Preparing Your Site For Holiday Sales

Ready or not Q4 is upon us and soon enough consumers will be flooding their favorite retail locations. Brick and mortar stores will make sure there’s ample parking, enough staff on hand, and that all their holiday decor is on display. But what do you need to do to ready your eCommerce store? Experience tells us you can never be too prepared for the holiday rush. Let’s take a look at what stores should do to gear up.

Content

Utilize User Generated Content. Let your customers be your salespeople. Sites like WayFair.com and Nordstrom.com do an excellent job of curating user images of their products in use and sharing them on their website. These images give buyers a more “real” sense of how something might look and can also spur additional purchases.

Additionally, any content that you’ve created for your brand needs to be constantly refreshed. Eclectic fashion brand and EY client, Luxe Apothetique,  regularly updates their homepage graphics, promoted items, and instagram feed. For customers who visit your site frequently – this can make all the difference in sparking customer interest to get them converting. Visitors who return to a site and continuously see the same things, will assume there’s nothing new to see and quickly leave.

Merchandising

We have a rule here at EY when designing websites – “Don’t Make Me Think.” (There’s a great book by Steve Krug on this very subject). It sounds simple, but it’s incredible how many merchants miss the boat on merchandising. You need to spell things out for your customers. What goes with this item? What do I need to order to create a look like that room/outfit/etc.?

Our Client Pillow Perfect has done an excellent job of tackling this hurdle head on with their LookBook. Customers can see an arrangement they like, and easily purchase all of the coordinating items for that collection from one page. Done and done. Well laid out pages like this take a $30 order to a $100 order.

Other ways to get Holiday browsers converting:

  • Create a Holiday Gift Guide landing page on your site to display popular items all in one place.
  • Set up your Buyable Pins – What guy hasn’t been invited to his lady’s Pinterest board at some point for gifting guidance?

If you don’t have time to do any of the above, at the very least you need to be using the cross-sells on your site. Whether it’s items that are frequently purchased together, or the items needed to “complete the look,” cross-sells are easy to populate and can significantly increase  Average Order Value.

User Experience

When preparing your site for the holidays, it’s important to think about how you would prepare a brick-and-mortar store (if you don’t already have one) for the holidays. Your site needs to the job of a sales associate.

Consider things such as:

  • Are your products easy to find?
  • Is pricing clear and easy to understand (including sales)?
  • Does your site have good search and filtering?

Additionally, you want to leave no question unanswered on your site. Save your customer service department as much time and energy as possible during an already stressful season. Make sure you clearly explain:

  • How much a customer has to order to get free shipping.
  • Exact details of promotional pricing and any exclusions.
  • The availability and cost of gift wrapping.
  • When customers need to order by in order to get their items in time for the holidays.

Make sure this information is easy to understand and is located in obvious places like a site wide banner.

Technical

Lastly, don’t let something technical derail your holiday sales.

  • Reach out to your hosting provider and be sure that your site is ready for the increase in traffic.
  • Make sure that your site is properly guarded against fraud. An increase in real traffic and customers means an increase in scammers as well. Don’t put yourself or your customers at risk.

A little planning can go a long way to make sure you have a successful (and profitable) holiday season.