The holiday season is here, and it is one of the busiest times for eCommerce sites. You can definitely expect more traffic and sales to come in the next few weeks, but is your eCommerce business prepared?
Preparing for the rush of holiday shoppers is exciting. You are sure to increase revenue and net new long-term customers for your business. However, being prepared this holiday season is more important than ever.
According to NetElixir research, e-commerce sales are expected to increase by 10 percent this year. This is great, but competition is fierce due to Amazon’s overwhelming online presence. In fact, Amazon is expected to have 34 percent of all online sales this festive season.
How do you compete with Amazon and offer up the best eCommerce experience? By preparing for anything.
- Offer Seasonal Order and Return Policies
One way to prepare your ecommerce business for the holidays is to make your order and return policies more relaxed. For example, you can make shipping free without a minimum order amount. Target has offered no minimum order two years in a row and had a three percent increase in the average order size.
The goal during the holiday season is to make it easier for online shoppers to buy from you. You can stretch out your return and exchange time period a bit more as well, giving consumers even more reason to click checkout.
- Streamline Your Holiday Payment Methods
Don’t let your eCommerce customers get to checkout and find paying to be a time-consuming process. This will result in abandoned carts, and non-returning customers that are likely to spend their money with your competitors.
Opening up new payment avenues, like implementing PayPal for the holiday season is a must. A survey by Bizrate Insights found that PayPal is the third most preferred online payment method, behind Visa and MasterCard.
In fact, 42 percent of respondents said they specifically prefer PayPal when using their smartphones. This is essential for your ecommerce business, because online shoppers are more mobile than ever.
- Make Your Ecommerce Business Mobile-Friendly
From ecommerce to traditional brick and mortar store website, if you are not mobile-friendly, you will not grow in the years to come. In fact, 2017 online holiday shopping via mobile is expected to surpass desktop. This is a big milestone, and ecommerce businesses need to be ready to get mobile.
One way to ensure your site is mobile-friendly is to check it with Google. If you don’t have an app for your ecommerce site, it is something you should plan for next year. Research by eMarketer estimates app usage accounts for 84.9 percent of all mobile use.
If you do have an app, tis the season to optimize your app for more downloads, interaction, and conversions. A few ASO tactics and some holiday themed screenshots may be the winning combination for the best mobile revenue of the year.
- Schedule Big Changes for After the Holidays
Throughout the year you have had online shoppers perusing your ecommerce site, and some have even made some shopping decisions for the holidays. However, if they return to your site this month and find a different look and feel, they may click out and not return.
This makes it important to save your big site updates and changes for after the New Year. It is important to provide an inviting and familiar user experience during the holiday season.
This ensures that your customers can shop in their usual manner without issues. Small holiday themed changes are great, and are a must for more sales. However, try not to change any navigational features that could cause shopper frustration.
- Prepare for More Website Traffic
If your ecommerce site doesn’t load in three seconds or less, you will lose a large percentage of customers. You may be thinking this is a non-issue, but the holidays can make your site load time increase due to more traffic.
First step is to check your current site speed. You can do this using PageSpeed Insights from Google. Circling back to mobile readiness for the holidays, you can get a more comprehensive mobile speed and performance test with Think with Google.
Next, be sure to have CDN enabled so your servers can work as efficiently as your business during the holiday season. You should also look into increasing server power for the holiday months as well. Call your hosting provider to ensure your holiday season shoppers will get the best online experience.
There are a number of essentials to check off your ecommerce holiday preparedness list. The above are a great place to start, and can all be easily accomplished. Make this holiday season your most profitable to date. How will you prepare for your holiday shoppers?