The holidays are the busiest time of the year for almost everyone. They are also a great time to end your business year on a strong note and get a solid start to the new year. Online sales have been constantly increasing over the years, and the holidays play a huge role. Especially as an online store owner, this is the perfect time to boost your sales and gain new customers. This is also an important time to prepare your website for the upcoming holiday season.
There are many things you can do on your website to ensure smooth holiday shopping. Here are 8 of our top recommendations for preparing your website for the 2021 holiday season.
Prepare For Heavy Site Traffic
The most critical factor on your website is your site speed. During the holidays this becomes even more important as customers are in a rush to get their shopping done. If your website takes more than a second or two to load, potential customers are sure to abandon it for one of your competitors.
It’s always best to check your site speed and optimize it before releasing your holiday sales. A great optimization tool to test your website’s speed is Google’s page speed tool.
Utilizing SEO, especially during the holidays, is key to gaining new customers for your business. Making note of some holiday-specific keywords to use in your promotions will help increase earning new potential customers. Use phrases that your customers might search when looking for a product or service like yours.
You can use these keywords in your holiday blog posts, in product listings, on your homepage, and more. This is a great way to get your product in the eyes of your target audience.
Run Promotions to Help Drive Traffic
Holiday shopping means everyone is trying to find the best deals. The biggest perk of online shopping is that you can compare prices from different stores all from the comfort of your couch. There are many different promotion options to choose from, here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Offer a flash sale for a limited time
- An advent calendar that discounts a different product every day before Christmas
- Give everyone who signs up for your email list during the holidays an extra discount
Make Small Design Changes
During this time of year, customers are looking for that extra holiday cheer. Making small changes to your website to include holiday themes will help your site visitors see you’re participating in the holidays. Small changes such as adding festive colors, holiday-themed imagery, writing “Happy Holidays” on your landing page, will go a long way. If you don’t make any changes, customers might think you’re not offering any holiday discounts and they won’t stay on the site very long.
It’s important to only make some small changes and save any larger layout changes for after the holidays. Integrating a large site change right before the holidays could lead to some issues that could prevent customers from accessing your website.
Utilize Your Opt-Ins
The holidays are the perfect time to bring in new customers that will continue shopping with you into the new year. Like we mentioned before, adding some holiday cheer to your email list is a great way to entice people to sign up. Giving them that extra discount almost guarantees that they will make a purchase after signing up.
Building a solid customer base during the holiday season opens up the opportunity for a great next year. As long as you keep building a strong relationship with your customers, they will continue to shop with you.
Identify Any Resource Weaknesses
The last thing you want is your website crashing during an important holiday sale. Identifying any weaknesses can help eliminate the possibility of your website going down during a high-traffic day. Make sure that your hosting account is able to handle the higher levels of traffic. Also, make sure that your payment processor is expecting a larger number of payments than usual.
Taking action on these small possible issues can save you from some major problems down the road. Periodically checking for any weaknesses will help you have a stronger website overall, not just for the holidays.
Stock Up on Inventory
Having enough inventory to last through the holiday shopping season is very important for any business. Check your sales from last year’s holiday season, or if you launched this year check your recent sales, to estimate how much product you will need.
Either stock up on your products yourself or make sure you reach out to your third-party service if you outsource your products.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile Shoppers
Optimizing your website for mobile users is one of the most important things you can do, and not just for the holidays. During the holidays, customers are looking for quick and easy ways to make their purchases.
According to SaleCycle, 56% of online sales came from mobile devices in 2020. Even though mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop, ensuring that you have a smooth check-out process will help minimize cart abandonment. Here are a few ways to improve your site’s mobile experience:
- Compress your site information to be easy to read and in a simple format
- Adjust your pop up sizes to fit a mobile screen
- Enable mobile payments
- Optimize your page load times
- Use a responsive mobile website design
You can test how mobile-friendly your website is using Google’s mobile-friendly test here.
The holiday season has become one of the most important times of the year for online stores. With customers wanting their product as soon as possible, and e-commerce competition being at an all-time high, the holiday shopping season is no easy feat. Even if your company is one of the most popular online stores, you always want to take these precautions to ensure a smooth shopping experience.
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