As consumers hit both brick-and-mortar and online stores to tackle their holiday shopping lists, merchants must prepare for a spike in orders while also catering to evolving consumer buying habits and expectations.
Between mitigating supply chain challenges, ideating holiday promotions, tracking inventory and more, website management can rival other pressing responsibilities, but merchants must make time to optimize their websites before the holiday shopping season — and the numbers reveal why.
According eMarketer research, Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year among U.S. consumers. The same report also found ecommerce will account for 18.4% of total retail sales during the 2021 holiday season.
Follow these strategies to improve your website, drive sales and extend customer lifetime value:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 holiday shopping rush, 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.
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.