It’s getting late, but you can still make sure your website is ready for the year’s biggest online sales period: from US Thanksgiving or Black Friday through to the end of the Christmas season.
10 Essentials for Cyber-Sales
It is easy to focus only on making your website look pretty, but make sure you’ve got these basics ready if you want to capture the most sales possible from the holiday season.
1. Mobile Friendliness
It seems a lot of people are trying to hit the online sales and in-store deals at the same time. Last year mobile and tablet devices generated 41% of all website traffic, and 46% of Cyber Monday emails were opened on mobile or tablet devices. (Source: PFSWeb.com)
2. Clear Navigation
Make it super-easy for people to find what they are looking for. If possible, use “faceted navigation” so people can search through your products in many different ways. For example, by price, by color, by reviews, by age of the person the gift will be for, etc.
3. Comparison Tools
People will comparison shop, whether you like it or not. So make it easy for them. That shows you are confident about what you are selling. If your prices aren’t the best, sell the sizzle: what do you offer by way of service or quality that they won’t get elsewhere?
Make it easy for people to add what interests them to a wishlist. Make that wishlist easy to share, so they can let “Santa” know what they’d like. Wishlists are also a handy way for them to bookmark items they are thinking of buying as gifts for others.
5. Saved Shopping Carts & Remarketing
Similar to wishlists, saving the items people have put in their shopping carts will make them much more likely to buy from you if they come back to your site after shopping around, because it saves them the time and hassle of finding those products all over again.
And if they haven’t come back, you can use what they put in their shopping cart for a remarketing campaign, where you run ads they will see on other, unrelated websites after they have left yours.
6. Easy to Use Order Form
Ask for as little information as possible on your order forms. Every extra question you ask will lose you sales. Once they’ve decided to buy, make it fast and easy for them to do so.
And don’t ask them to register before placing an order! That’s a mega turn-off. Instead, once they’ve placed the order, ask if they would like you to save their information to save them time if they come back another day.
7. Make Sharing Easy
Have lots of social sharing buttons on your website, so if people find something they think might help a friend with the friend’s shopping, it is easy for them to tell their friend that you’ve got exactly the gift they’ve been looking for. So have social media links and “send this to a friend” e-mail links.
8. Fast Page Loading Speeds
People are impatient, especially as they move into the busy season. They won’t wait around for more than a second or two for your web pages to load. It is worth paying a geek a bit of money to be sure your pages load quickly.
9. Load Testing
More geek stuff here: If your website normally gets, say 100 visitors a day, your visitor volumes as you head into the seasonal rush could easily be ten times that. Can your server handle the load? The last thing you want is people eager to buy from you getting error messages because your system can’t cope. Get this tested in advance, and, if necessary, rent some extra capacity for the holiday season.
10. Order Handling Process
From picking and packing, to shipping, to follow-up emails, be sure your systems are well-thought out and ready to roll before things get super-busy. You won’t have time to figure it out as the holiday season pickes up steam, and if you don’t do things smoothly it will cost you a lot of business, both now and in the future, as people share their bad experience with your online store. Don’t let that happen!