The holidays offer an excellent opportunity to end the year strong and continue growing your online business. In this article, we share useful tips on how to prepare for the holiday season so that you can mark this year down as a total success.
Online holiday sales are expected to reach a whopping $138 billion this year, which would amount to a 12.7% growth from last year.
For online store owners, this time of year is perfect to boost revenue and put their profits over the mark. In other words, the holidays offer you a great way to end the year strong and continue growing your online business.
However, you have to know how to capitalize on the holiday shopping that takes place online. You must know what it takes to beat the competition that thrives during the holidays.
How? By prioritizing to drive traffic to your online store and converting site visitors into buyers. If you don’t, you risk becoming lost in the sea of online retailers all vying for the same customer base.
Today we’re going to share with you how to get your website ready for the holiday season, so you can mark this year down as a total success and start the next one off strong.
1. Make Design Adjustments
Holiday shoppers are looking online for great ideas and great deals. They don’t want to see your regular, everyday homepage while shopping for friends and family.
If you want to get people into the holiday spirit and encourage them to buy from you, start by sprucing up your eCommerce store’s homepage with some holiday decor.
This might include things like:
- Festive colors and font styles
- Wintry or holiday-themed imagery
- Banners displaying popular holiday cheers
Of course, just adding some visual appeal to your online store’s homepage isn’t going to be enough. You’re going to want to make sure to highlight your exclusive holiday deals using clear calls to action, compelling copy, and much more.
2. Publish Holiday Related Content
Your ecommerce shop’s blog is a valuable resource for those looking to buy from you. So, in addition to publishing regular blog content for your loyal readers to enjoy, it’s a good idea to create holiday-themed content that will rank well in search results for holiday shoppers.
The key to driving more traffic to your online store during the holidays is to announce a strong value proposition that will solve your target audience’s most pressing problem. After all, people are looking for the best products and services for their friends and family. And one of the best ways to convince people to buy from you is to publish high-quality blog content full of advice and reasons why you’re the best.
Just make sure to sprinkle some holiday-based keywords throughout your content to boost your content’s visibility and expose your brand to those looking to shop. For example, Target likes to publish blog posts previewing its upcoming sales to get people excited for the budding holiday season:
This way, even those who aren’t quite ready to buy will check out what Target has in store for them in the next few months and possibly come back for more.
3. Tap Into Relevant Holiday SEO
We already touched on this above, but it’s worth mentioning again: The way you approach SEO during the holidays plays a major role in how well your online store does.
While it’s important to include keywords related to your products and services, it’s also important to integrate modifiers so your online store shows up in relevant holiday shopping search results.
Some modifiers you might consider include:
- Holiday 2019
- Holiday shopping
- Store/Shop gifts
- Black Friday sales
- Christmas 2019
Targeting the right keywords can be tricky. You never know what types of products will be trending for the year, or if what you have to offer will be popular amongst holiday shoppers. That’s why it helps to think about the types of terms you would enter into a search bar when shopping for the holidays.
By the way, these SEO plugins will help you get the most for your efforts.
4. Prepare for Lots of Traffic
Site speed and performance is always important. However, when it comes to the holidays, it’s even more crucial that you prepare your website for increased traffic. After all, if your site takes too long to load, people are sure to abandon it and hop right on over to your competition.
Here are some things to remember when it comes to preparing for the influx of traffic:
- Double check that your payment processor is ready to deal with more transactions
- Add team members to accommodate customer service requests (especially if you offer live chat)
- Optimize your images and even consider enabling lazy load to increase load times
- Monitor the effect video content has on-site speed and the user experience
Remember, if you plan on being successful this holiday season, you’re going to need to make sure your online store is in tip-top shape when it comes to speed and performance.
5. Run Promotions to Drive Traffic and Conversions
Everyone who is holiday shopping online is looking for the best deal. After all, one of the biggest draws of Internet shopping is the ease in which customers can compare prices and buy from the comfort of their own homes.
When it comes to running holiday promotions in your eCommerce store, you’ll need to start with a solid plan. And you’ll want to start early! That way you can advertise your sales the right way and to the right audience.
And always follow these best practices:
- Plan, in advance, which products and services will be discounted
- Determine if you’ll offer any incentives
- Run the numbers to make sure you won’t lose money by running a promotion
- Decide whether you’ll offer any bonus services (free or premium)
Lastly, you’ll want to anticipate how much inventory you’ll need on hand to meet demand. The last thing you want to do is sell yourself short on revenue because you ran out of product.
