Less than 15 days until CyberMonday. Your warehouse is full. Your shipper is standing by. But have you considered what will happen at your website after a flood of qualified buyers click on the irresistible and precisely worded ad for your product or service? Now (not then) is the time to find out if your website can take the heat that CyberMonday will dish out.
The Yahoo! Network Insights team reveals that eCommerce retailers see a 73% increase in online conversions on the Monday following Thanksgiving (compared to the average shopping day in November). This means when consumers open their wallet on 11/30, they will be ready to buy.
You?ve got one shot, one day to win their holiday business, and you need to be totally sure your customers? data is completely secure, as hackers are just waiting to steal all of those juicy credit card numbers from the thousands of people coming to your site that day.
So how can you improve user experience and conversion for your eCommerce Web site on high traffic days like CyberMonday while ensuring their security? Creative elements aside, there a many technical intricacies that help make your Web site stand out online and stay secure.
Load times, load times, load times. When your Web server is underpowered, pages load slowly and can even fail making it appear that your Web site is down. If your Web site appears to be on the fritz, consumers a) won?t have the patience to wait on you to get it figured out or b) will lose faith in your ability to process orders successfully.
A Web site on the fritz raises questions in consumers minds and decreases the likelihood that they?ll hand over their hard earned money. Was my order received? Is this Web site capable of protecting my PII (personally identifiable information)? Could someone steal my credit card number? And you know what? These are totally legitimate fears. Hacker activity in the last year has increased drastically, and your buyers know it.
Nestling your precious eCommerce Web site in a reliable, High Availability hosting environment and deploying a content delivery network capable of quickly serving up all your high-quality product shots, video customer testimonials, and other heavy media files can help prevent the situation from ever becoming a concern.
Predators on the prowl. Like your telephone operators, cybercriminals are standing by to take orders. They attack your website forms with SQL injections. They use CSRF (cross site request forgery) to inject malicious code capable of stealing information or even redirecting unwitting consumers off your website which obviously prevents them from completing a purchase. Malicious malware installations can damage your search engine rankings and even get your website banned from Google altogether.
Now more than ever, cybercriminals attack without regard or preference for Windows or Linux. Surrounding the application with multiple varieties and layers of protection between your code and the outside world is the best way to shield your eCommerce website from hackers.
Locking down ports. Installing application-focused firewalls. Deploying IDS (intrusion detection systems). Patching regularly. Contingency plans and encrypted backup restoration. All of these devices and techniques must be executed with precision and enterprise-level expertise to stand a chance at warding off cyber attacks. And in the event the your Web site or application is breached, you?ll need a team of responsive, knowledgeable Support Superheroes to help get you back online quickly.
Help users find what they need FAST. The Google Mini Search Appliance applies Google-grade search algorithms to the content on your website so users can find what they?re looking for FAST, every time. The Google Mini search service works with all hosting platforms, so Windows and Linux users can benefit from its capabilities.
Highly configurable, the Google Mini gives you control over which content will appear in your web search results to assist visitors in finding the perfect gift quickly on CyberMonday. The Google Mini is capable of indexing content for large websites (up to 300,000 pages to be exact) so all the products in your eCommerce product catalog can be included.
Elicit confidence, solicit a sale. Once you?ve achieved a high comfort level with the foundation upon which your website resides, you can turn your sites back to fostering trust by incorporating website elements customers can see and appreciate.
SSL Certificates and Security Badges go a long way toward improving your website conversion rate. The type and grade of SSL you select does more than provide an eye-catching dose of confidence. Most SSL providers back their encryption with warranties and insurance for online shoppers and retailers alike, so the protection goes beyond ?feel good? sentiments to providing financial compensation in the event the SSL product?s capabilities are compromised.
So What Now? We?d be willing to bet that you?ve devoted the majority of your effort toward ensuring the ?physical? components of your shopping season (inventory, staff, packaging, etc) are in place. In the process, you may have inadvertently overlooked the most important factor of your CyberMonday success: Is your Web site capable to handle the influx of shoppers and is it capable of protecting their identity?
You still have time to assess your Web application?s hosting environment and take steps to improve your capabilities or remediate problems before November 30. You know the old adage, prepare for the worst, hope for the best. May you all have a profitable holiday season, with few gliches on your site, and nary a hacker to bah-humbug your business!
This article was featured in eCommerce Times.
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