This year, the holiday season will have 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas (one more day from last year and five fewer than 2012). The (short) holiday season is upon us and as a business owner, is your website ready for what is to come? According to IBM’s 2014 Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, this year consumers will be spending more time online during the holidays, but will be spending less time on retail sites, in part because they’re more often on mobile phones and tablets. So, how can you prepare your website for holiday shoppers? Here’s a short list of what NOT to do:
1. Don’t make it difficult to find products.
You need to guide your customers to purchase your products and not a competitors. The most important factor is to make sure the path to finding a product is as clear as possible. To do this make sure you have your site search up and running. To really make it easy for your customers, integrate with a custom search refinement tool such as Nextopia with auto-fill search results.
Custom search refinement tools make it much easier for consumers to find products.
2. Don’t disregard mobile and tablet users.
Mobile commerce will account for 33 percent of U.S. online holiday sales. In addition, 40% of last year’s Black Friday’s online shopping was on mobile. So this means you need to make sure your site is mobile and tablet friendly. If your site only renders beautifully on a desktop, you will see high bounce rates and low conversions for tablet and mobile users, which means lost revenue.
Unsure about responsive design? Check out what you ought to know about responsive design in our infographic.
3. Don’t have a confusing add to cart/check out process.
You need to make sure the process from adding a product to the cart and checking out is as seamless and easy as possible. When someone adds an item to a cart and continues shopping, there should be a shortcut at the top of the site to indicate there is something in the cart. In addition, the checkout process should be one page. There are pros and cons as marketers to having a multi-page vs. a one page checkout, but as a consumer, we all want a one page, simple checkout process.
4. Don’t have outdated images/products featured.
Unless the summer clothes are 95% off, don’t feature them on the homepage. In addition, make sure you’re not out of stock on hot ticket items or featured products. If you get someone to your website and they find that you are out of what you are marketing, they will more than likely not buy from you, or ever come back to your site for that matter.
5. Don’t lack incentives.
73% of online shoppers noted unconditional free shipping as “critical” to a purchase. It is highly recommended to work out a plan to offer free shipping over $X. For example, if your average order value is around $150, offer free shipping on orders over $175 to encourage customers to add one more item to their cart to get the free shipping incentive.
To wrap up, what you need to remember is this:
- Utilize customized search refinement tools
- Ensure your site is ready for mobile and tablet shoppers with a responsive design
- Make sure your add to cart button stands out and indicates when an item is added to a cart
- Double check that your checkout process is easy and functioning
- Feature hot ticket items on the homepage and make sure they are IN STOCK
- Offer free shipping
With that, we wish you a happy holiday season! If you need our expertise with ecommerce design or digital marketing, contact us and we will be glad to help you optimize your site for a successful onsite shopping experience. Have follow up questions? Drop us a line in the comments section below!