For online entrepreneurs, the upcoming festive period represents a genuine time of excitement and opportunity. This is because UK citizens are expected to break a multitude of spending records in the run-up to Christmas, starting with Black Friday on 28 November. On this date, industry leaders are suggesting that spending will hit an all-time high of £555.5 million, which equates to an estimated £385,000 being committed each minute. This trend is set to continue for the following three days and into Cyber Monday, by which time the cumulative spend for the weekend may well have reached a staggering £649.6 million.
3 Steps for Protecting your Online Business during the Festive Period
While this glut of spending represents good news for online business owners, it also creates additional challenges in terms of intensified market competition, stock issues and the ability to cope with rising demand. It is crucial that your online venture can cope with these problems, in a way that helps to minimise cost, deliver products on time and drive increased profit margins. Consider the following steps towards achieving this: -
Prepare for Increased Internet Usage and Potential Server Issues
With more people spending higher volumes online this Christmas, your website and server may struggle to cope with rising demand. In addition to this, UK firm Critical Power Supplies is also reporting that the risk of blackouts is higher this winter than at any point in the last six years. This has been confirmed by the National Grid, which claims that the difference between the power being generated and the estimated peak demand will rise to almost insurmountable levels. While steps are being taken to ensure that this does not impact too heavily on UK business owners, it is also important to be proactive and identify independent solutions that can be easily applied.
How to Respond: More specifically, you should consider investing in an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system, which will deliver back-up power on occasions where the primary source has failed. To cope with additional demand and a rising number of monthly website visitors, you should look to partner with a dedicated server host that can maintain constant network support and user connectivity.
Use Web Applications and Tools to Engage Customers and boost Sales Conversions
With demand peaking, online business owners are likely to initiate a number of innovative promotions and discounts to serve as an incentive for customers. While some may well be more successful than others, however, it is the firms that are able to think creatively that will ultimately distinguish their products and brand in a competitive marketplace. Take the UK film production company Slinky Products, for example, who have integrated an innovative hangman game on their website that challenges visitors to test their movie trivia in various formats. The game is particularly enjoyable and simple to play, while it engages potential customers and serves as an entry point into a lucrative and mutually beneficial relationship.
How to Respond: The Hangman application not only proves the value of integrating interactive games onto your website, but it also shows how breathtakingly simple they can be to create and play. By creating a similar focus point on your website, you can effectively engage consumers in a natural and impactful way that elevates you above your competition.
Understand Mobile Consumers and Optimise your Website
While it is well known that a rising percentage of online spending is conducted through mobile devices, a basic sense of understanding is not enough to translate this into sales and ultimately profit it. This is because there is a pressing need to understand mobile consumers, who typically want information to be delivered quickly and in a concise manner. The members of this demographic are also more likely to make impulse buys and spend more over the course of a typical transaction, so it is imperative that you optimise your site with clearly presented prices and visible, actionable icons.
How to Respond: The challenge facing your business is therefore to tailor a website and mobile shopping experience that reflects consumer behaviour. So in addition to ensuring that each individual landing page has an exceptionally quick loading time, you must also integrate intuitive design features and a simplified payment process that enables quick, real-time decision making.
With these points in mind, you can develop a purposeful online sales strategy that maximises profitability this winter. By focusing on improving the performance of your website, boosting engagement levels and optimising product landing pages for mobile usage, you can capitalise on rising consumer demand and maintain a strong share of your chosen market.
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