When creating an online store for holiday shoppers, the emphasis is generally put on graphic design and marketing.
While brick-and-mortar shop owners put up Christmas decorations and boost local advertisements to draw buyers, business owners of e-commerce are focused on displaying seasonal site images and increasing online advertising to produce similar outcomes.
The appearance of the storefront’s exterior and the marketing campaigns that draw customers to it are the obvious top priorities during the holidays for all stores. However, online retailers are faced with an additional challenge of ensuring that their online storefronts are functional for customers who use online shopping, usually in more significant amounts than they’ve ever experienced before. If you own an e-commerce site, you should start early to set up the mechanics of your online store to prepare for the Christmas season right now.
Step 1: Augment Your Site Performance
With the growth of the internet and the internet grows, it is essential to ensure that performance is a critical element of the overall success of a website. Here are some ways to make sure your e-commerce website’s performance is on standards for the holidays:
Ensure a Quality Mobile Experience
The trend of mobile shopping is rapidly growing. More than 59% of customers say that mobile shopping is essential in deciding the brand or retailer they want to purchase from. For a smooth mobile experience, be sure your smartphone version of your website performs as smoothly, if not more so, than your desktop site.
Choose a responsive design theme for your online store if you don’t have one or are looking to choose an e-commerce platform designed specifically for mobile-friendly experiences.
Prepare for a Traffic Increase
Christmas shopping is when large portions of the population simultaneously look for similar items. That’s a massive increase in visitors to online sites or most e-commerce stores. Ensure your website can cope with the traffic surge and will not be affected. To be prepared for traffic growth, consider managed cloud hosting from an established ecommerce platform.
Check Your Load Speed
If the loading time of your site increases from one to three seconds, the chance of a bounce increases by 32 percent. Examine your load speed to ensure that your site loads as fast as possible so that you don’t lose people waiting for your site to load.
There are various techniques to increase the speed of your website:
- compressing images and files to speed up rendering
- Checking for auditing plugins and eliminating ones that aren’t necessary for your website
- Utilizing a reliable Content Delivery Network (CDN) to spread the load across servers
Step 2: Review Your Checkout Experience
A smooth checkout is essential to ensure a pleasant shopping experience leading to purchases. Here are some of the aspects of your shopping experience that you should look over in preparation for the holiday season:
Offer Multiple Payment Methods
Ultimately, customers are more likely to purchase when presented with various payment options. In reality, 42% of customers cannot make a purchase when the preferred payment method isn’t accessible.
You can offer a range of payment options, including credit/debit cards, wallet transactions, buy now/pay later, and other options to ensure that your customers are where you are. If you’re limited in terms of what you can offer, choose the payment method you’ll provide according to your research about the preferences of your customer base.
Analyze Security Measures
A security breach damages your business’s reputation; it’s also a big problem for your customers. You must ensure that you have sufficient safeguards to ensure that hackers won’t take the personal information of your customers or credit card information on the internet. Purchasing the SSL certificate on your website and using a PCI-certified service to manage credit cards can help you increase your security ahead of Christmas.
Expand Abandoned Cart Messaging
Abandoned carts are a common problem for businesses that sell online. However, they’re more challenging to handle when your target audience is looking to shop. Increase the amount of abandoned cart-related messaging you already have in place and make it more relevant for the time of the year to increase its relevance.
Follow-up emails, pop-ups with exit intent that offer discounts, and browser notifications are excellent methods to remind customers to buy from you before it’s too late
Step 3: Consider Your User Experience
Customers looking to purchase could be deterred from buying if unsatisfied with the user experience. You should be aware of some areas of user experience to keep clients satisfied.
Clarify Shipping & Return Policies
As the clients you’ll be serving are buying for specific holidays, They will be interested in knowing if they will be able to receive their purchases before particular dates for the holidays.
They’ll also want to be aware, should a product not be a good fit for them, what options they have regarding exchanges or returns. Ensure that your shipping procedure and returns policy are straightforward and easily located on your website to avoid customer complaints.
Increase Digital Support
Even with all the best efforts, your customers are bound to be asking questions, but addressing questions doesn’t necessarily require a seasoned customer service department. Introduce chatbots to your website to respond to frequently requested questions in the format of a person in person to cut down on live support. You could also create an FAQs landing page, assistance center, educational videos, or any other content for customers to use self-service to obtain the information they require.
Make Contact Info Accessible
Specific customers prefer a more personal approach to have answers to their questions and prefer to speak with an actual employee. Some customers may want to ensure that your business is genuine and legitimate before processing payments they might not receive back. Be sure your company’s telephone numbers, email addresses, and other pertinent information about contact details are easy to locate (and accurate) to ensure the customer support team can address any issues personally.
Do not allow the restructuring of your eCommerce site to hinder your other tasks for preparing for the holidays. While this may have a less pronounced impact, it could be a massive difference in conversions during the holiday season and the effectiveness of your promotions.