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Last year, online sales hit nearly $11 billion on Cyber Monday alone, and as eCommerce activity continues to surge, this year’s Cyber Weekend is expected to be the biggest one yet for traffic and sales!
But time is of the essence for site owners and designers. Black Friday officially kicks off at 12:01 am on November 26, and if your store (or the stores you build for clients) isn’t prepared for a surge in traffic and activity, they won’t be able to capitalize on this massive opportunity.
Not only is it important to ensure you’re providing a great eCommerce experience day-to-day, your sites must also be poised for scale when those post-Thanksgiving shoppers arrive. Otherwise, you risk performance issues that lead to abandoned carts, or even worse, downtime, during the busiest shopping days of the year.
Want to find out how you can get ready for the biggest Cyber Weekend ever? Keep reading for tips on building incredible eCommerce experiences that will serve you well this holiday season and beyond! Here’s what we’ll cover:
Preparing for an influx of site traffic
eCommerce websites are, by definition, dynamic websites. Site visitors expect to see relevant products that are currently available, up-to-date prices and sales information, real-time cart data, and other dynamic elements specific to the online shopping experience.
The dynamic nature of eCommerce also means that as pages load, they require more compute resources than a static site would. During a major traffic event (like Cyber Weekend), this can quickly turn into a rush on those resources.
Failure to prepare for this scenario can create a situation where demand outstrips the resources you have available, in which case your site will likely go down completely or become so slow that it’s essentially unusable—not the outcome you want during the busiest sales season of the year.
To make sure your store is prepared, there are several strategies you can employ, including:
- Upgrading to a premium managed WordPress platform
- Offloading dynamic requests to other compute resources
- Optimizing your theme
- Compressing your product images
- Minifying your CSS/JS
If you’re interested in taking advantage of these approaches as you get your store ready for Cyber Weekend, check out our new WooCommerce hosting plans, which are optimized to increase speed and drive conversions. Site migration is not only free, it’s backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee!
Optimizing your eCommerce funnel
As “digital-first” prevails across everything from doctor’s appointments to grocery stores, the preferences and demands of online consumers are becoming more refined. With that in mind, it’s important to understand the type of eCommerce experiences you’re offering to see if you’re falling short.
Do your site pages load quickly? Can shoppers easily find what they’re looking for? Are they able to easily navigate check out? Answering these questions is crucial when building or refreshing an eCommerce experience that’s optimized for engagement, conversions, and revenue.
Some site owners may already know where their sites stand. Others may regularly A/B test shopping pages or measure performance metrics, including Google Core Web Vitals, as they look for opportunities to improve user experience and overall conversion rates.
Overall, focusing on the end-to-end shopping experience you’re creating is paramount. Beginning with the way shoppers find your site to the way they interact with it, there are numerous opportunities for optimization throughout the eCommerce funnel, from the first click to check-out.
The role of search for powerful eCommerce sites
One key element of the shopping experience WooCommerce or other WordPress-built eCommerce stores may overlook is the product search experience. 43% of shoppers use product search on eCommerce sites, and those shoppers are more than TWICE as likely to buy when they find what they’re looking for! The issue, however, is that the default search experience available in WordPress often needs to be augmented.
This is why it’s beneficial to leverage tools like our Instant Store Search, powered by ElasticPress, which enhances the search experience for your shoppers. Instant Store Search and similar solutions allow you to offer capabilities like predictive search queries, misspellings & fuzzy matching, and custom search results.
Check out the video below for a look at the difference between a default and enhanced search experience using a WooCommerce store.
Achieving higher conversions with eCommerce hosting
One of the best ways to prepare for Cyber Weekend, as well as continued eCommerce success, is to leverage a managed hosting provider that specializes in eCommerce functionality.
The new eCommerce hosting plans are a great, one-stop-shop for both new and existing eCommerce stores, and will help you check off all of the boxes listed above as you prepare for the busy holiday season.
In addition to high-powered performance, incredible search capabilities, and pre-built templates that will help you get to market faster, our eCommerce hosting plans allow you to:
- Make WooCommerce even better, up to 40% faster, and up to 18% better at driving online sales.
- Effortlessly improve your store’s search experience—43% of shoppers use search and they’re more than twice as likely to buy when they find what they’re looking for.
- Easily migrate your store with our automated migration plugin and 24×7 support.
- Add a CDN and use Cloudflare to help with speed and scale.
- Lean into the dynamic nature of WooCommerce with optimized cart fragments and the option to export old order tables to keep your store lean and mean.
- Improve user experience AND make your store faster with ElasticPress and industry-leading WordPress hosting trusted by more than 1.2 million websites.
Get ready to crush your eCommerce goals this fall!
It may seem like Thanksgiving is still a ways off, but Cyber Weekend and the holiday rush will be here before you know it. This will be the biggest Cyber Weekend ever—make sure you’re ready to fully capitalize on it!
Find out more about eCommerce hosting for WooCommerce, including a 60-day money-back guarantee!