Ensuring a great shopping experience this holiday season: 5 tips for e-retailers

The holiday season is just around the corner, and if you're an e-Commerce or online travel company, you must realize the importance of this event and are most probably preparing for it in full swing.
Festive Season & eRetail

The holiday season is just around the corner, and if you’re an e-Commerce or online travel company, you must realize the importance of this event and are most probably preparing for it in full swing. Given the increase in online transactions and number of mobile users in the region, this year is likely to be another record breaking one for the Industry.
While businesses anxiously work on the best possible catalogues, impossible to ignore discounts and extensive marketing plans, it’s also critical to ensure that their websites and mobile apps are enabled to deliver a high performance user experience, as it’s key to make those cash registers ringing. In addition, a great experience will ensure customers are coming back for more and have good things to say about your brand. Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing your online platform for peak season.

Speed: As they say, slow Internet can be more frustrating than no Internet. Your online properties should be fast, period! A slow website negatively impacts user experience, and in turn, hurts conversions or transactions that can be carried out. Your website should be the fastest possible, regardless browser, device or end user network.
Mobile: There are enough stats out there to define relevance of mobile. We know that most companies, if not all, now have a mobile first approach, with some going mobile only. It’s important to test how your app and website perform for mobile users, ensuring that webpages and apps load fast, across devices and network conditions. It is also important to ensure that transacting on mobile is as user friendly as on desktops.
Images: A picture is worth a thousand words and customers like to see things they want or places they want to visit before transacting. Retailers and travel organizations deal with thousands of pictures on a daily basis. Creating and maintaining different versions and derivative assets of each raw picture is a complex and resource intensive task. Adding to this complexity is the challenge of delivering device and network appropriate images to end users in order to deliver a rich, engaging experience.In order to ensure great user engagement, ensure that your image workflow is efficient, and images on your website can adapt to changing network conditions.
Scale:Shopping events and holiday season bring along a spike in traffic. Therefore, scalability is crucial. Website unavailability on sale-day is a nightmare. Website or app failure during peak season doesn’t only result in loss of revenue, it also ensures damage to your brand. Make sure you’re not trending on social media for the wrong reasons.
Security: Online security threats continue to increase in number and complexity as more data and business processes move online. Users expect a secure and reliable experience when they transact with online businesses. It’s critical to ensure your web applications are protected and your website can defend itself against DDoS attacks.

The points mentioned above are key to ensure that customers have a great shopping experience. If you think you can improve on one or more of these parameters, include a plan to fix it. If you’ve got this all covered, double check if there’s scope to improve further.  

This article was authored by Varun Jaitly, Product Marketing Manager, Akamai

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