The holidays are upon us, and it’s truly a magical time of the year. Trips to the mountains, visiting relatives, spending time with loved ones, sipping eggnog, devouring cookies and holiday cheer all make Christmas special. But it can also be a time of sheer panic, late-night calls to website developers, excessive swearing and extreme stress as your e-commerce site crashes during the busiest shopping season of the year. Thankfully, you can take steps to keep your site running strong and racking up revenue. Let’s look at our top eight tips on how to get your website ready for an influx of holiday shoppers.
PREPARING FOR DISASTER
The first step in disaster preparedness is to know what to do in an emergency. Many of us know what to do in case of an earthquake, zombie apocalypse, fire, flood, tornado or other calamities. But fewer know what to do if their website goes down in the middle of the year’s largest sale. Whom do you contact, and how does the problem get resolved? Is your website on a popular platform with easy access to support, or was it developed by someone you met at a coffee shop? Is the developer in a different time zone or country, and will they even help you? Is there someone on your team that can quickly handle any issues? Knowing the answers to these questions before something happens will save valuable time and get your site back online quicker.
AUDIT YOUR CHECKOUT PROCESS
Nothing will kill a sale quicker than a slow, clunky and confusing checkout process. Consumers have zero patience and, unless your product is unique, will quickly go elsewhere. When was the last time you audited your website’s checkout process and examined its shopping cart abandonment rate? It is definitely worth going through the process from start to finish to look for any glitches if it has been a while. If you are pressed for time, a look at your shopping cart abandonment rate will quickly show if there are any issues. Check out our blog post here, explaining what issues to look for and how to solve them. Ironing them out before the holiday rush will eliminate headaches, capture more sales and help in the long run too.
PREFLIGHT YOUR SALE
Shoppers love the holiday season because there are always great sales and, more than likely, you are planning one too. Most agonize over the details of how much of a discount to offer and which products to mark down. But the mechanics of a sale are equally important and can cause complete chaos if not executed properly. Will the discount be applied with a code on your website, and does it actually work? Or do all of the products have to be discounted manually? Can the consumer see the sale price anywhere on your site, or does it only appear at the end of checkout? These might seem like trivial questions, but they can cause consumers to look elsewhere if overlooked. Make sure to preflight all aspects of your sale before it goes live to eliminate losing revenue.
DON’T MAKE DRASTIC CHANGES
Most of us love decorating for the holidays. But, like that one neighbor with the giant inflatable Santa and enough lights to be seen from space, someone always takes it a bit too far. The same applies to websites. It is okay to add some holiday décor to your site. However, this is not the time to change critical components like user experience, site navigation or function. Any changes always risk affecting something else, and you don’t want to be troubleshooting your site during the holiday rush. Modifying site navigation risks confusing returning customers that are more apt to make a purchase. Remember, modern consumers have zero patience and won’t take the time to figure out your site but will go to another one instead. Keep site changes superficial and to a minimum before a big sale.
CHECK YOUR PAGE LOAD SPEED
Another reason to minimize website changes is that they can affect how quickly your site loads. That might seem like a big deal, but seconds matter and play a huge role in site abandonment. According to an article on Medium, 62% of 4,500 consumers believe a website should take less than five seconds to load. And they won’t patiently wait but abandon your site for a faster loading one. Don’t expect them to come back either, as a survey by Unbounce shows that 70% of consumers say page speed impacts their willingness to buy for an online retailer. How fast your site loads is often overlooked but absolutely matters to consumers. Pay attention to it and take steps to minimize it before losing holiday shoppers to speedier competition.
ADD A LIVE CHAT FEATURE
Customers during the holiday season are usually in a panic. Many are trying to tackle a long Christmas list and are shopping for items they are unfamiliar with. They are bound to have questions that they will want rapid answers for. As previously noted, consumers are not patient people. Most won’t endlessly wait for phone assistance or a response via social media. This is where the ability to chat live with a product expert from your brand can have a significant impact. Questions are quickly answered, leading to a quicker decision to buy. And it keeps the customer engaged and on your site instead of wandering elsewhere for information. Many e-commerce platforms like Shopify already have live chat widgets built-in, so all you have to do is activate them. Follow the tips from this article from HubSpot on how to maximize live chat interactions and features.
MAKE SURE YOUR SITE WORKS ON ALL PLATFORMS
Many of us obsess over our websites and constantly check them while on our computers. But it is essential to ensure that your site works and functions correctly on mobile phones and tablets too. Overlook this critical step, and you could miss out on a big chunk of sales during the holiday madness. According to an article on Statista, mobile sales have seen an almost two-fold increase since 2019 and are projected to surpass $430 billion by the end of this year. Websites that don’t consider mobile platforms are often clunky and slow on those devices, leading to site abandonment. The last thing you want during your sale is customers going to your competition. Audit your website to check if it works across all platforms and ensure that your server can handle the extra traffic of holiday shoppers too.
TAP INTO SEO CONTENT
Consumers are always looking for information, especially during the holidays. They may know their loved one’s interests and hobbies but are unsure what will make the perfect gift. This is where carefully tailored content can lead people to your site through the power of SEO. And once there, that same content can help guide them to the right products. Gift guides with various price ranges and gift ideas by interest can be powerful pieces of blog content that increase sales. And don’t forget that they should have accompanying videos on your YouTube channel, and all content should be promoted on your social media platforms. Check out our post on why content marketing matters and how powerful it can be.
LET US HANDLE IT
If you are running short of time, bandwidth or expertise amid the holiday rush, we are here to help. At Kahn Media, we are a full-service integrated marketing agency with a broad set of competencies. We can audit your site to check its load speed, ensure platform compatibility and make its checkout process seamless. Our expert team of writers, photographers and videographers can create engaging SEO content that drives site visits and sales. And we can also manage your social media, public relations, digital marketing campaigns and more to free up valuable time. Connect with us to see how we can help grow your brand and make the holidays less stressful and more profitable.