Prepare Your Website for the Holidays

It’s too early to play Christmas music (except in rehearsal) and too early to decorate for Christmas, but it’s exactly time to get serious about holiday e-commerce.

The average American female shopper has already decided where to do her major holiday shopping. Does that make it too late to get her attention? Not at all. This generally means that she knows where she’ll get the big-screen TV, the A-list toy, or the gaming system. She still has lots of purchases — for friends, family members, and for herself — that aren’t decided.

They soon will be, though.

Male shoppers typically wait till later to do their shopping, or even to think about it. But they are also more likely to need guidance. If you can grab their attention now and make it easy for them, you have a distinct advantage.

Step 1: Cause your visitors to think about Christmas — and to think of you as a place to shop for Christmas.

  • Christmas icons can make the lightbulb go on. Switch regular icons out with them now and you’ll help visitors consider you as a source of holiday gifts.
  • Highlight giftable items. Even add likely things. A mountain climbing gear company adds a mountain-themed puzzle and puts it on a page with smaller items of climbing gear that non-climbers can readily identify. Descriptions point out that these things make good holiday gifts. Bundle things into gift packages, too.
  • Banners can irritate people, but right now there’s so much heavy advertising going on that your banner will pale in comparison. This is the time.

Step 2: Cause your visitors to quit their comparison shopping.

  • At this time of year, visitors may be hitting every online source for your items. You need to give them a reason to stop once they get to you. Best case scenario is that you’ve developed a relationship with your visitors through the year and they automatically think of you, like you, and trust you.
  • Analysts tell us that free shipping is the top deciding factor for shoppers. Do yourself a favor and make it free shipping for a certain size of order. Many shoppers will consolidate their shopping to reach that price point, if it’s a reasonable one.
  • Create a sense of urgency with sales or specials, but avoid giving the impression that prices will keep dropping. In recent years, consumers have shown that they’re willing to postpone shopping even till after Christmas if they get the impression that prices are on a steady slide.

This is also the time to make sure your site is usable. If you haven’t tested your shopping cart recently, do it now. You certainly don’t want to lose sales because you’ve got a balky cart or unnoticed errors.






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