6. Optimize Your Opt-ins
Sometimes the best way to snag another holiday sale is to run a holiday-themed email campaign and target those who have long left your eCommerce store. However, the only way this will work is if you convince site visitors to subscribe while they’re visiting your website.
To catch people’s attention and convince them to sign up to your email list (and not your competitor’s), do exactly what you did to your store’s homepage — add a little holiday cheer — just like Canon does.
And whatever you do, make sure to add an incentive to your opt-ins, such as a coupon for your online store. This will entice people to sign up and actually come back to your shop to buy.
Even better, when you use Elementor to help with your page building, you can add popups to your site to do the following:
- Build a bigger email list
- Help customers find the right product or service and convert
- Run customer surveys, collect feedback, and make improvements
- Display sales and discounts
- Promote limited-time offers
- Recover abandoned carts
In the end, the holidays are a season, not a single day. It’s crucial that you build and maintain relationships long after potential customers have left your website.
7. Add a Retargeting Pixel
Even if you do grab someone’s email address, that doesn’t mean they’ll come back later and buy from you. For another chance to catch their attention, consider adding a retargeting pixel to your website.
By doing so, you can follow those that have visited your site around the web and display targeted ads to encourage them to come back.
8. Create a Dedicated Landing Page
- Make the path to conversion clear – Though this seems simple enough, many online store owners fail to guide their prospective customers through the sales funnel properly, leading to lost sales opportunities. Make sure anyone who lands on your site, whether they intended to or not, know exactly what you have to offer and how to get it.
- Include a strong value proposition – Always make it clear to people what ‘pain point’ or problem you intend to solve for them. Show customers what your business is all about and what they can expect to get out of buying from you – besides just a great product or service.
- Make it holiday themed – As always, make sure your landing pages are holiday-themed during the season. When you include holiday imagery, people know immediately that you have something good for them. This helps guide them further down the sales funnel and increases your chance of securing a sale.
9. Utilize the Header and Footer
One of the best ways to utilize the header and footer of your website is to include a countdown timer banner.
Even better, if you have a WordPress website and use the Elementor page builder, you can use the Countdown Timer widget and display a sale countdown for site visitors.
When you instill a sense of urgency, include a subscribe option, add social share buttons, and advertise your store’s biggest deals. This way you’ll target the broadest group of site visitors possible and really increase your chances of landing sales.
10. Create a Special Feature
To stand out this holiday season, it’s a good idea to add a special feature to your site that customers aren’t likely to see on your competitors’ sites.
For example, the team behind Elementor worked hard to create a holiday greeting card generator from scratch and wound up with this as the finished product:
Here are some of the best features of this generator:
- Wish your loved ones a happy holiday season in style
- Customize your greetings as you see fit
- Preview while creating it in real-time
11. A/B Testing to Optimize Conversions
When preparing your website for the holidays is A/B test your changes to make sure they’re working for you, not against you.
When you A/B test your eCommerce site’s content, you can:
- Boost engagement and keep people browsing (and shopping!) for longer
- Reduce bounce rates and abandoned carts
- Increase conversions
- Boost lifetime customer value (repeat buyers)
- Make more money
And the best part is, split testing your site’s content is fairly low risk, though it has the potential to reap a high reward.
When it comes to A/B testing, you’ll want to make sure you:
- Test the site elements that are going to have a direct effect on whether people convert or not
- Make sure the sample size is big enough and the time you run the test is sufficient to generate accurate results
- Test one element at a time to get a true sense of what works and what doesn’t
- Make sure test A is significantly different from test B (e.g., the colors used on the CTA button are different)
Make sure that you never stop A/B testing, even after the holidays are over. Split testing elements on your site is one of the most effective and surefire ways to boost sales, even after the New Year. While you’re at it, don’t forget to track your site traffic at the same time.
The holiday season is a tough time for online stores, even if they are well-established and have a strong customer base. That’s because customers are more demanding than ever, and there’s more competition than ever before.
That said, having a successful holiday season is doable, so long as you know how to get your website ready. With the tips mentioned above, you can start converting holiday shoppers sooner rather than later. With a little luck and effort, be prepared to enter the New Year on an all-time high thanks to all the sales and loyal customers you’ve secured.