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It’s not too late to prepare for Black Friday success

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By Deri Jones 18/10/2018

If you took the advice from our blog earlier this year you’ll be reaching the end of your Black Friday preparations by now. But there are still a few last minute checks you can carry out to ensure your site provides a smooth, error-free experience – removing any remaining conversion hurdles this Cyber Weekend.

There’s still time to make a difference

At thinkTribe we know from experience how poor web performance can not only hammer conversions during peak buying times but can also inflict long-term damage to brand reputation. Website visitors have little tolerance for poorly performing sites and won’t hang around for slow or error prone journeys.

Ideally, online retailers will have been running load testing programmes for several months to make sure their site is ready for the fray but there’s always time to squeeze in a little more preparation, so what practical steps can you still take to prepare for Black Friday?

We’ve outlined our top last minute Black Friday tips below – download our complete checklist here.

1. Test key journeys after code lock-down

Even if you haven’t had the time to prepare as thoroughly as you’d have liked, make sure you allow time to include a load test prior to code lockdown – about four to six weeks in advance of Black Friday – so you can fix any glitches without putting tech teams under unnecessary pressure.

Once you’ve locked in your special sections and deal codes, aim to load test key journeys two-to-four weeks ahead of peak demand to make sure all is running smoothly in a live environment.

2. Keep it simple – not forgetting third party content

Make things as simple as practically possible by stripping down your site to deliver only essential core functionality. Consider cutting the range of products on offer to deliver the best speed, stock control and experience at busy times.In the same way, try to keep journey pages small by getting rid of anything that adversely affects page load times.

Look out our for page bloat in the form of uncompressed images and fonts. Check for numerous calls and ensure JavaScript and CSS are minified. In our experience we see third-party content accounts for the majority of performance issues so remove any non-essential third party content or calls.

3. Monitor performance especially mobile

To reduce abandonment and a ensure a fast, error-free user experience, monitor key journeys 24/7 to identify and remedy issues before they impact your customers especially for mobile. With mobile accounting for more than half online sales it’s more important than ever to ensure your site performance is up to scratch for mobile shoppers.

Your mobile customers are impatient and demand a smooth, fully functioning interface with speedy performance. They simply won’t wait for pages to load and are quick to switch if they encounter journey interruptions. So make sure you monitor journeys on genuine iOS and Android browsers to avoid losing mobile business.

4. Plan for when things go wrong

Even the best laid plans can go awry. According to research by web traffic management expert Traffic Defender, 86% of consumers would rather queue online than have the website crash on them. The research also revealed that nearly half of consumers have failed to complete a purchase due to a website crashing in a sale event, yet 47% would have been happy to wait more than three minutes had there been a queuing system like Queue-It in place. Food for thought.

Don’t get caught out even if you’re not planning any Black Friday offers

Strange as it may seem, even if you’re not embracing Black Friday as part of your annual promotional activity, you’re likely to see a rise in web traffic regardless. That’s because shoppers assume everyone will have some special deals on offer and you may well get additional visitors as part of the Black Friday ebb and flow. Our advice? Don’t get caught out!

We’d love to show you how thinkTribe can take the strain out of preparing for any peak demand period through a fully managed service that’s tailored for your operation, so do get in touch – or check out our performance monitoring and load testing services.

In the meantime, why not download our checklist to help you prepare for the Black Friday onslaught?

Whats new this Black Friday?

  • Sale seasons have been starting sooner and peaking earlier so it’s likely that the whole of November could become a prolonged peak traffic period for many
  • There are no prizes for guessing that mobile will be King and it’s likely digital voice-driven assistants could stake a claim on festive eCommerce sales this year
  • Recent trends show consumers taking to their phones to secure a bargain on Christmas Day so we expect many retailers to start their post-Christmas sales on Christmas Day

Download thinkTribe’s Black Friday checklist to help maximise your site’s performance

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