With the end of the year and the holiday season upon us, shopping is on a lot of people’s minds. Forrester research has found that online sales will reach $89 billion this year, which is a growth of 13% over 2013. Simply put, this means that an efficient CMS must anticipate and deal with even greater peak loads in 2014. Here are some tips to ensure that your CMS can handle anything that’s thrown at it, so that you can take advantage of the shopper’s mood this festive season:
Learn from Previous Data
Information is the name of the game, and as all the relevant data about your customers is easily accessible to you, it is important that you learn from it. You could understand the holiday loads based on your statistics, and use market research data to extrapolate the same for the current year’s expectations. This will ensure that you have sufficient hardware and network resources available to face the onslaught. What’s more, you can plan any required maintenance and downtime based on this as well.
Load Testing, Load Balancing and Queuing
Load testing is easy to accomplish, and will give you a clear idea of how many visitors your CMS can handle at a time. It will also help you identify bottlenecks that you can eliminate. Based on previous years’ data, and current trends as well as campaign metrics, you can decide whether to increase infrastructure capacity or not. Once you’ve decided on the capacity, you can then perform load balancing, which is basically dividing the incoming load equally between servers, so that all visitors are served at speed. Now, you need to work on your queuing strategy, which will decide how users will be queued in the event of an overload. It includes which users will get priority, and what you will communicate to users who have to wait.
Ensure your CRM can Match up to the Task Too
While your CMS is optimized, you must ensure that your CRM can handle the load too. After all, the data collected is vital, and for customers to be served fast, the CRM must respond quickly too. For example, Salesforce uses best practices in storing and indexing data to ensure that it remains resilient even with high volumes. This means that the processing time remains really fast, even when the number of requests goes up significantly.
Persona Management & Targeted Content
Besides using data from the previous years to broadly identify the success and failure of past marketing strategies, it can also be used for targeted marketing. Information such as mail opens and deletes, as well as other data like geography, age, etc., can be used to create personas, and different content could be targeted to each persona. Targeted cross-sells and up-sells could lead to a major increase in sales. Detailed customer information can be collected from site visitors, and a CMS like Ektron can showcase ideal, targeted content easily. Another smart CMS strategy would be to use the holiday theme, in patches, without making it look like a cheap gimmick.
Use a Multichannel Strategy
Recent research has shown that Email still remains one of the most effective methods of online marketing, with an ROI of $42 for every dollar spent, according to a recent study. So, to ensure you reach all of your potential customers, it is important to use as many means of communication as possible. What’s more, the use of mobiles to access mail during the holidays spikes up, indicating that mobile messages will also work at this time of the year. Further, it is important to remember that while online marketing is where a large percentage of customer connects happen, brands that make an offline connect as well will win the day. So try to work out an offline marketing and advertising strategy too.
Do your deals have an end date?
Just like leaving the Christmas tree up for too long, retaining your Christmas themed mails and promotions out there forever leaves a tacky impression. Do make sure that all the deals offered during the festive season have a definite end date, and remember to change back to your ‘normal’ marketing strategy once the holiday season has ended.
So do gear up for the holiday load, and use targeted strategies to reap big gains during the holiday season. Happy Holidays!