By Aman Devgan, Senior Vice President Marketing
Hot chocolate, turkey and stuffing, and pumpkin pie mean only one thing; the holidays are just around the corner, and the shopping frenzy is ready to begin! According to Shop.org, online sales this November and December are expected to grow up to 15 percent over the last holiday season to as much as $82 billion. With that much online revenue forecasted this year, optimizing a website for e-commerce should be on the menu for every small business, in order to enjoy a bountiful holiday in the coming weeks.
Many small business merchants are probably already working on holiday offers and deals, but there are many other steps they should take to get their website holiday-ready. Following these five tips may mean some extra cash to treat themselves or their families to a few extra gifts this holiday season.
Get ship-shape for the holidays. Free shipping is a huge motivator to get customers to buy. If offering free shipping for all purchases isn’t feasible, then consider offering free or discounted shipping for orders over a certain amount.
Always place shipping prices where they are easy to see, so shoppers don’t load their carts only to abandon ship later. Adding a shipping calculator helps, too.
Finally, prominently display deadlines and guarantees for when the customer will need to order to receive their item by a certain date. Don’t forget to clearly state price increases for rush orders!
Provide Santa’s helpers. Customers might run into an issue with their shopping cart, so always have multiple customer service options visibly apparent – email, phone number or even a live chat with a customer service representative. Be sure to include all options at the top of every page of the website.
Another tip is to provide a frequently asked questions list for those who prefer to look up answers quickly. Doing this provides added convenience to customers and saves employees’ time by redirecting potential phone or email traffic.
Help shoppers put more gifts under the tree. If customers are shopping for a specific item, entice them to buy more by recommending sale items or items that are similar to what they’re placing in their cart. Customers will appreciate the time saved by having a “one-stop” holiday shop.
Don’t just “set it and forget it.” Successful e-commerce businesses set up site analytics packages early to test them out before the holidays begin and they make sure their site is ready to handle the increased web traffic. During the holidays, businesses watch analytics closely and make continuous adjustments to optimize their marketing and drive sales. For example, savvy business owners will test certain offers and discounted items to see what sells. They also make updates to search engine optimization (SEO) keywords to match what’s trending gift-wise and what’s hot with their target consumers on social media.
Be a personal shopper. Holiday shopping is overwhelming to many consumers. Help them out by providing simple, easy gift ideas. Consider grouping gift ideas into popular categories such as “Gifts for the Hostess,” “Gifts for Mom” or “Most Popular.” Don’t forget to showcase lower-priced “stocking stuffers” which are great impulse buys for busy shoppers.
Small business owners should take action immediately if they’re looking to take advantage of ample potential online profits this season. The holidays will be here faster than one can say, “pumpkin pie!”
About the Author:
Aman Devgan serves as Senior Vice President Marketing for Web.com, a leading provider of Internet services and online marketing solutions for small businesses.