It’s time for your online store to gear up for the holiday season. From Black Friday to Boxing Day, this is the time of year when your e-commerce site needs to be on point.
Just last year, total online sales in the U.S. during Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit a record $5.81 billion! What does that mean to you? The pressure’s on to optimize your site for the holiday season.
● Load-test your website to ensure it can handle the increase in visitors and purchases.
● Check site security and display seals indicating security to make consumers feel confident.
● Compress and resize images.
● Check your page speed using the free Google tool – PageSpeed Insights 6.
● Plan for any special sections to highlight daily deals, holiday specials and callouts — they need to be fully functional and well-publicized ahead of time.
Retail mobile traffic is on the rise. If your site is not optimized for it, your customers will find a competitor whose is. Check if you’re mobile friendly by using Google’s – Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Nextopia’s infographic displays the mobile shopping statistics of American consumers. In 2015, mobile sales counted for 30% of all U.S. e-comm sales.
Why Mobile Readiness is Important, Even if you Think it isn’t:
● A Google survey shows that over 50% of consumers use a mobile search engine platform as a starting point when shopping. Tailor your keywords and content accordingly.
● Upwards of 85% of consumers use their cell phones in-store to check price comparisons and availability. In addition, 82% of shoppers use search engines when browsing product information in a store. This means even if you have a brick-and-mortar store, a mobile-optimized site is necessary.
● Finally, 65% of in-store mobile shoppers prefer mobile sites over the 35% who prefer apps. Knowing this, it’s important to make priorities for your mobile site. Product pages should have a brief product synopsis, pricing, images, and shipping options.
Use Email in Marketing Efforts:
Consumer reports show that last year (2015) Black Friday emails drove more sales than any other channel. Don’t ignore this powerful channel for holiday sales.
MailChimp reported sending a record 1.2 billion emails on Black Friday in 2015. As Huemor puts it, email campaigns reach your customers where they go every single day, their inbox. You can easily promote holiday products, events, exclusive deals, and sales promotions.
Prepare Messaging and Optimization Ahead of Time:
Plan your site’s SEO and your online advertising campaigns to incorporate holiday keywords. Depending on your business and your keyword research, using targeted words in your messaging can increase engagement. Keywords like “gifts,” “gifts for mom,” “last minute gifts,” and anything with buying intent behind it can help to convert.
Holiday shoppers are comparing deals and prices. It’s the nature of the season — it’s not uncommon for a user to site-hop for the best prices. If a customer leaves your site, a retargeting campaign is an effective way to re-engage that potential sale.
Retargeting that visitor with a specific call to action such as “Only 2 Days Left to Get Low Black Friday/Cyber Monday Prices!” or a reminder of the item they were interested in helps to increase retargeting sales.
Optimize for Free Shipping:
Free shipping can be a make-or-break shopping experience. A survey from Deloitte asked consumers what would lead them to shop online. The factors ranked on a scale from “More Likely to Lead to Online Shopping” to “No Difference” to “More Likely to Lead to In-Store Shopping.”
The biggest factor was free shipping.
1. Free Shipping (66%)
2. Ease of Shopping (57%)
3. Wide Merchandise Selection (52%)
4. Speed of Shopping or Checkout (51%)
5. Low Prices (51%)
Note that consumers ranked “Free Shipping” more important than “Low Prices.”
If across-the-board free shipping is just not a possibility for your store, you can try to optimize conversions with a minimal spend to reach free shipping, for example: “Spend X amount more and get free shipping!” Data shows that 70% of shoppers have added items to their carts in order to qualify for free shipping.
Holiday-Themed Landing Pages and Content Converts:
Top retail sites like Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Best Buy, and Wayfair all create special landing pages for holiday offers. It’s an effective way to cull products and services around the holiday, and it’s an easy resource for people to share — but the most beneficial is the SEO power. People search for holiday-themed sales, deals, and offers, so marketing a page and related content themed “The Perfect Gift for Dad,” will give you the opportunity to show up for that search. Refer to your queries and top landing pages to decide your top performing pages and how to market them.
Create holiday content: Creating useful and interesting holiday-themed content can help to build authority and drive sales. It is the time of year when people are scouring the internet for all things holiday related. By providing shareable content like tips on decorating, wrapping, recipes, holiday storage, or even crafts, you have created the opportunity for valuable and legitimate links back to your site.
Create a gift guide: Help your existing and potential customers find the perfect gift at the right price. Use themes like gifts for him/her or sort by age and interest.
Target your last minute shoppers. Offering digital gifts like gift cards delivered to their inbox, ebooks or services and gift certificates to be used in the future are all the last-minute shopper’s dream.
Use images: It has been proven that images help consumers decide if they will purchase. The theory is that since shoppers are unable to touch and feel it, an image is the next best thing. It allows the consumer to imagine the product in their house, what it might feel like or how it might look on.
However important images are for converting, remember that they may also create performance issues, especially on mobile devices. By optimizing images, which can be as much as 60% of a page download time, you can dramatically increase the performance of your web pages.
With e-commerce sales on the rise, the need for SEO is here to stay. Get on board with these tips to stand out from competition and maximize your holiday e-commerce sales this season!
BigCommerce’s Ultimate Guide: If you’re looking for more ways to attain page 1 ranking and dominate organic traffic, check out this detailed guide by BigCommerce.
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