big day. Give it a read!

Does your website have what it takes to survive Black Friday?

Last year, $1.5 billion in sales were generated on Black Friday -- a new record for the post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday, according to Comscore. In addition to the impressive growth in sales, IBM stated that 51.2% of all ecommerce browsing was from mobile, and 28% of purchases came from mobile devices.

While the scale of opportunity presented by Black Friday is no joke, many businesses -- specifically ecommerce -- fail to adequately prepare their websites for this uptick in traffic. So with the shopping holiday quickly approaching, we've put together a few last-minute tips to ensure your website is ready to handle the influx of traffic and potential sales.

These tips are mainly directed towards ecommerce, however, most of them can be used by any business looking to strengthen their website for instances of high traffic.

Traffic Management

One of the big concerns for marketers and respective IT folks around this time is a surge in traffic. Many websites can see multiple-times the traffic that is standard during other times of the year, and it all happens over the course of a few days. So how do you ensure your website is ready for all of the impending visitors?

1) Contact your CDN provider.

If you utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN), check with your IT team to ensure they have reached out to the CDN provider and planned for the increased traffic.

If you don't utilize a CDN, talk to your web hosting provider and inquire about the traffic limitations and cost of an upgraded server. Generally a better server can help handle increased traffic and sustained volume. Before you agree to anything, make sure you ask about the time it will take to get the new server and any procedure to move over. You will want to be sure your website and content is on the new server before Black Friday to avoid any potential problems on the shopping holiday.

HubSpot customers: If you use the HubSpot Website add-on, you're covered. We have automatically built-in scalability to handle increased traffic and sustained volume over-time.

Website Speed

After analyzing 26,000 websites through Website Grader, we found the average time for a website to display was 3.9 seconds. If your visitors are waiting any longer than three seconds for your website to display, you could be losing some of them -- especially on mobile.

So, how should we ensure our website loads as quickly as possible? There are a few last-minute things we can all do to recover lost milliseconds, which add-up.

2) Compress and resize images.

If you have any images -- especially on your homepage and popular product pages -- make sure they are sized appropriately. For example, if you uploaded a high resolution image of one of your products, but it's only displaying as 500 x 500 on the page, the browser still has to load the entire original image.

If you don't have time to check through your entire site, we'd recommend at least going through your homepage and your top product pages to ensure they are optimized. For more tips and tools to help you reduce your images, check out this post on page weight from my colleague, Carly.

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