Is your business ready for the Holiday Season?

The holiday season is looming, and with it comes the opportunity for every business to grab a portion of the surge in online spending. Are your online presence and your business ready for the increase in traffic and revenue?

The Adobe Digital Insights team recently published some statistics on how consumers browse and spend their money. Smartphones accounted for 41% of visits to online retail sites, but only 21% of sales. This demonstrates that consumers are still reliant on desktop devices to make purchases. The difference in conversion from browse to purchase was higher by a ratio of 2.4 on desktops compared to smartphones.

Total online sales for the 2016 holiday season were a massive $90 billion, with sales on 56 of the 61 days each being over $1 billion. USA Today reports that the five days over Thanksgiving, including both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, account for approximately $1 in every $5.5 spent during the holiday season.

Unfortunately, as with every opportunity, there are people who want to benefit from your success without putting in the hard work. Cybercriminals will view the increase in traffic and spending as opportunities to make extra money, be it directly from consumers or by leaching and stealing from businesses.

Below are a few thoughts on how to prepare so that your business can benefit from a successful holiday season:

  1. Check that that your web servers can handle the additional traffic.
  2. If you outsource payment and checkout processes to an e-shop providers, check in with them to ensure they are also patched and ready for the increase in traffic.
  3. Update servers to the latest patch level, closing down the opportunity for cybercriminals to attack known vulnerabilities.
  4. Audit your website’s security, make sure processes are being followed and that new staff members are familiar with company policy.
  5. Running a scan for malware with an up-to-date anti-malware product, such as ESET, will ensure the systems are clean and that cybercriminals are not already resident.
  6. Be mobile-ready: while mobile transactions may only account for 21%, it’s clear that consumers are browsing on smartphones as part of the purchasing decision.
  7. If you intend emailing your customer database with offers, follow the CAN-SPAM policy or relevant local legislation so you don’t fall foul of the law. If your emails get misrecognized as spam then the opportunity is lost.
  8. When accepting online payments with credit cards, ensure you have the proper verification techniques to prevent fraudulent and chargeback purchases. Implementing programs such as Verified by Visa will protect your business and your customers’ transactions.
  9. Data breaches are, unfortunately, everyday news. Only collect the data you need about your customer and store it encrypted. Control access so that only employees who need access have access and follow the relevant legislation on collecting and storing personal data Companies doing business with EU residents should bear in mind the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcement of which begins in 2018.

Author , ESET

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