If the 2021 holiday shopping season is anything like 2020, we know that experts will continue to predict record e-commerce sales. In 2020, U.S. consumers broke records of holiday shopping during Cyber 5,(Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) with online sales rising 20.6% year-over-year. 2021 is likely to be more of the same!
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 eMarketer.com:
- US consumers will spend $933.30 billion on e-commerce in 2021, up 17.9% year-over-year, and equaling 15.3% of total retail sales.
- Brick-and-mortar retail spending will grow 6.3% in 2021, to $5.149 trillion, the strongest growth rate seen since 2011.
After a crazy year in 2020, we know sales should definitely see a bump now that the economy is reopening and buyers are ready to spend money. In fact, according to Oberlo, in 2021, e-commerce sales were expected to account for 18.1 percent of retail sales worldwide! So now that the 2021 holiday season is upon us, many business owners are wondering what it will really be like this year.
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 your 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
Here’s an interesting fact: More than one-third of American small businesses do not have a website. This is great news if you have a website! 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.
You can have another record-breaking holiday season in 2021, as long as you’re prepared. 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!
Original Post Written: 9/27/2020