Yes, it’s that time of the year again, time to upgrade your web shop for the holidays, along with cookies and some mulled wine perhaps!
Wait, you ask, it’s still not Christmas – it’s just October.
Exactly, it’s October and you’ll need at least a month to implement some of these tips to your Magento-powered web shop! It might seem early, but we both know that you need time to plan out your upgrades, talk to your developers and get everything ready for the holidays. Santa won’t be able to help you if you we don’t start early!
We took to the experts to find out what you can do to make your Magento webshop sell more during the holidays because let’s face it – you’ve made a good and popular choice. Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise make up about 30% of all e-commerce websites, according to a 2015 Aheadworks study!
We sat down with Vanja Bunjevac, an experienced consultant at the award-winning full-service e-commerce agency Inchoo. With a team of Magento certified professionals and developers, Inchoo has worked with e-commerce companies from around the world, helping them optimize their web shops. Which is exactly why they are ideal to help you out this season!
While in his youth after Technical University he worked for Gameforge, Vanja has been in love with e-commerce for years. Vanja started his startup company which focused on creating a SaaS e-commerce platform.
The first thing we wanted to know, and probably the most logical question we could think of for Vanja was simply:
What do Magento owners need to have in mind when optimizing their web shops for the Christmas season?
Christmas season is the biggest season for the vast majority of both online and offline stores, but also the time when there’s most transactions going on in stores. The main thing that you need to keep an eye on is that your server and your overall system can handle the extra traffic and number of transactions during December, because we’ve often worked with clients that found out the importance of that the hard way.
This is pretty reasonable.
You can’t open more cash registers in an online store, but you sure can give that bandwidth and server space a boost, so you feel a little safer when all of that holiday traffic starts to roll in. Of course, when there’s a lot of people in your shopping mall the speed is considerably slower, but web shops can crash from too many visits.
Vanja noticed a trend of ignoring the prices of delivery. A lot of web shop owners just provide their customers with more and more discounts while leaving them to pay a lot for the delivery. Delivery terms are some of the most important, with 77% of shoppers saying they find ‘Free delivery’ very relevant to their experience, according to a 2015 UPS study.
Vanja’s solution is simple: Choose an amount of money that needs to be spent for the customers to get free delivery, as the price of delivery is one of the things that tend to drive customers off of the webshop the most, leaving you with filled shopping carts without anyone to pay for them.
Perhaps one of the best things about Christmas for a lot of people is that everything gets a little more “Christmasy,” starting from the streets you walk through to the stores you visit. Everything has that vibe that simply makes you feel a bit better about yourself, and it’s probably what makes this time of the year so special.
Still, a lot of web shop owners simply overdo it with Christmas decorations, something Vanja says is a big no-no.
Magento store owners, as well as webshop owners on other platforms tend to always try and make the design of their store more “Christmas-y” so that they can bring the overall atmosphere of the holidays to their customers in a way shopping malls in real life do. The problem emerges when the change is too drastic, so that the regular buyers have trouble finding their way around the site. The usability of a web store is a very important segment for the income of your store, and that field needs extra care.
Vanja goes on to recommend only minor changes in the design of the page, and advises all shop owners to keep the decorations tasteful and leave the falling snowflakes and Christmas songs for somewhere else, but not their webshop.
Since we’re talking about Magento, we wanted to know what advantages does it have over other platforms when it comes to the Christmas season. Vanja was quick to point out plugins that can be used for practically everything on your site, but also advised that:
You always need to be careful with plugins, because a lot of different ones probably won’t work well together. Every company writes plugins for their own way and they are usually not compatible with eachother, so you need to choose one plugin that suits you from every segment of your web store (one for coupons, one for transaction mails etc.)
Our takeaway here: easy on the plugins. There’re not Christmas presents. If you’re ever feeling that your PC is running slow because of all those programs and things you have on, you’re probably right, and your web store shouldn’t be any different. A fast website is an excellent website, and bad plugin management can be the death of your site.
Magento 2 is the second iteration of the popular platform and is currently being heavily promoted by Inchoo and other e-commerce experts because of its great value and utility. Vanja noted that there’s always something new regarding Magento, and updates are more or less occurring on a monthly basis.
He pointed out:
The system is still being developed and optimized so that the platform can work faster and better, and that it follows the latest trends in the web app development. Inchoo will continue promoting the Magento 2 platform so that we can make the usage of the platform easier, and reduce the costs involved with the opening of an online store.
Magento is steadily steaming ahead to being even better with every update, improving any web shops that are using it, too.
Last, but not least, we wanted to know whether there are any particular Christmas plugins that Vanja would like to point out, but fortunately for all web shop owners, Vanja is confident in Magento’s ability to satisfy the needs of any and all webshops based on it, so there’s no need for additional plugins just for the holiday season.
One last thing is that you need to provide your web shop with a great place to live, and a great domain. Even though you might think that the domain isn’t that important, we assure you that every little thing counts when trying to make the best web shop that you possibly can, and getting an edge over your competition is the thing that matters the most, right?
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