The holiday season is coming up fast.
Most people are preparing for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Those are important for retailers and for other businesses, but they’re really thinking ahead to Christmas.
That’s when the holiday shopping season really takes off. We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. People are out looking for the best gifts for their loved ones (and maybe for themselves).
You’re probably already pretty prepared for the holiday season, but if you’re looking for a few more tips then you’re in the right place.
Here are some ways you can update your website to get the most out of this year’s holiday season sales.
Tip #1. Decrease Page Loading Time
You can really do this at anytime during the year, but it’s really important this time of year. If you’re a retailer then you’re likely going to get a traffic boost in November and December.
You want visitors to have the best experience possible and a big part of that is loading time.
You want the site to be blazing fast.
Contact your host and make sure that they can handle an increase in traffic. Add some capacity if you can. Look at caching options and other ways to increase your loading time. It will give visitors a better experience and they’ll likely buy more.
Tip #2. Feature Important Products
You probably are already working on this one or ready to tackle it. The idea here is that you’re going to feature your most important items for the holidays.
Your merchandise team knows what the big items are going to be this holiday season. You want to make sure that it’s as easy as possible for visitors to find those items.
But you’ll also have your staples that are big every year. You want those to be featured just a step below the new items. You want visitors to be introduced to the new items and still able to find the regular items without struggling.
It’s a tough balance, but test it with a few visitors to make sure they’re not getting hung up anywhere.
Tip #3. Remove Distractions
The holidays are a time when many retailers stuff their homepages with all kinds of content like new items, new offers, promotions, contests and more and more.
Overwhelming your customer can cause them to become too distracted to choose anything and they might look elsewhere.
You know popular news and editorial websites that bombard with ads? Three things popup. A video is playing somewhere (but you can’t figure out where). All you want to do is read the article…
Don’t do that with your homepage.
Cut back on the popups. Maybe do one popup. Cut back on the number of featured images and things that stand out.
Create a hierarchy for the most important items and make sure each gets the right amount of promotion on the site.
One thing at a time.
Tip #4. Add Custom Searches
Search is heavily relied on for many ecommerce websites. A study from a couple years ago found that 30% of ecommerce site visitors use search. My guess is that the percentage is increasing.
People are used to finding what they want with search. They search on Google. They search on Amazon. They search on everything.
Right now might be a little tight for improving your overall search functionality (do that for next year), but you can probably still make sure that important searches have the right results.
Many ecommerce platforms allow you to do custom searches. Let’s say someone searches for something specific like a shirt or for a specific brand.
Create a custom search with the best and most relevant results and make sure that heavily used search keyword for your site provides a great result.
Tip #5. Update Graphics Frequently
As we move into the holiday season you really want to give people a reason to come back. Many people are buying gifts for a long list of friends and family and chances are they may need to make additional purchases if they forgot someone the first time shopping.
Change up your website graphics more frequently to correspond with any special offers you might be promoting on email, social media and in-store.
Get your plan ready now to make changes more often to your homepage, category pages and product pages. Your checkout is another great place to promote special offers. Don’t overlook any opportunity to make shopping easier for your customers.
Tip #6. Navigation
Check your navigation. It might be a good opportunity to change the priority of the links in your navigation for the holiday season. You can maybe even add something like a Christmas link to the main navigation and link to all the Christmas items that your visitors really want to find quickly.
Add links. Remove links. Change things up so that your visitors can find what they’re looking for while not being distracted by what they don’t really want.
Tip #7. Add Holiday Flair
We’ll end with a fun one that maybe you’re already doing.
Have a little fun and add a some holiday flair to your website. Let your designer get creative with it. Maybe they can do something fun with the 12 days of Christmas or good ole’ Saint Nick.
I hate to bring up Christmas already when we haven’t even gotten to Halloween and Thanksgiving. In fact, you can still do some of these things in time for those two holidays. But in business, we need to look ahead and plan for things.
You probably already have much of your holidays planned out for your website, but look at the list here and see if you can make some updates that will help improve your website and your company’s sales as we move into the holiday season.