The holiday season is upon us, and for retail and ecommerce businesses across the world, this is the peak season; especially if you're one of the businesses that's been negatively affected by the looming recession.
So, what can you do to increase your website conversions this holiday season and put a few extra bucks in the bank for the (typically quiet) months of January and February?
We've got some tips you can trust to help. The same way our clients always trust Northsail to deliver our projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget.
But before we get to our useful website design ideas, let's talk about what website conversions are, and the benefits of optimizing your website for the holiday shopping season.
If you were to take all the online shoppers that visit your website through every channel in your marketing funnel over a given period of time (i.e., social media, email marketing, etc.), and then divide that number by the total number of conversions you're seeing in that same time period, you get what we call a website conversion rate.
You'll want your conversion to be somewhere around 2.5%, but some of the best retailers can get that number as high as 5%. If you're seeing less than 1% conversions, it's time to think about things like your user experience and customer satisfaction.
There is no single perfect way to optimize for website conversions, because each business is different, as is the audience they’re trying to reach, but there are ways you can improve your opportunity for conversions – but we’ll get to those shortly.
You may see an uptick in regular traffic during the holiday rush as online sales spike, and your website gets visited by a higher number of potential customers than usual.
This is because from November through the end of December, people are actively looking for things like holiday sales or holiday promotions that they can use to check things off their holiday shopping list.
When you start to incorporate holiday marketing strategies into your customer experience, you can create an image in the minds of customers of your business as a holiday shopping destination.
Not only will this let you hit your target audience, but you can take advantage of all the holiday shoppers that prefer online shopping to traditional in-store shopping experiences.
Everyone wants to be the best gift giver during the holiday season, but it's not always easy to shop for the ones that we love.
Gift guides are a great way to highlight popular products, make seasonal product recommendations, offer new gift ideas, or even provide user reviews on some of your best selling SKUs.
Too often, online stores miss out on this opportunity, because they feel it takes too much time to arrange.
However, the business owners that are running this strategy will tell you, it's absolutely worth the effort; especially if you send it out to every customer on your email list as part of a holiday email marketing strategy.
If you've only got a few large SKUs, use gift guides as an opportunity to highlight more product features that you don't want to stuff into your website product pages. If you've got thousands of SKUs to sort through, try to pick out a few dozen that best suit the season and focus on highlighting those.
Cart abandonment rate is one of the biggest challenges facing ecommerce conversion rates. Sometimes a customer will change their mind at the last minute or simply get distracted and forget to finish the checkout process.
When a customer leaves items in their online shopping cart, consider sending them an email reminder that they haven't finished their purchase.
These reminders should always be gentle and not seem pushy or passive aggressive. This should function as pleasant calls to action to simply remind customers that their final purchase is only a few clicks away.
It may not always work, but at the very least it can help reduce your cart abandonment rate.
Customers won't know what you're offering, if you don't put your holiday sales in front of them to see.
In order to run effective seasonal promotions, you need to think about what your conversion funnel is going to look like. Are you reaching customers through PPC advertising, or social media campaigns? Email or referrals?
Spend some time thinking about exactly which demographics you want to hit with your campaign, as well as which channels you want to target during this high-traffic season.
Then create a tactical plan around using these channels efficiently, so that you're not wasting time or your seasonal marketing budget on plans that may not come to fruition.
If it's possible for you to offer special expedited delivery options during the holidays, it's absolutely going to help your online conversions.
During the shopping season, delivery is a common conversion bottleneck that can throw a wrench in even the best laid plans.
Consider partnering with someone other than the US Postal Service or Canada Post to ship your product catalog this season. Whether you offer UPS, Amazon Prime shipping, or any other form of delivery, as long as you can reduce the window of delivery, your customers are going to be happy.
Using any method to undercut your competitions' delivery options is a great way to make your website into a holiday ecommerce destination, and these types of perks are great for turning browsers into buyers this season.
For any business owner trying to increase ecommerce sales, urgency is one of the best tactics that you should always keep tucked in your back pocket.
When customers feel no urgency, it can actually be a conversion killer. But when they feel like they're under the gun to make a purchasing decision in a short period of critical time, it can be the nudge customers need to take action.
No one wants to miss out on a good deal, especially when they know about it in enough time to take advantage. That's where countdown timers and flash sales come into effect.
These useful tactics are great for creating instant urgency for customers that are visiting your site. You're telling them in no uncertain terms that they only have a limited time to access your promotions, or else they'll be out of luck.
For many discerning customers, this is the kick in the butt they need to click the ‘BUY’ button; especially if they would normally have decided to wait and think about it a bit longer.
It's a good idea when you're going to run holiday promotions or sales that you take some time to redesign your current website to incorporate some of these important themes ahead of launching promotions.
If you're trying to create a seamless customer experience that really promotes your business as a holiday ecommerce destination, you need to take time to make sure all your website marketing materials are reflecting that same idea.
Consider changing your normal typeface to something that feels fun and festive. Adjust your website color scheme to include holidays colors that make everything else on your site feel seasonal.
You can't just throw a couple of Christmas tree images on your website and expect people to suddenly change their opinion of your offerings. When ecommerce stores run a seasonal promotion, it needs to be all-in or nothing.
There can't be anything in between.
It's easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season, but you can't forget your most loyal customers at this time of the year.
Customer loyalty is something that you have to not only earn, but work to keep as well. A great way to do that is to give your most loyal supporters a little extra offering during the seasonal holidays, which in turn, can actually convince them to bring you more business.
It doesn't have to be anything huge or extravagant. Even offering a $5 or $10 gift card can make a huge statement to your customer base. And when new customers see you offering these kinds of perks, it can be a convincing factor strong enough to turn browsers into buyers, and new customers into loyal ones.
So, when you see a traffic spike this season, don't forget the supporters that have been there with you all along. The ones who support you throughout the entire year, not just when you're running sales or promotions.
Because if you stay good to them, there's a good chance they'll stay loyal to you.
If you've been struggling to set up your next ecommerce website for the holiday season, we have some great news for you - it's not too late to get in the game!
Northsail's newest service 'Horizon' offers an easy-to-use platform that any business owner can use to create high-performance landing pages, build custom customer data forms, or even create personalized widgets, all without the need for a developer's oversight.
Best of all, you can try Horizon today for 30 days, without any obligation or payment required. We're so confident that you'll love the efficiency that Horizon brings to your business that we won't even ask for your credit card information until after your trial is complete.
So, if you're tired of relying on developers to manage your website campaigns and want to take back that power (and budget) for yourself, what are you waiting for?
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.