On The Verge Of Black Friday: Is Your E-Commerce Site Ready?

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Black Friday is like the Running of the Bulls for the retail world. The doors open and customers rush in, and hopefully the store will remain standing when it’s all over.

Online retailers are not immune to the Black Friday frenzy as many e-commerce businesses offer deals and specials of their own, driving massive amounts of traffic to their sites. Although the day may not bring the potential for customers to get injured or start fights in the aisles, in some ways Black Friday has a more profound impact on those who sell online. A brick-and-mortar store can withstand an uncommonly huge number of customers racing through the aisles; an online store may not. Here we’ll take a look at how to assess your site’s capability to handle tremendous holiday traffic.

On The Verge Of Black Friday: Is Your E-Commerce Site Ready?

Can your Hosting Package Take the Spike?

Giant box retailers, major toy stores and department stores can have hundreds to thousands of people lining up outside their stores for Black Friday deals. In 2012, the flagship Macy’s store in New York City had 11,000 people in line
when they opened their doors at midnight.

Although website visitors won’t generally arrive all at once the way they do in the physical retail world, popular online stores should be prepared for similar increases in crowds, especially those stores that offer substantial Black Friday discounts. Major online retailers, such as Amazon and Target, even experience slowdowns in loading times and services when Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit, according to BizReport. Plus, holiday traffic spikes don’t always result in slowdowns alone. If the resources allotted to a website are severely overwhelmed, the site may go down completely.

A scalable e-commerce hosting service, which provides the means to quickly add resources to a hosting plan, is the simplest solution to these threats to your business. With scalable hosting, a site isn’t just prepared for holiday shopping, but for unexpected traffic spikes at any time of year.

Are you in the Resolution Niche?

Although e-commerce sites experience the most substantial traffic spikes on those infamous shopping days—Black Friday and Cyber Monday—retailers aren’t the only online businesses that should be ready for spikes in traffic during the holiday season. Website administrators that offer holiday recipes, tips and crafts probably anticipate traffic spikes in the last few months of the year, but some surprising niches also hit their stride around the New Year when people start thinking about resolutions.

Research done by SEER Interactive using Google Analytics shows four major search engine query sets that lead to first-of-the-year traffic spikes: weight loss, online education, travel and quitting smoking. Websites in these resolution niches that don’t have enough resources could experience increases in downtime, load time and consumer dissatisfaction.

Well before Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the New Year roll around, online retailers and resolution niche sites need to batten down the hatches and fortify their storefronts. To keep things running smoothly throughout the holiday season, scalable solutions may be the greatest gift website owners can give themselves.