It’s been a great year here at Redstage. We’ve done a lot of exciting things, built an even better team and launched some amazing projects! But it isn’t just all work and no play here. We recently had our annual holiday party at an event space in New York City and thought we would share some highlights from the day.
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Every month, we feature a partner company who has produced great results for our clients. This month, we are featuring one of our hosting partners, Zerolag.
Peace of mind as a service
ZeroLag provides fully managed enterprise-class hosting solutions built on a foundation of support, reliability, performance and security – and delivered at competitive prices.
The company has been in business for more than a decade, and counts the NFL, Microsoft, CBS, General Motors, Fox, National Geographic and other name brands among its many satisfied clients. All of the company’s services are customized to clients’ unique needs, allowing ZeroLag to efficiently serve businesses of all sizes.
While ZeroLag uses only best-in-class hardware and software – such as Dell PowerEdge servers, Cisco routers, and F5 load balancers, plus Microsoft, VMWare, and Magento software – the company believes that being a great hosting provider goes beyond deploying state-of-the-art technology. ZeroLag backs up it up with superior service; including problem-solving hosting experts and a 24/7/365 support staff located in the company’s Tier 4 data center.
GTR Store (gtrstore.com)
ZeroLag worked closely with Redstage to plan and execute a smooth, trouble-free migration for this musical instrument e-tailer, from their former web hosting provider to ZeroLag’s Magento-optimized hosting environment, while simultaneously upgrading from Magento Community Edition to Enterprise Edition.
Bambi Baby (bambibaby.com)
A leading brick and mortar and e-commerce retailer of baby products, Bambi Baby experienced web site performance and reliability issues while hosted with their previous provider.
ZeroLag and Redstage worked together to move the company’s web site to a dedicated server, and later to a Magento-optimized hosting cluster to provide the necessary resources to support the company’s online sales growth.
ZeroLag also played a lead role in analyzing and implementing web site optimizations which resulted in improved performance.
With the holidays upon us, here are some helpful tips to help make the most out of this holiday season. Work on implementing some of these tips for an easy way to boost sales and profits.
1. Prepare in advance – you could receive 40-60% more traffic
Speak with your hosting company to see if your server will handle a massive increase in traffic and discuss options for adding resources to handle extra traffic. 57% of customers will leave your site if your page takes longer than 4.3 seconds to load. Limited number of warehouse staff for processing orders or customer service reps for dealing with customer communications? Staff up temporarily for the holidays to keep customer service levels high and to keep up with extra orders.
2. Go Mobile
Every year, mobile eCommerce increases by 100-150%, you need to make sure you are not missing out on this market. This could be a custom implementation by your developer or quickly installing a mobile theme that you’ve purchased from the web. There are a number of mobile solutions out there, but our favorite is MobileNow for Magento – it’s quick and inexpensive, and you get to customize the theme – (www.mobilenowapp.com)
3. Check inventory levels
You will be selling 30-40% more this holiday season, some eCommerce sites sell as much as 80% of their yearly volume in the weeks between Black Friday and Christmas. You need to make sure to have a good handle on stock levels and purchasing plans at this time of year. Have your most popular items in stock and factor in time for potential supplier delays which may affect your ability to fulfill orders promptly for your customers. Running out of items will cost you sales now and will likely affect your future sales as well.
4. Check for bottlenecks
Slow page loads will most definitely turn off your visitors and cause them to leave losing you sales! Grease the wheels a bit by performing some site optimizations or upgrading your hosting for the season. There are a number of free services out there, such as webpagetest.org and pingdom.com – which will give you a free analysis on how your site is performing.
5. Get Social
Advertising can be time-consuming and expensive. Let your customers help take some of the weight off your shoulders! Make sure you have implemented some social sharing features (facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc.) so your customers can share their favorite products with their friends.
6. Add more product media
Sometimes, just seeing a photo or two of a product isn’t enough to give the customer a full picture of what you’re selling. This is a suggestion that applies regardless of the season, but implementing videos and 360 views of your products will increase customer confidence and increase conversion. Show off your products by providing demo videos and tell your customers the whole story.
7. Ramp up email marketing
As the holidays come around, all of those newsletters that you’ve signed up for start sending out tons of emails prompting you to go their site and check out their deals, use this special coupon code or check out their new products available now. These companies do this for a reason – IT WORKS! Spend some extra time on putting together exciting marketing emails with a good call to action to push your customers to visit again.
8. Implement a PPC strategy
If you don’t already use PPC, start right away. People are searching for what you sell, they just need to be able to find you. If you can spend some money to increase your traffic and get targeted visitors, this is a no-brainer way to generate additional sales on your site.
9. Offer Free shipping & Expedited shipping discounts
Studies have shown that customers expect free shipping and are more willing to purchase from sites that offer free shipping. You don’t need to offer free shipping on all orders, but offer a free shipping at a minimum order threshold such as $50 or $100. This will encourage customers to add more products to their order to reach that minimum threshold increasing your average dollars per order. Also, there are plenty of procrastinating shoppers out there – so be sure to set up shipping options that get presents to people before Christmas!
10. Add trust logos and security
It’s very cheap to purchase an SSL certificate for your site – we like www.comodo.com. Also, add trust logos to your site once you are SSL secured, have paypal or merchant services partnerships, and add the credit card logos.
11. Incentivize your Customers
Incentivize customers to buy early – Offer special promotions to customers who purchase early. Encourage your customers to buy now rather than wait it out for a better deal by giving them a special perk for doing so: Free upgrade to Expedited shipping, 10% of gift cards purchased before December 15th, or guaranteed holiday delivery for orders placed by a certain date.
For more ways to improve your site for the holidays, feel free to contact us at [email protected] to see how we can help you boost your holiday sales! Good luck, and Happy holidays!