Preparing Your Site for the Holidays
- Rob Toledo
- October 15, 2013
The holidays present an exciting time for your business, full of opportunity for growth and new customer relationships. Understandably, the holiday season is the busiest time for online shopping. By appropriately reflecting what your business offers and how it meets the needs of online shoppers through your website, you show consumers that yours is the site they should be visiting. Designing your site in a way that optimizes the holiday shopping experience will set you apart from the vast competition within online shopping.
To start, read through an extensive ecommerce holiday guide, then get started on the tips below.
Prepare For Traffic
Many ecommerce companies experience a substantial spike in sales during the holidays, which means much heavier online traffic. One of the main reasons online shoppers abandon a web page in favor of another is slow loading times and friction that comes from badly designed user interfaces. Prepare for this influx by ensuring that your site has enough bandwidth to support the traffic. You can do this by using a site speed tool to test your current speed and site performance.
The checkout process is also an important part of your site that should be performing well, as it is the step that most traffic abandons a website. Create a quick and easy process that instills a sense of security in customers, and offer recommended items to keep users engaged and moving towards a purchase.
Highlight Special Products
You’ll likely be looking to push certain products or services that coordinate with the time of year and what consumers will be looking for around the holidays. Make it easy for them to find these items by highlighting them on your website. Offer special promotions and photos of items on your homepage to immediately attract visitors’ attention. Always present a clear call-to-action with a highlighted product, so that users don’t have to think about how to get it once they see it.
Netflix for example, starts talking about all the holiday content they are streaming to encourage people to start thinking a certain way.
Design Themed Landing Pages
A great way to emphasize a featured product is to create a landing page for it. Avoid using cliché holiday imagery and color, and instead make a unique design that reflects both the product’s quality and value in use. Get creative by making the page interactive with customization options and social sharing buttons. Creating a resource for users to refer to, share with friends and receive special seasonal deals is a great way to increase traffic as users search for holiday-related keywords and offers. The Bigstock blog started themed photo giveaways to match each monthly holiday. So for example, during the spring, they create spring-themed photo landing pages; while during the Christmas season, they will create pages more specific to those themes.
Extend the Spirit to Social
As you refresh your website for the unique spirit of the holiday season, you should update your business’ social accounts as well. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, etc. Use these channels to reiterate information about your products to develop consistency in your marketing, as well as to reach a wider audience. You can always spruce up your social media with fun holiday themed imagery as well!
Build a Hassle-Free Environment
The holidays are known for being a stressful time, especially with the barrage of gift ideas and deals. Most shoppers will be looking for the least stressful environment to shop in – online shops included. In the same way that a physical store can be clean, spacious and organized, your ecommerce site should reflect the same controlled atmosphere to promote comfort and security.
Use ample white space to place focus on products and remove distractions. Design clear calls-to-action and enable easy navigation throughout your site. And a cohesive visual design will build trust in your brand. A good design goes a long way in inspiring confidence in your customers’ buying decisions, and in providing a positive user experience.
Make sure that your interface is responsive so that mobile users can interact with your site and have the same quality experience. This will also encourage quick and easy purchasing for those on the go.
Start using these tips early, and your online business will be ready for the chaotic time ahead. Shoppers will enjoy your user-friendly and solid design, and your business will benefit from growth in sales and positive customer feedback.
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