Is Your Website Optimized for Holiday Shopping Success?

November 12, 2015 Lauren Powell

‘Tis (almost) the season for sipping warm lattes, enjoying the holidays and, for consumers - purchasing the best gifts possible for their dearest family and friends. This desire to show appreciation for the special people in our lives means that the holiday shopping season can equal major dollars for most businesses.

E-commerce is a major component to achieving sales goals during the holiday season, and having a user-friendly, mobile-optimized website can lead to in-store sales too. In this post, we'll provide three tips to ensure your customers are encouraged to  visit your site, complete their transaction and even inspire them to come into your store locations.

 
Tip #1: Revamp & Refresh

Consumers are going online for their holiday shopping more and more every year. But how do you make sure they choose to make their holiday purchases with your business? Getting them to your site is the first part, but more importantly is keeping their interest and making a sale. 

Help them out by making your website as user-friendly as possible. You may not have the time (or budget) to do a complete redesign, but a few small changes can go a long way. Start by refreshing item categories or replacing dating images with new ones. You can even take it a step further by offering gift guides to help customers select items or pairings. 

Online gift guides are such a great way to generate ideas and walk your customers through your product offerings step by step. Tailor your gift guides to feature key products for each customer profile that applies to your business: “Gifts for the Mom that Does it All”; “Gifts to Appeal to Your Inner Athlete”. If your business primarily offers services, think about adding a gift card option. 

BONUS: If you have an email list, mention that you've made these changes on your site (i.e. "Haven't found the right gift for Mom yet? Check out our new gift guides!"). 

 

Tip #2: Monitor Customer Trends & Behavior

Looking to ramp up sales for specific products or services? Take a look at what your biggest sellers are today as well as what's "trendy" in your industry.

Consider this: You own a boutique kids’ retail store that carries a variety of clothing and toys for children aged 4-13. Suppose this year was jam-packed with high-grossing superhero films at the box office? You may conclude that superhero figurines, clothing and accessories will be on wish-lists nation-wide.

Consider this: You’re an athletic-wear retailer that wants to take advantage of the “athleisure” trend by introducing the perfect pair of light-weight leggings that are versatile enough to be worn in the gym, during yoga, or for a day of running errands. Say your current leggings are already popular, and there is strong market research to suggest your customers would be a good audience for your new “athleisure” line. 

So, how do you connect these booming trends with your site? Preparation. If possible, make sure you are stocked with the right inventory at the right time, and demonstrate these new items online. Use email marketing, catalogues and clever display ads to drive consumers to your website and storefront. Also, avoid cannibalizing sales for your other products by positioning your new items as key add-ons to existing wish lists. Display photos of full head-to-toe outfits (gift guide, anyone?), and consider providing volume discounts (buy three, get one free, etc.).

 

Tip #3: Don’t Rely on Coupons Alone

Let’s talk coupons. Consumers love them, right? From Black Friday, to Cyber Monday and every day beyond and in-between, holiday sales are high stakes for most businesses, so coupons are an obvious (and simple) way to quickly boost sales.

However, discounts seem to float into our inboxes and mailboxes, and onto our computer, tablet and phone screens constantly. And sometimes, these messages are deleted, thrown away, and clicked away from almost immediately. Coupons alone may not be enough to drive customers toward your site or storefront unless they provide real, tangible benefits that fulfill consumers’ needs. During the holiday season, shopping habits tend to be looser - AKA, consumers spend a bit (or a lot) more money than usual and visit retailers beyond the norm. 

If you combine coupons with tips one and two on this list, you will have a solid strategy for your website and (hopefully) see higher sales this holiday season.

 

For more insights on marketing your business during the holiday season, see all of our holiday assets here.

About the Author

Lauren Powell

Lauren has worked with Cox Media as a financial analyst for over a year. She is a University of Georgia graduate and is currently pursuing her MBA with a concentration in Marketing. Outside of her responsibilities with work and school, she enjoys spending time with her girlfriends, traveling and fitness.

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