How To Optimize Your E-Commerce Store for the Holiday Season
It’s that time of the year again! Retail’s biggest days are right around the corner, and e-commerce sales are expected to have another record breaking year. It’s predicted that online consumer spending will reach $143.7 billion this holiday season, with Cyber Monday becoming the fastest growing sales day.
How can your brand prepare for the holiday surge and maximize your end-of-the-year sales?
Start with preparing your affiliate marketing strategy and promotional content. Then, it’s time to optimize your e-commerce site. Here are some ways you can make your site holiday-sale ready:
Get Into The Holiday Spirit
Just as brick and mortar businesses revamp their storefronts, you’ll want to make sure your e-commerce store is tailored for the holiday season.
Start by bringing the holidays to your site content. This means holiday themes, colors, slogans and imagery. If you are unsure where to start or need inspiration, Pinterest is here to help.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to get too lost in the festive themes. You still want customers to recognize your brand and have the same user-friendly shopping experience as they normally would.
Light Up Your Landing Page
Your holiday landing pages should clearly promote your sale, showing your deals and savings without customers needing to scroll or search your site. Consider adding a sense of holiday urgency like “One-Day Sale” or “Deals End at Midnight” text. Another way to emphasize this is with a countdown graphic that shows the days or hours left for the sale.
Landing pages should allow holiday shoppers to easily browse once they click the referral link to your site, with clear paths to conversions. This means prominent call-to-actions such as “Buy Now” or “Checkout” buttons that can convert within a few clicks.
As product-reviews are becoming increasingly important in the decision-making process, think about including positive reviews as part of the landing page content.
If you are promoting specific products or categories, such as items from a gift guide, be sure that the landing pages for each product matches the referral link. This can be done using Tapfiliate’s deep linking feature.
You can also use product-specific landing pages to upsell items. For example, a landing page for mobile phones might also feature a “you might also like” section with phone cases, chargers and screen protectors.
Coordinate with affiliates in regard to their promotions and your inventory. Avoid affiliates using referral links that send customers to landing pages with products that are no longer available or sold out.
Make a Sales List & Check it Twice
Your holiday savings is how you’ll keep customers on your page. After all, 74% of Americans say offers are a top factor when deciding where and what to buy online.
As we mentioned above, it’s important to clearly display any discounts and promotions you’re offering. If sales are hidden within product pages or only applied during checkout, you risk losing customers who are searching for holiday deals.
On the technical side, you’ll want to double-check that all sales prices are reflected on product pages and final checkout totals. If you are using discount or coupon codes, be sure the code works on your site and matches the code used for affiliate promotions (think case-sensitive, etc.)
It’s important not to overlook checking sale prices. Promoting sales but not having them be reflected while purchasing means high cart-abandonment rates, and in some cases a customer service & PR nightmare.
Tis’ the Season for Easy Checkout
It’s no secret that cart-abandonment is highest during the checkout process. Customers quickly dropping off if there are unexpected costs, too many form fields, technical glitches, or even a lack of trust in your payment portal.
Take the complexity out of checkout, and aim to give your customers an easy, straightforward experience.
Here are some tips for your checkout process:
- Always show the shopping cart and the cart total
- Be transparent with costs for shipping, taxes, and fees (this would be a good time for affiliates to promote “Free shipping” codes)
- Offer quick guest checkout
- Keep your checkout to one page, the less clicks the better, if possible
- Clearly display your return policies, especially if there are exclusions for sale items
- Highlight security badges and payment compliances
Digital wallets are on the rise. Depending on your payment process, consider adding new methods of payment like Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Wallet, MasterPass, Visa Checkout, and PayPal.
Be Merry & Mobile
More and more, mobile is being used for e-commerce transactions. This is especially true during the holiday season, with Shopify reporting 66% of their global sales coming from a mobile device last holiday season.
Some things to consider for mobile:
Optimize speed: Place sale content at the top of the page, consider the size & quantity of visual content with load time, and avoid redirects
Easy Navigation: Shorten the purchase path, have clear call-to-action buttons, and simplify checkout with easy form fields and integrated digital wallets.
Social media promotions: Promote with mobile-friendly referral links, have referral links direct traffic to mobile-friendly landing pages
Share The Seasonal Joy with Customer Referrals
With the surge of holiday sales, you also have the opportunity to recruit new customers for your affiliate and referral programs. And as an added bonus, it’s a great way to say thanks to customers.
Using Tapfiliate’s Affiliate Recruitment feature, you can automatically invite your new customers to promote your business. Using this tool, new customers (those that are not yet affiliates) will be automatically sent a referral link that they can instantly use to spread the word about your business.
Be sure to have this feature enabled to leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing this holiday season.
The Gift of Great User-Experience
Holiday sales involve site updates, but the user-experience always comes first.
Avoid making any dramatic structural changes to your store right before the holiday season. It may be tempting to try a flashy, interactive design, but you don’t want to slow down your site and leave customers with long load times.
Something as simple as holiday color scheme, Happy Holidays written on your landing page or some holiday icons like Christmas trees, gifts or snowflakes along the site navigation can go a long way.