Ecommerce Holiday Planning: Prep Your Website Like a Pro

It’s never too early to start your ecommerce holiday planning. Ensure your website is ready for the biggest shopping season of the year — and COVID curveballs — with these expert tips and insights.

Instead of navigating brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season, more consumers will be navigating the web to complete their shopping lists. Merchants need to be ready to captivate online shoppers with a fantastic digital experience. This initiative should be at the top of your ecommerce holiday planning to-do list, and the numbers reveal why. 

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A study from daVinci Payments shows 71% of respondents expect to do more than half of their 2020 holiday shopping online. Moreover, another report from marketing firm Fluent predicts a 73% increase for online shopping on Thanksgiving Day compared to past years. 

Time Is Ticking, So Start Now 

The holidays may be months away, but ecommerce merchants and retailers need to focus on improving their websites right now. Not only will starting early give you enough time to tackle the tips below, it will also help you uncover and solve challenges before the high-stakes holiday time. 

The goal is to start the holiday shopping season with better insights on which products or services your customers want most, which marketing messages best appeal to your audience and which tactics create lifelong customers. Many of these online holiday shoppers will be first-time customers, so put your brand’s best face forward. 

Ecommerce Holiday Planning Tips to Optimize Your Website 

Follow these tips to improve your website, drive sales and extend customer lifetime value:

Keep Branding Consistent  

You want your website copy and images to deliver holiday cheer but avoid completely reinventing your website for the holidays. Not only is that a big commitment, you want to immediately establish your brand with new customers. Plus, you do not want returning customers to get lost if you make too many changes for the holidays. Spruce up your website for the season, add holiday imagery and promote special sales. But keep your brand colors, brand voice and website navigation the same. 

Offer Flexibility 

Consumers want options when they buy holiday presents for loved ones — especially if the gift is a subscription service. Let’s say a mother wants to buy her fitness-enthusiast daughter some healthy pre-made meals for Christmas. But the year-long subscription exceeds Mom’s budget. Luckily, the meal company allows shoppers to buy 3-month or 6-month subscriptions for a lower price through their website. 

Offering flexible options is crucial outside the subscription business model, as well. Your ecommerce website should enable users to easily select from a variety of colors, sizes, flavors and more. It is not the “perfect gift” if there’s only a one-size-fits-all option. 

Optimize Checkout Pages

The holidays can be hectic and online shoppers do not have time to waste on slow-loading or clunky checkout pages. Test the loading time for your checkout pages before the holidays roll around. Ensure they can handle higher traffic volumes so you can run enticing deals. 

You should also allow shoppers to make quick purchases as guests, then give them the option to save their information for next time. High-converting checkout pages also clearly display shipping information, so consumers can be confident their orders will arrive before the holidays.  

Identify Bundling Opportunities 

In the ecommerce world, bundling means packaging different products or services together and selling it for a set price. Product bundling lends perfectly for stocking stuffers because the products are normally targeted toward a specific demographic. For example, an exercise equipment company could bundle a sweatband, muscle relaxer cream and a water bottle together as stocking stuffers targeted for runners. 

Before the holidays approach, you need to identify which bundles have the highest profit margins, which bundles pique the most interest and if there are opportunities to swap out certain products within the bundle to convert more sales. 

Run Test Campaigns 

Campaign testing is a major reason to start your ecommerce holiday planning early. You cannot successfully optimize checkout pages, identify bundling opportunities or pinpoint in-demand products without reliable data. Before the holidays, run various campaigns to determine what is working and areas for improvement. 

Your backend ecommerce platform should integrate with your frontend system to house metrics in one place, so you can easily make data-driven decisions. Once you have the insight, adjust your strategies to maximize sales when the holidays roll around.  

The Gift That Keeps on Giving  

An optimized ecommerce website is the gift that keeps on giving for merchants. Not only will it drive sales during the most important shopping season of the year, it will set you up for long-term success in the new year. The pandemic has completely changed consumer buying habits. Make sure your online experience caters to consumers’ evolving needs and expectations.

Learn how a flexible ecommerce platform can empower your business before, during and after the holiday shopping season. Sign up for a demo and get started today.