The holiday season is around the corner.

Is your Magento store prepared to meet the demand of increased holiday traffic?

2020 has been an unusual year in many ways; however, consumers are eagerly awaiting the holiday season, and with all things considered online shopping will be king, this year and beyond!

Tip: Adobe predicts that U.S. online holiday sales will total $189 billion, shattering all previous records with a 33% YoY increase, equal to two years’ growth in one season. Read the full Adobe Analytics Holiday Forecast

With large populations of consumers remaining home at record highs, Online sales have grown exponentially to meet that demand. Adobe estimates online sales will surpass $2 billion every day between Nov. 1-21 and increase to $3 billion a day Nov. 22–Dec 3.

Additionally, according to Adobe, Black Friday is projected to generate $10 billion in online sales, a 39% YoY increase; Cyber Monday will remain the biggest online shopping day of the year with $12.7 billion, a 35% jump YoY.

People need to shop, and as the shift continues to favor online commerce, this Holiday Season is prime time to capture new audiences, and increase online sales revenue.

Based on the above forecasts there is potentially huge growth opportunity ahead, is your Magento Store equipped to successfully seize the moment?

If not! Below is a quick walkthrough of our top 5 recommendations and system checks you must conduct on your Magento eCommerce website to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

Here’s a quick list of 5 top ideas you must follow to prep for the upcoming Holiday Season:

1. Load Time Optimization

While driving traffic to your store is a crucial component to online success, if users arrive at a website that lags with slow load speed times, statistics show consumers will bounce and find another source for the goods they are seeking!

Not only do slow load times deliver poor user experiences, Google search engines heavily weigh page load speed when determining SERP rankings. You’re bound to lose out on traffic, sales, and customers if your site loads slowly.

If you’re interested in checking your sites page load speeds, head over to Google PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix.

Tip: Magento 2 offers several pre-installed modules, a few of which are not always utilized depending on your business requirement. These unutilized modules may hinder the performance of your website. Contact your Magento eCommerce developer and discuss which modules are unused (if any) and therefore can be safely removed or disabled on your online store.

2. Secure your Magento Store

With recent 15+ security updates and bug fixes (in areas of information disclosure and SQL injection), Magento 2.4.1 and 2.3.6 now include CAPTCHA to order placement and WEB APIs endpoints associated with payment information.

These recent updates aimed to minimize the carding fraud attack merchants, and shoppers commonly fall victim to. Adobe is continually working on making things easy for 250,000+ eCommerce stores on Magento by releasing updates to fix any possible vulnerability on the platform.

It’s highly recommended to migrate from M1 to Magento 2 as it reached its End of Life (EOL) back in June of 2020.

Tip: Keep in touch with your Magento eCommerce developers and ensure your online store is always operating on the latest version of the platform. Testing and performance auditing must also be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that the store is bug-free and secure.

3. Improved Payments & Shipping Methods

During the holidays, consumers want to send special gifts to their loved ones, and part of this process is ensuring those gifts arrive on time! To accomplish this in the most hassle-free manner, you need to have a well-defined shipping strategy. Implementing a proper shipping strategy will help eliminate the worry associated with packages arriving on time for your customers, and you!

In order to establish best methods for your online store, you must conduct market research, study your customer base, the region in which they live, and align with a well-established, trusted payment gateway.

In addition to using a secure payment gateway, providing convenient and preferred payment methods in your Magento store will reduce cart abandonments due to a lack of preferred, widely accepted payment methods.

Tip: Be it Net 30, NMI Payment, or Smart One Step Checkout functionality, you can search through several Magento 2 extensions offered by Aheadworks to enhance your users’ payment experience.

4. Optimizing your Website for Holiday Keywords

Once approached as optional, marketing an eCommerce store digitally has become a necessity to boost sales and reach potential audiences within all the channels they frequent.

During the height of online holiday shopping, keywords such as best sale, cheap, discount, offers, etc. increase tremendously and should be heavily focused throughout your multi-channel strategy.

Optimization of your store should include researching trending keywords, hashtags, as well as updating metadata, URLs, product image alt tags, and content on your relevant web pages.

Tip: Leverage tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends to identify as well as narrow down the most relevant/popular keywords. However, it’s recommended to hire a team of expert digital marketers to perform effective optimization of your SEO, SMM, and PPC campaigns.

5. Going Mobile (Optimization)

Introduction of mobile commerce has transformed the way eCommerce merchants interact with consumers. With mobile devices often in the hands of today;s consumer, the ability to conduct extensive research and engage more on eCommerce websites has never been easier.

As per a research, as a result of the recent pandemic, 60.9% of US buyers prefer shopping on mobile devices. As such, if your Magento store is not mobile optimized, you are likely to lose a lot of leads and potential sales.

Most retailers recognize the necessity of a mobile-optimized version of their store. However, many have not yet defined a detailed mobile commerce strategy, and accepting mobile payments is comparatively uncommon.

Tip: Deloitte has forecasted an increase of 25%-35% increase in the 2020 holiday season (November 20’ to January 21’) sales. So, if you’ve been operating your eCommerce business through only a desktop optimized website, it’s time to mark your presence with a responsive website that fits like a glove on mobile as well.

Wrapping Up

For any eCommerce business, the aforementioned top 5 recommendations are top priority when attempting to capitalize on this season’s unprecedented sales volume increase. It is worth mentioning that different verticals carry unique nuances, and when considering these differences top priorities may differ!

Here are a few bonus tips to ensure your Magento eCommerce store is all prepped up for the holiday season:

  • Along with on-page SEO, ensure performing off-page SEO as well; be consistent with it.
  • Ensure your store offers a seamless shopping experience with quick checkouts
  • Embrace the power of multi-channel selling
  • Ensure your online reviews are in good shape
  • Update to the latest Magento 2 version for optimized store performance
  • Strategize your digital marketing efforts by analyzing past years results

While a few of these recommendations can be performed in-house, others would be better served in the hands of . Magento eCommerce experts or Magento Agency.

Don’t delay; set your Magnto store up for success this Holiday Season!

Happy Prepping!