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By Guest Contributor
The holiday shopping season is already underway, but there is still time to optimize your site for maximum sales and engagement.
This blog was originally published on October 7, 2020 and updated on October 6, 2021.
This holiday season, shoppers will be buying online more than ever before. Ecommerce sales in the US are projected to top $933 billion this year, giving companies of all sizes the opportunity to grow their online business.
In this article, we provide easy-to-implement best practices for elevating your holiday campaigns and optimizing your website for maximum sales and engagement.
A big part of having a successful Q4 is meeting all critical shipping deadlines and having a plan for all major holidays. These are the most important dates to add to your calendar for Q4:
Q4 Holiday Calendar
|Nov 26||Black Friday|
|Nov 28 – Dec 6||Hanukkah|
|Nov 29||Cyber Monday|
|Dec 13||Green Monday|
|Dec 26||Boxing Day|
|Dec 26 – Jan 1||Kwanzaa|
2021 Shipping Deadlines for Christmas
|Dec 9||FedEx SmartPost|
|Dec 15||USPS Retail Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx Ground, UPS Ground|
|Dec 17||USPS First Class Mail|
|Dec 20||USPS Priority Mail|
|Dec 21||FedEx Express Saver, UPS 3 Day Select|
|Dec 22||FedEx 2 Day, UPS 2nd Day Air|
|Dec 23||USPS Priority Mail Express, FedEx Overnight, UPS Next Day Air|
|Dec 24||FedEx Same Day|
Shoppers aren’t the only ones who find themselves in a frenzy during the holidays. Most merchants are subject to at least a few merry mishaps during the hustle and bustle of the holiday rush. The best defense against Q4 chaos? A solid action plan. We’ve put together a checklist of the most critical things merchants should be focused on if they want to have a successful, stress-free (or at least somewhat less stressful) holiday season.
If you know you need to make some changes to your website, don’t wait. You will want to make sure all updates, improvements, and fixes are tested and implemented long before the holiday rush begins to avoid the risk of costly breakages and downtime.
During the holiday shopping season, your site may need to handle a significant traffic increase. This is why it’s a good idea to run tests ahead of time to make sure your site can handle a sudden uptick in visitors without crashing.
You probably have a pretty good idea about which of your products are the most popular. Still, it never hurts to stay up-to-date with your customers’ shopping habits. Keep an eye on rising stars in your product catalog, especially those that seem to become more popular as critical holiday deadlines approach. Make sure you have enough in your inventory to carry you through the end of the year and consider making these top sellers the focus of your holiday promotions.
Upselling can be surprisingly easy during the holidays, when many customers are more than happy to get as much of their shopping done in as few transactions as possible. Add the option to purchase related products on product pages and during the checkout process to entice shoppers and increase your site’s average order value. Consider offering coupons to drive sales and build customer loyalty.
A successful website needs to cater to every shopper and deliver the most relevant content. To delight shoppers and encourage them to purchase on your site, you’ll want to curate the ecommerce experience. This involves understanding the interests of different types of shoppers who visit your site. You’ll want to use this knowledge to optimize your website layout, banners, product categories, and content to guide these shoppers to the right areas on your website.
For example, you could identify a few ideal customers and launch a landing page, related products, product bundles, influencer content, and helpful guides on your home site that are dedicated for each user. That way, when a shopper visits your site, they are able to find a clear path no matter who they are. A clear, organized, and relevant site makes shoppers more likely to trust your business and become a fan of your brand—even beyond the holidays.
More people shopping online means more opportunities for cybercriminals to gain access to customer information. Take some time before the holiday rush begins to assess your website security and address potential vulnerabilities. Make sure your site is secured with encryption, safely destroy any unnecessary data you may be holding onto, and review your disaster plan with relevant staff.
The last thing your customers want is for their purchases to arrive after the holidays. Be proactive and communicate the exact time your customers should place their orders to ensure that they arrive on time. Consider posting shipping deadlines on your home page and product pages and sending out email reminders to your subscribers as the holidays approach.A smooth, transparent, and customer-centric fulfillment experience is key to earning customer trust and providing excellent service.
The holidays are also a time when you should strive to provide more convenience to customers. In addition to providing clear communication and real-time updates, you’ll also want to be flexible with returns. Make sure your return policy is fair, clear, and transparent. This will give shoppers confidence and make them more likely to return to your business in the future.
Online sellers aren’t alone in obsessing about delivery deadlines—holiday shoppers want reassurance that their packages will arrive exactly when you say they will. By providing package tracking, you’ll not only give your customers peace of mind, but you’ll make life easier for your customer service team.
With the holiday season already in gear, now is the time to take action. Want to learn more? Check out our infographic on the essential things you need to deliver an outstanding shopping experience.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.