8 Tips to Boost eCommerce Conversion Rates This Holiday Season


The holiday shopping season will be here before you know it and while brands and retailers have spent the past few months planning their marketing campaigns, many have not taken the steps to ensure that their e-commerce stores are prepared to handle the additional surge in web traffic. The speed of your website has a huge impact on your e-commerce conversion rates, so protecting it during times of increased load should be a number one priority.

Almost five years ago, KissMetrics said that a one-second delay could cost merchants millions of dollars in lost revenue. That cost of performance has only grown, with SOASTA now reporting that the average impact of a slow site is $4100/ hr.

To protect your holiday revenue, our pals over at Tenzing are here today to share some advice for merchants on how to protect their performance and ensure e-commerce site speed.


1. Assess your infrastructure

If your infrastructure provider is not performing a holiday capacity assessment with you and your team, request one. You should also reach out to the vendors that provide integration points for your application. Work with them to understand any limitations and how to increase capacity during the holidays.


2. Do a load test

The true capacity of a website is determined by a combination of the application code and the infrastructure. Testing individual parts will not give you a true picture of what the environment can handle. Load testing is the process of increasing the volume on your site or application to measure its response. This will allow you to understand how your website will handle high levels of traffic.


3. Add or pre-stage capacity to potential problem areas

Based on your assessment of current performance, add capacity to areas that need it.  If your budget is limited, prioritize the components which could have the greatest impact on performance, like your Database or Network.  CPU is often a bottleneck in e-commerce environments so pre-order larger CPUs and have them on hand should you need them.


4. Speed up your site

All applications need to be tuned from time to time and there is no better time than the before your busy season. Speak to your application team about the health of your environment. Have them look at session limits, long-running queries, and activities that use a lot of resources. You can also gain capacity and speed up site performance by leveraging Content Delivery Networks or CDNs.


5. Limit publishing and catalog updates

Limit your publishing during peak times. Catalog updates are resource intensive because in most applications the database and search engines need to re-index.  In addition caching has to be refreshed. Limit how often this happens as it could slow down your site and decrease your conversion rates.


6. Freeze

Once you have prepared your environment and planned your campaigns STOP making changes. Freeze your environment and communicate these dates to your vendors.  Make sure you understand all your vendors’ change policies and if they have a freeze which could impact your planning.


7. Segment your list

Segment your campaigns into blocks. Rather than sending out one email to 1,000,000 users, consider breaking the campaign up into smaller groups to give you better control of traffic spikes.  Instead of creating a stampede, this will spread activity over multiple hours.


8. Manage your media content

The use of media in an email campaign can have a positive impact on your click-through rates, but using multiple or large images can increase bandwidth use and traffic to your environment.  As customers receive the email, they will begin downloading the images to their workstation resulting in additional traffic to your environment. On a large scale, this can cause performance degradation. To avoid this save your collection of images as flat files to manage their size. You can also store email pictures or media on a separate server to avoid affecting your site performance.


Do you have any other tips that helped you protect and improve your conversion rates for e-commerce? Let us know in the comments below!