November 17, 2015

Holiday TrafficWe’re close to the biggest eCommerce season of the year. According to Adobe, last year the month that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated eCommerce sales in excess of $32 billion. And, of course, November is closely followed by the Christmas season, which can be an even bigger revenue-generator for eCommerce retailers.

To maximize your eCommerce store’s slice of the high-season pie, it’s worthwhile making sure you’re prepared to make the most of the peak spending period.

The first, and most important, part of being prepared for the holiday season is to make sure your Magento site can handle the load. There’s little more disheartening than seeing your store grind to a halt because too many shoppers are filling their baskets and trying to check out. Take a look at your store’s performance metrics over the past year and ask yourself if you have the infrastructure it takes to support the traffic you’ll be getting over the next couple of months. If you aren’t completely satisfied, then it may be time to upgrade.

Early Promotions

Every year we hear the same voices in the media complaining that the holiday promotional season is getting earlier, with stores decked out for Christmas months before Santa is due.

Whether that annoys you or not, it’s important to recognize that people think about holiday shopping well in advance of the season. It’s in your best interest to tap into people’s desire for an early bargain.

Leverage your email list and on-site banners to offer holiday promotions ahead of the period, and make sure you have copy and ad creative ready to go.

Well-Tested Holiday-Specific Content

It’s difficult to tell which landing page design, promotional content, and advertising will be most effective, so you should leave yourself plenty of time to split test seasonal content before the peak traffic period.

There’s little benefit to finding the best conversion strategies right in the middle of the peak — it’s far better to be ready with data-driven selections in advance.

Optimizely is a platform dedicated to split testing and conversion optimization, and the Magento extension makes it easy to implement on your eCommerce store.


Remarketing, or behavioral retargeting, is a powerful technique to advertise products and promotions to people who have already shown an interest.

The period running up to the holiday season generates a lot of traffic from undecided “window shoppers” looking for gift ideas. Using remarketing to have the products shoppers looked at but didn’t buy advertised to them is a powerful way to influence who shoppers buy from when they make the decision to purchase.

Anaraky GDRT is a popular solution for implementing Google’s remarketing tag on Magento stores.

Abandoned Cart Recapture

The typical abandoned cart rate for eCommerce stores is somewhere north of 60% — and that rate increases over the holiday period. You won’t be able to recapture all abandoned carts, but given the billions of dollars in lost sales that they represent, it’s worth implementing a solution that offers promotions to users who have filled a cart and not made a purchase.

The best way to do this is to email users who abandon carts with specific promotions. There are various ways to go about implementing abandoned cart recovery strategies on a Magento store, but Abandoned Cart Alerts Pro is among the best.

Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

In 2015, this one should go without saying, but I regularly come across eCommerce stores that perform terribly on my phone and tablet. Just under thirty percent of holiday sales originated on mobile devices last year, and that’s a huge chunk of cash to leave on the table because your store doesn’t offer an excellent mobile experience.

If your Magento store doesn’t use a responsive theme, now’s the time to think about making the change.

The holiday period can be the highlight of your business year, but without preparation, you won’t make the most of the seasonal traffic boost.


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