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ARTICLE Business TipsJune 6, 2016

The great sales of e-commerce: Preparing for Big Shopping Days

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Big Shopping Days are big news in the world of online shopping and can present amazing opportunities for your business. But are you ready to hang out the 24-hour sale sign and handle the surge of traffic?

Before the days of e-commerce, most bargain hunters had to wait until Boxing Day for a mega sale bonanza. However, that all changed with the introduction of big online shopping days, when hundreds of online retailers come together with special offers and discounts of up to 90 per cent for a period of just 24 hours.

Big Shopping Days create a sense of urgency among shoppers who are keen to snap up a deal within a short window of time. Participating in a big shopping day can also present big opportunities for your business, but are you ready for the sudden demand on stock and is your website up to the challenge?

The big deal about Big Shopping Days

In the US last year, Cyber Monday was the country’s largest online shopping day, reaching more than US$3 billion in sales. Singles Day, which is celebrated in China on 11 November, was the world’s biggest online shopping day of the year. Alibaba alone reported sales of US$14.3 billion.

In Australia, Click Frenzy has been following a similar model since 2012. Although the site infamously crashed within moments of launching its first event, it is now billed as “The Sale that Stops a Nation” and more than 300 retailers take part in the frenzy.

Grant Arnott, Click Frenzy co-founder and e-commerce specialist, describes shopping days like Click Frenzy as like “Boxing Day sales on digital steroids”.

“It’s a 24-hour high-volume concentration of intense online shopping activity,” he says. “It benefits participating retailers in driving new customers, particularly infrequent online shoppers who are harder to capture, hyped up by the frenzy of deals on offer.”

A larger number of retailers are expected to attract more bargain hunters to big shopping days. Click Frenzy now holds an event in May and November and is launching a dedicated Travel Frenzy site in October. “The idea of a 24-hour online shopping frenzy resonates with both customers who can prepare for it and retailers who would not normally discount but will dedicate some exclusive offers to appeal to new customers without damaging their brand,” says Arnott.

While global brands such as Adidas, Dell and ASOS are among the brands that participate in events such as Click Frenzy, Arnott says the event is open to almost any business.

“The beauty of Click Frenzy is that small, virtually unknown online retailers can rub shoulders with mega-brands such as Peter Alexander, Bonds, Woolworths and more in a 24-hour treasure hunt set up to look like an online shopping mall,” he says.

Preparing for a Big Shopping Day

High-volume shopping days can help increase your sales; however, planning ahead is the key to success.

Depending on the size of your business, you may choose to employ more staff to ensure you can meet the increased demand of a Big Shopping Day. Planning ahead also includes ensuring you have adequate stock. Arnott recommends buying stock especially for Click Frenzy rather than using the event as a clearance for unwanted merchandise, as this can help attract new customers.

There’s no point in participating in a high-volume shopping event if your website is not up to the challenge. Cloud-based technologies, such as Blitz, can test your site using a high volume of virtual users. However, it’s advisable to contact your web host to discuss the best options.

You may also need to consider beefing up your website hosting capacity in preparation for the big day; however, many hosting providers build in service elasticity to ensure they can manage traffic spikes. “There are a lot of variables that go into site performance, such as file sizes for pages, content distribution networks, JavaScript and other query-based scripts that can slow down page load time,” says Arnott. “It’s important to seek advice from experts on how to streamline your website for maximum performance.”

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