A good user experience is key to a successful ecommerce site, and it’s essential during the holiday season. When time is of the essence, and everyone’s offering the deal of a lifetime, your site better be easy to navigate and quick to load; otherwise, customers will quickly head elsewhere to make holiday purchases. Don’t sweat it, though – we’ve got five tips to help get your website ready for your customers.

1. Don’t play when it comes to traffic

Can your website handle sudden spikes in traffic? How about 2-3 times your regular pageviews? Nothing can kill an ecommerce transaction faster than a slow site (or one that crashes suddenly or doesn’t load at all). Avoid the negative impact of more holiday sales by adding backup servers or beefing up what you already have before your first big holiday push.

2. ‘Tis the season to be testing

Nothing should ever go live on a site (or in marketing, for that matter) until it’s been thoroughly tested. Check every link on your revamped homepage, ensure every beautiful product image loads properly, and proofread every piece of new copy that hits your site. View your site on mobile, tablet, and desktop. And please test and retest all the offer codes you’re pushing in your promotions through your ecommerce platform before you release them! People get heated when FREESHIPPING doesn’t discount shipping at the correct shopping cart size.

3. Let everyone in on the love

You may think that your web team (or outsourced agency, if you go that route) should be the only ones who know your website inside and out. NO WAY! Everyone in your organization should know what you’re telling customers, and warehouse employees should understand the promised shipping times and return policies. At the same time, contact center agents should know how to walk customers through the entire checkout process and offer codes and promotional information to provide outstanding service.

4. Overcommunicate when appropriate

Let’s say that adding embroidery to an apparel item adds another three days to the order lifecycle. If you don’t communicate that on your product pages or checkout process, you will have angry customers when their packages arrive three days later than expected. The solution? Overcommunication! Whether it’s a free-shipping threshold, a specific nuance in the returns process, or an additional lead time to order, you need to let your customers know to avoid confusion and unnecessary grief for your customer support team to handle. If you don’t have an FAQ page, consider adding one – and if your holiday policies vary from your non-peak policies, make sure you update your copy everywhere to reflect that.

5. Make site navigation a breeze

For many ecommerce retailers, the holiday season is an excuse for bold-colored graphics and flashy banners. That’s fine, but make sure your promotions and holiday cheer don’t interfere with your site’s usability! Site search should be easy-to-locate and use. To make finding the perfect products easier, consider adding season-inspired categories to your site: if you’re an apparel retailer, perhaps a ‘holiday party’ section with little black dresses, glittery dress shirts, or even ugly sweaters; if you’re in the home decor space, consider a ‘Christmas Eve dinner’ theme with matching home goods to create the perfect atmosphere on December 24. The sky’s the limit!