With the end of the year approaching, I wanted to set up a small checklist for The Prestashop shops to allow them to prepare as well as possible for their next sales period and/or Black Friday, which is already coming in a few weeks.
At the time of COVID-19, it is more than vital for many merchants to be well prepared for these crucial periods.
There are several things to consider in order to best prepare your Prestashop online store for sales periods or promotional periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.
Prepare your promotions in advance
Concretely, with experience, I realize that the worst thing to do is to create or import the discounts the night before or an hour before the start of the promotional period.
For many of my clients, it is a file import that allows to create mass promotions on products or the creation of catalog price rules on PrestaShop. Fortunately, most of the time it works but in a hurry, mistakes are possible.
Indeed, on a file, a bad column or a file too large can cause everything to flip, the same for catalog pricing rules that can consume a lot of server resources and can render your site unusable on a large catalog.
So prepare your promotions a few days in advance and schedule them for D-Day, but don’t do them on D-Day! This will save you a lot of unnecessary stress and avoid mishandling.
Notify your providers and partners
The management of an e-commerce is not only the responsibility of the e-commerce manager of the shop in question but of a set of entities/people.
Indeed, most e-commerce sites go through providers, whether for hosting, TMA (third application maintenance), SEO / SEA, marketplace management, and many others.
When preparing a commercial transaction and especially large periods such as sales, Black Friday etc, I advise you to notify your providers so that they can anticipate actions on their side if necessary.
As a provider myself, I have often experienced this situation and have to react urgently in order to resolve one or more problems that can often be resolved with anticipation.
It is also a guarantee of confidence to warn your partners and providers, they will make it 😉!
Predicting increased traffic
We reach the goal of a promotional period, increase the influx of visitors and convert them into customers. That’s why there are a few precautions to take to make sure your server can handle this sudden increase in traffic.
This point is more or less an extension of the previous point, by notifying your host and/or infoager, they will be able to advise you on what to do if necessary.
Nevertheless, here is a non-exhaustive list of the tips I can give you:
- Turn on the Smarty cache
- Turn on the Smart Cache JS and CSS (also called CCC on some versions)
- Check your version of PHP. Preferably, if you can switch to a version of PHP such as 7.1 or 7.2 depending on your version of Prestashop, do so. (Attention, it is better to be accompanied by a Prestashop agency to do this kind of operation, and not to do just before or during the sales, cf next section)
- Set up a CDN if possible
- Check for a server cache
- Don’t hesitate to do a load test to determine if your server is sized enough to receive and manage a high traffic without disrupting the navigation quality of your future customers.
- If, thanks to the mounting test, you determine that the server will not be able to handle the traffic, increase the resources of the latter.
No new features during these periods
The new feature that went into production the day before the sales started may well be the one that will end it.
Indeed, this can be hard to hear as an e-trader but launching a new feature the day before, or even the same day, the beginning of the sales could well put your site in the d-day.
That’s why I recommend putting your new features in place at least a week before the start of a promotional period. This should give you time to detect the various anomalies and experience this new feature before the influx of visitors who will pounce on it.
This also applies to an installation during this period. If your online store is stable, it would be a shame to ruin everything because of an excess of zeal.
Finally, do not install Prestashop modules (or Prestashop themes) at these same times. Expert advice Prestashop 😊!
In order to better prepare your next promotional periods, I advise you to do a dress rehearsal on a copy of your shop, usually called preproduction. This will serve as a testing platform, whether for the creation of your promotions, the setting up of your promotional inserts (banners, visuals, etc.). or any other tests.
In general, I advise each online merchant to own a pre-production version (usually hosted by your Prestashop Expert), it will always be used to verify changes before applying them online.
As you will have understood, anticipation is the key to successful sales or Black Friday. Much of my advice is based on common sense and will allow you to be serene throughout these periods.
However, this advice may not be applicable to everyone, especially if you are hosted at OVH via a shared server and/or if you are not accompanied by a developer or a specialized Agency PrestaShop.
If you are in this case, the most important in these times and really activate the cache in order to relieve as much as possible your server and especially not to install many modules that could cause bugs and make your shop unstable.
If you are a merchant and would like to be accompanied in the management of your balances, Black Friday or any other promotional operation, please contact me!