4 Ways to Prepare Your Ecommerce Store for the Holidays
The 2013 holiday season is just a few months away, and online retailers are already busy updating their websites, developing marketing plans, and getting everything ready to captivate and capture this year’s holiday shoppers. We have put together the most important ways to prepare your ecommerce store for the holidays.
Plan for More Smartphone & Tablet Sales
Shop.Org reported that over half of retailers this year are valuing mobile optimization as one of their most important investments this year. Every ecommerce business should make sure that their website is optimized for smartphones and tablets. Despite the vast importance for businesses to have mobile-optimized sites, the majority of small to medium sized business have yet to take advantage of this, a study by SMB DigitalScape shows.
This year, we’ve seen a substantial increase in mobile and tablet sales. Earlier this year, Google found that 79% of shoppers on a mobile device would leave the site if it was not mobile-optimized. According to Javelin Study and Research, consumers have spent over $20 billion to date by shopping directly from their mobile devices. It’s time to cash in on those sales this holiday season.
“Every industry study we’re seeing points to a very robust use of smartphones and tablets for holiday shopping this year,” said Ben Seslija, CEO of bMobilized, a New York startup that develops mobile site creation tools. “Most small and medium-sized business owners, especially retailers, are simply unaware that sophisticated turn-key solutions now exist in the marketplace. These new do-it-yourself services eliminate the high cost and technological complexity that have historically prevented SMBs from building mobile sites that look and work great on any device, OS or browser.”
Focus On Optimizing the Customer Experience
Start by crafting the ideal customer experience and work towards achieving that goal by the holidays. The holidays are a stressful time of year. Consumers shopping online will undoubtedly be trying to escape from the hectic holiday rush out in the malls, so the more you can do to make the online shopping experience go smoothly, the better. Having a robust checkout system will be the key to capturing sales this holiday season.
Testing your ecommerce platform from start to finish will help you to catch anything that might hinder sales. Two core areas that are especially in need of testing are your product pages and checkout process. Make sure that each page of your website is functioning on every browser, platform and device. Even subtle adjustments on these pages can make a huge difference in the number of conversions.
Another way online retailers will be optimizing the customer experience this holiday season will be by providing product videos to showcase their products. According to Shop.org, brands will be leveraging video apps such as Instagram Video to promote and unveil new items.
Provide Better Delivery Options
During the holiday season, more and more customers are learning to expect free or discounted shipping. On Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, free shipping is a must for online retailers if they expect to compete. Other delivery options retailers should consider are same day delivery, free returns, guaranteed delivery by Christmas, or improved packaging.
More than 60% of consumers will still be shopping online after Cyber Monday, according to Google. Free Shipping Day happens in mid-December. Last year, Free Shipping Day brought in over $1 billion in a single 24-hour time span. By guaranteeing delivery by Christmas, online retailers can cash in on the late holiday season surge that is sure to occur. Keep in mind that December 17th is the last day online retailers can send packages via FedEx Ground and still guarantee its arrival by Christmas.
Marketing these delivery options is going to be equally as important as having them this holiday season. Email and Google Product Listing Ads will be very valuable in promoting discounts and delivery options. Shop.com said that as consumers open more marketing emails on their smartphones, retailers would be smart to think about using location information to customize messages.
Ensure that Your Website Can Handle More Traffic
Online retailers should also focus their efforts on building an online store on a scalable platform. No matter how much marketing, promotions, and design work you’ve done, none of it will matter if your website crashes due to increased traffic. Building your website on a scalable platform will ensure that your website will stay strong and fast, even during the highest spike of traffic.
Online retailers are starting to prepare their websites now for the biggest online shopping season of the year.