It’s safe to say that the 2020 holiday shopping season is going to look very different than years past. The global pandemic has touched nearly every business, retailer, and consumer, and has dramatically increased our reliance on the internet. Although a good majority of consumers have historically opted to conduct their holiday shopping online, there was a decent percentage of consumers who preferred to shop in-person at a brick-and-mortar store. This year, however, the option to shop in-person may be severely limited, if available at all.  

As a result, many small and large retailers are now relying on their online presence more than ever in order to survive this holiday season. Consumers are also adjusting their shopping habits and prioritizing online ecommerce shopping as a safe and secure way to purchase gifts for family and friends. According to Small Business Trends, 55% of Americans have shopped online at a new store during the post-Covid-19 outbreak period. Additionally, US retail ecommerce sales will jump nearly 36% to $190 plus billion in holiday sales this year, according to eMarketer. Once again, Cyber Monday will be leading the way with the largest online spending day in US history with expected sales of $12.89 billion dollars, an increase of 38% from last year. Black Friday comes in with a close second with an estimated $10.2 billion dollars in sales, a steady 39% increase from last year.

Given current data and our current environment, holiday shopping will undoubtedly be an exclusively online experience. Whether you are new to the Ecommerce game or not, all online retailers need to be prepared to face an influx of traffic during the holidays and be sure to take the necessary precautions in order to avoid any unwanted disruption or downtime.  Small Business Trends states that 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their online shopping experience will likely shop somewhere else next time and 46% of customers will not revisit poor performing websites. In order support your business and retain both new and returning customers, it has never been more important to get proactive about protecting your site and delivering a great customer experience.

Additionally, with the average website experiencing 94 attacks per day, and an estimated 12.8 million websites infected with malware worldwide, the surge of traffic online shopping will create during the holiday season is sure to attract the attention of cybercriminals looking to steal sensitive customer information.  In order to ensure your site and your customers are protected, it’s critical to take proactive measures and have the right security solutions in place. For example, become PCI Compliant if you haven’t already. You’ll reduce the risk of fraud for your customers while avoiding a hefty fine that might cost you $100,000 or more. You can also use a website scanner to proactively check for malware or use a web application firewall with a CDN to help speed up your website and ensure only legitimate traffic hits your website.

Additional Tips for Improving Ecommerce Performance

Ensure that your customers are safe and protected when shopping on your site this holiday season. Be proactive by:

  • Review and check your systems and web applications – These should be updated regularly to ensure maximum performance. Also, remove any applications that are not currently being used. This can help keep your systems from getting any unwanted malware and/or infections.
  • Use a CDN – consumers will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds for your site to load. A CDN can speed up your website and ensure only legitimate traffic is allowed in.
  • Do not store information if you do not need to – Remove any sensitive customer data (i.e. credit card and bank account details if it is not necessary for your business).
  • Secure your site – Make sure you are using a secure shopping cart with an SSL certificate to encrypt data (i.e. credit card details).
  • Display a security trust badge – Having a badge displayed builds trust and verifies your site is regularly tested for security protocols and is clear of vulnerabilities and malware.

These tips will help establish confidence in your customers and ensure they are shopping in a secure and safe environment.