Get your online store ready for the busiest – and most profitable – time of the year.
Christmas and New year will soon be upon us. With all the buzz and festive songs playing on the radio, it is hard for anyone not to feel the Christmas spirit. With less than a month to go and last-minute gift buying kicking in, it is also time for online stores to make the final sales and promotion efforts for 2018.
According to Deloitte, ecommerce sales are projected to increase between 17–22% for the 2018 holiday season. The amount of purchases made over mobile devices are also expected to increase. Last year, revenue from smartphones and tablets accounted for 33.1% of online holiday revenue in the US, a 28% growth rate year on year.
Here are six easy ways to help you prep your online store for the busiest time of the year.
1. Optimise for mobile
A report from Adobe Digital Insight showed that 46% of traffic to ecommerce sites stem from smartphones. But that’s not all. An article by Digital Commerce 360 also found that mobile sales surged throughout the holiday season, particularly on key festive events such as Christmas, with smartphones accounting for 68% of traffic and 50% of online transactions.
If you haven’t optimised your online store for mobile, there’s no better time than the present.
- Simplify the checkout process with easily accessible and prominent checkout and add-to-cart buttons.
- Make it easy for shoppers to shop with an expandable search icon and filter options so users can quickly locate the products they want.
- Keep your product descriptions short and punchy with ‘find out more’ buttons or accordions for lengthier and more detailed product descriptions.
Most importantly, don’t forget to optimise your page loading speeds to ensure that your online store can handle the increased traffic. With tons of orders coming in, the last thing you want is your store freezing or crashing.
2. Sort out your shipping schedules
As every successful online retailer knows, shipping during peak retail periods is an absolute nightmare. While you’re mostly at the mercy of the shipping providers, there are a few things you can do to take the guesswork out of shipping.
Review your shipping vendors and shortlist the three most reliable ones. Find out their anticipated delivery timeframes for the festive season and place those dates and any shipping costs prominently in your website, especially at checkout. Remember to also include this information in your promotional emails or social media pages.
If you have a return policy, extend the timeframe that customers can return orders, so it doesn’t mess up your shipping schedule to cater for the holiday bottlenecks. Be sure to make it clear who’s responsible for the cost of shipping returns, you or your customer. Better yet, provide a self-pickup option on all orders and returns if possible.
3. Decorate your online store with festive themes
There’s a reason why brick-and-mortar stores spend time and money sprucing up their shops for the holidays – to put customers in the mood to shop. Imagine a customer browsing your online store for Christmas inspiration only to find an out-of-season summer-themed site. Chances are, you won’t be their trusted source for holiday shopping, or any other shopping for that matter.
Add a little holiday flair to your online store by swapping out your banners and images for some holiday-themed ones!
You can even include a countdown timer to create urgency and build up anticipation for Christmas.
Taking your own product shots? Use props like faux snow, gift-wrapped boxes, holiday lights and ornaments to create that festive vibe.
4. Promote your best-selling products
The holiday season is the best time for you to showcase new or top-selling products. Pop-ups are a great way to capture the attention of your shoppers. Or go big and splash your hottest picks on your home page banners.
Come up with snazzy gift highlights like the ‘12 gifts of Christmas’, ‘Naughty or Nice’ or ‘Santa’s Top Picks’ and offer bundled gift boxes of popular products. Better yet, create a gift guide with a list of recommended gifts and top picks from your inventory.
5. Delight your customers with value-added extras
Channel your inner Santa and delight your shoppers with special offers and promotions like free gift-wrapping services, gifts with purchase, tiered discounts or free shipping. Further boost your sales with limited-time offers or daily deals.
Consider highlighting e-gift cards or gifts with express shipping options to attract last-minute shoppers who are looking for instant gift delivery to their loved ones. Remember, the more holiday cheer you give, the more you’ll receive in return.
6. Get the word out
Now that you’re all prepped, the last thing left to do is to tell the world that your online store is ready for the holiday season. And the best way to do this is through digital marketing.
Create buzz by posting a series of holiday-themed posts (with relevant hashtags) on your social media pages that link back to your online store. Beef up your efforts by blasting out a holiday email to inform your buyers that you’re launching a special sale to celebrate the season or simply to remind them to drop by your online store for cool gifts and rewards.
Create blog posts specific to the holiday season to attract new visitors and shoppers to your website. Or, better yet, use an online advertising platform like Adtiq to create, manage and optimise your campaigns on Google, Facebook and Instagram.
To recap the six points:
- Optimise your online store for mobile
- Sort out logistics for on-time delivery
- Go the extra mile with value-added services
- Highlight your top products
- Offer promotions to attract last-minute shoppers
- Drive traffic to your website with online advertising and social media sites!