This holiday season may go down in history as the most interesting year to date. However, just like any other year, shoppers are eager to begin their shopping. In fact, many people have already started to shop for gifts.
The holidays offer an excellent opportunity to continue to grow your business, as well as end the year strong. For online store owners, this is the perfect time to boost your sales and revenue.
According to CNBC:
- Online sales this November and December are forecast to surge 33% year over year to a record $189 billion, according to Adobe Analytics.
- The gains could go even higher, if consumers receive another round of government stimulus checks or if brick-and-mortar stores are forced to shut down again to curb the spread of Covid-19.
- Adobe predicts there will be 18 days where digital spending tops $3 billion in a 24-hour window. Last year, outside of the window of Thanksgiving weekend, there were only three such days.
In a year full of ups and downs, expecting an increased number of visitors to your store is great news! However, if your website isn’t ready to handle the increased traffic, it can result in the loss of not only revenue but your online reputation.
There are many things you can do to prepare your eCommerce site for holiday shopping, and the quicker you get it done, the better. Read on to learn what your first steps should be.
Update Your Site
If you have necessary updates to make on your website, including plugins, do it now. Additionally, keep in mind that customers are shopping from their mobile devices more than ever before. Mobile optimization is a must.
However, if there are updates that can wait until after the holidays, then it’s worth considering. Unexpected technical problems can ruin a good day of shopping very quickly. If an update is absolutely necessary, back up your website first.
Ensure Your Site Can Handle the Traffic
If there’s one thing you don’t want to happen, it’s to crash during the holiday shopping blitz. Unfortunately, when there are many website visits at one time, this can happen. In fact, 75% of internet users agree that they would not return to a website that took longer than 4 seconds to load. In short, your website should load as fast as possible!
Here are a few things you can do to speed up your website:
- Uninstall unused plugins
- Double-check your payment processor is prepared for more transactions
- Optimize your images and monitor your video content speed
- Distribute your website traffic load to multiple servers
- Upgrade to hosting services that offer more space and allows for more traffic
Increase Web Security
Data security should be at the top of your priority list all year, but especially during the holidays to make sure you don’t miss out on increased traffic and sales. Identify theft and data hacking is at an all-time high, with 9 out of 10 Americans worrying about online data security.
Reassure your visitors that their data is protected. Make sure your SSL configuration is up to date and Captcha is front and center, including on your checkout pages.
Perhaps the most important question your buyer wants to know (besides how much it costs) is, when will my product arrive?
Remember to update your delivery and shipping costs clearly on your website. In addition, keep in mind that delivery time increases during the holidays, so make sure this is clearly communicated on your product pages. (And don’t forget your Return Policy!)
Get the Look
You don’t need to do a full website redesign, but adding a little holiday cheer to your pages will reflect that “It’s the Holidays!” and get people in the mood for shopping. Shoppers are looking for great ideas and even better deals. Dress up your website in its Holiday best, including:
- Festive colors and design
- Countdown timer to increase urgency
- Updated banners and headers
In addition to festive design elements, you can add new categories that will keep your shoppers in the spirit, such as:
- Gifts for men
- Gifts for women
- Gifts for kids
- Gifts for mom & dad
- Special holiday offers
- And so on…
Show It Off
After you’ve added some holiday cheer to your website, it’s time to tell the world about it! During the holidays, it’s absolutely essential that you increase your social media presence and utilize your marketing lists to their fullest potential.
Post as many holiday-themed posts as you want. Share your offers with your followers and encourage engagement by asking questions. It’s also a great time to run a contest or giveaway to show appreciation for your customers while encouraging likes and shares – extending your reach during this crucial time. Maintain consistent branding and messaging by designing your posts to match your website.
Just like social media, you should be more active with your email list. Start communicating with them as soon as possible by building anticipation for the amazing offers you have coming their way. Include design elements that match your social posts and website. Remind your subscribers that they can buy now to avoid long lines and higher prices later!
Wrapping It Up
Having a successful holiday season, even in 2020, is totally possible, as long as your website is ready. If you follow the steps described above, you can start making sales sooner than later. What about you? Are you ready for the Holiday shopping season?
If you need help getting your website ready for the Holidays, GreenCup Digital is here to help!