Prepare Your Online Store for Holiday Season 2020

Holiday Readiness with Nexcess

2020 is quite an unusual year in many aspects and this reflects in all the spheres of our life. Holiday season 2020 is not an exception and will be more challenging for e-commerce than any other before. Knowing that first hand, hearing this from our customers, we sat down with Nexcess, a hosting partner, to put together tips on what we already do best — helping our customer’s stores perform at the highest level possible despite the circumstances.

Tips from Atwix

Audit Now

Conduct the performance audit of the store to see what can be improved on the frontend, 3rd party extensions, and platform side to speed up the website’s loading time and make sure the store will be performing as good during the holiday sales peaks.

But not only performance should be audited — SEO and user experience should also be taken into account.

Test Now

Test the main functionality of the website to make sure everything works well and smoothly. Be sure to test any new features that may be released during October – November with special attention — to make sure your customer support focuses on sales, not on the troubleshooting of new issues.

Also, make sure you test known issues related to your Magento version, like an issue with POs in Magento B2B 2.4.0.

Tackle UI and Marketing Now

Improve UX/UI on the website to simplify the order purchasing flow if needed or make the website user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Make sure you communicate “best price guarantee”, so users are not afraid to shop now, thinking that on Back Friday they get more attractive deals.

Go Mobile Now

Review the mobile version of the website to make sure the website is fast and user-friendly on mobile devices, which is extremely important as 60.9% of US buyers are expected to shop mobile in 2020.

Freeze Soon

Code freeze for the live website during sales is the must-have for any online store. That is to make sure no new code changes are released to the website. Not only you want to avoid issues on the production website during the sales, but at the very least, you do not want your customers to face the new functionality issue or “improvement” right before they are making an order.

Nexcess recommends to…

Use a CDN

Over 41% of the top 10,000 websites are using a CDN (Content Delivery Network). CDNs allow your site to service a global audience and deliver your content fast. By simply deploying a CDN you can see a decrease in total load times by up to 50%.

Remove Unused Modules

Magento 2 comes with many pre-installed modules that aren’t always needed. These modules run in the background and can slow down performance overall. Work with your developer to determine which ones can safely be removed and/or turned off.

Enable Production Mode

This step may seem obvious, but our support teams see a good amount of Magento Stores that are not in the correct mode! If your store is running in developer or default mode, you will have decreased functionality and performance that will impact your customer experience.

Optimize Cache

A Google experiment revealed that just a half second’s difference in load times can cause up to a 20% reduction in web traffic. The first step to the fast page load is having an optimized cache. For Magento specifically, we recommend using Redis and Varnish. Page load time is an increasingly important factor for determining your site’s rank in search results but not the single one. You should also take measures in reducing the size of your image files, reduce the number and weight of JavaScript files, and optimizes your pages in general, as well as work on the content — 2nd most important part of the SEO strategy.

Use ElasticSearch

As soon as you have a CDN, have removed needless modules, are in production mode and have optimized your cache, it’s great but not the end yet. The final piece is to ensure that your customers can find what they are looking for. Our last step is all about search. Using ElasticSearch is not only required in Magento 2.4, but it is the recommended search by the Nexcess team. 

Prepare Your Store

Some of our top-10 recommendations on holiday season 2020 readiness are more complex than others, however, even some of the described improvements will upgrade your customer’s experience. In case you have any questions, Atwix and Nexcess will be happy to help you!

We would like to thank Jessica Mott and the support team from Nexcess for preparing their practical advice. Check out more practical advice on improving Magento 2 performance from the team.

Stay tuned for more useful and practical updates on our blog! 

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