Deck the Halls: 12 Tips for Holiday 2014 eCommerce Preparation
The countdown to the 2014 holiday season has begun, and experts are projecting that this year could be the best yet for e-commerce sales. Is your online retail store ready to reap the benefits of this forecasted surge in revenue this year? Check this list of 12 industry-tested tips designed to give your e-commerce site the gift of increased revenue this 2014 holiday season.
1. Mobile Optimization
Experts are predicting that consumers will be making more purchases from tablets and phones than ever this holiday season. Test to make sure your store looks great and is easy to use on mobile platforms. SearchFit Mobile is a great way to easily create a fast, clean, and fully functional mobile version of your e-commerce site.
2. Free Shipping for the Holiday
Consider offering free shipping to your customers this year, if your budget will allow. This can often mean the difference between making a sale and losing the customer to a competing retailer. If it is not feasible to offer free shipping across the board, you may want to consider sending an e-mail to your mailing list with a special offer for free holiday shipping during a certain window, or free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount. This could really punch up your site visits and conversions, because holiday shoppers are always hunting for those special deals.
3. Gift Certificates
Gift certificates are a great way to make more sales during the holidays, especially if you sell some kind of specialty or niche product such as lingerie or shoes. Make sure to feature your gift certificate options prominently, perhaps even on your home page. If you offer non-physical gift certificates, check to be sure the automated e-mail that is sent containing the code looks clean and festive. Make sure the instructions for use of gift certificate codes at checkout are straightforward and easy to understand.
4. Gift Buying Guides
Start compiling custom gift guides now! You can create categorized guides (i.e. “Gifts for Her” “Gifts for Teens”), feature new and popular products, or create a guide that features your sale inventory. Many consumers will start their gift-buying journey by browsing for gift ideas, so make sure your e-commerce site has unique and group-specific options featured front and center. SearchFit makes creating gift guides easy, with options for generating automated groups (i.e. “Best Sellers”) or creating your own custom groups (i.e. “Great Gifts Under $20”).
5. Streamline Site Usability
While this tip is likely something you are considering throughout the year as an e-commerce business owner, it is more important than ever to be sure that your sites design, navigation, search, and checkout process are simple and easy on the eyes. During the holiday season, consumers can be especially fickle about site design, as they are probably doing quite a bit of purchasing and may be suffering from fatigue. The easier the process of purchasing from your site is, from beginning to end, the more of those valuable conversions you can expect to garner.
6. Return Policy
As consumers become more savvy at shopping for gifts online, the importance of having a clear and accommodating return policy for your products has greatly increased. Take a look at your current return policy; Is the language straightforward and understandable? Is it easy for customers to locate your policy before checking out? For the holiday season, you may want to create a special return policy with a specific window of time when returns will be accepted. When buying items with higher price-points as gifts, consumers will certainly take your return policy into account as they decide whether to purchase from your site or the competition, so make sure that your policy is as simple and accommodating as possible.
7. Increase Upselling
Upselling is an awesome way to increase revenue by encouraging customers to add related products to their order. Make sure that each product, when applicable, features links to other related products or accessories in your store. For example, a customer buying a corset as a gift is likely to also add-on items like stockings and robes, if these are offered to him during the purchasing process. SearchFit allows you to easily add related products and accessories to items in your store.
8. Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers
Consider adding options to capture conversions from last-minute shoppers. For example, you may want to add a shipping guarantee for Christmas delivery if orders are placed by a certain date, or to offer free or discounted rates for rush holiday shipping. Make it easy for these procrastinating shoppers to make a purchase on your e-commerce site, and watch your late-season revenues go through the roof.
9. Stock Up for the Holiday
If you are shipping orders directly from your warehouse, be sure to anticipate the holiday rush and stock up on shipping supplies like tape, boxes, packing materials, etc. While this may seem elementary, it is an easy task that you want to take care of now, leaving you free to fully focus on customer service and orders during the holiday madness. Also, take a look at inventory levels and be sure that you have enough of your best selling products to meet projected demand, and then some. Running out of a hot product at the height of the holiday shopping season can be a huge pain!
10. Check For Errors
Look through your site and be sure that all text is accurate and up-to-date. Make sure that there is no old copy reflecting dates or offers from previous years. Again, this may seem elementary, but mistakes like this can confuse customers, or even lead to customer service issues down the line. Give your site a good read-through and fix any mistakes, leaving yourself free to concentrate on important issues as the holiday rush approaches.
11. Spruce Up Descriptions
Regardless of what type of product you sell, it is always best to have warm, inviting product descriptions, rather than technical details. For the holidays, you may want to consider suggesting the item as a gift in the product descriptions. For example: “Give the gift of a luxurious terrycloth bathrobe.” Consumers will respond to inviting descriptions and calls-to-action, so editing your product descriptions accordingly will likely lead directly to increased conversions this holiday season.
12. Deck the Halls
Consider adding a special touch to your e-commerce site this holiday season by adding a specialized holiday template to your sites design. Use a design that is eye-catching and festive, while not effecting the sites usability or creating clutter. This is a great way to show consumers that you have put special care and effort into your business, and will set your site apart from your comparatively bland competition. Implementing a beautiful themed site design is a simple and effective way to increase conversion rates and revenue this holiday season!
Exclusively to SearchFit merchants, we are offering our services to create a customized Holiday Template for your e-commerce store! Each template project will be 100% unique, and tailored to showcase your products and optimize your customer’s experience. Our talented design team will work with you directly to create a custom Holiday Template for your store that will truly shine.
Let SearchFit’s experienced design team deck the halls for you this Holiday Season! For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.