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‘Tis the Season to Get Your Website Holiday Ready

Holiday sales are steadily rising each year, thanks in part to the growth in online offerings for shoppers. So because of that, there is no better time to get your website holiday-ready. 

Online sales shot up 11% between 2015 and 2016, hitting $91.7 billion. The trend is expected to continue as online shopping becomes the norm for shoppers.

Adobe recently released its forecast for the 2017 holiday season and predicts $107 billion in online sales. That’s up 13.8% from 2016, while brick-and-mortar store sales are only expected to increase by 10% this year.

Also, for the first time this year, online shopping is expected to exceed in-store shopping during the holiday season! 51% of respondents to the Deloitte study plan to do their holiday spending online vs. 41% that are planning to shop in-store.

Few want to leave their cozy pajamas and warm homes to take on the crowds in the big holiday frenzy, but prefer to shop from their couches, hot chocolate in hand.

Make it easy for yourself and your online shoppers and get your website holiday-ready by following these tips below.

Check Page Loading Times

Patience is thin with consumers nowadays. 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and are much less satisfied if that doesn’t happen. Dissatisfied enough to actually leave your site and move on to the next merchant!

Check out this article by Crazy Egg for 10 tips to speed up your website!

Update Your Security

The holidays aren’t busy for just consumers and retailers. Hackers are hard at work getting into online databases and snatching up all of the credit card information that you’ve collected from your customers. Keep your website up-to-date on security, and make sure there aren’t any maintenance issues that’ll compromise your customer's security.

While you’re at it, make sure you have a widget or badge on your page displaying that you have security. Put customers' minds at ease by reassuring them that they’re protected before making a purchase.

Get Your Marketing Campaign Ready

Instead of creating just one email to drive traffic to your site, create an entire campaign with different promotions and value-adds! A campaign includes the initial email about the promotion, follow-ups and reminders, and additional promotions. If you’ve segmented your lists, you can send multiple promotional emails to each recipient with deals that relate to them the most.

Utilize social media and other advertising strategies to market your big holiday promotions as well. 

Keep in mind that consumers value-free, fast shipping, especially around the holidays. You can use this article to find the best way to offer free shipping to your customers. It’s sure to be a closer for your sales!

Make Sure Your Mobile Site Looks as Killer as Your Desktop Site

People are choosing more frequently to shop from their phones or tablets vs. a desktop. Ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile shopping (you can read tips on how to do that here) or creating an app for your shoppers will make it easier for you to turn mobile visits into conversions.

Responsive design is expected by consumers when shopping on their mobile devices. 61% of consumers will move to a competitor’s site if they have a frustrating experience with your mobile site! Mobile optimization is becoming more important to keep consumers browsing and ultimately purchasing from online merchants.

Get Any Scheduled Maintenance of Your Website Done

Whether it’s updating security, changing images, adding products, etc., make sure all of the changes you intend to make are done before the frenzy begins! You don’t want any downtime during your busiest time of year!

Most merchants implement a “coding freeze” from about mid-November through the end of the year. This means that their website’s holiday changes are tested and ready to be activated, and no other changes are going to be made. No new software implementations, no unnecessary updates, and no mess-ups that could shut down or slow down their website.



Update Your SEO/Keywords with the Holiday Spirit

Don’t forget “Black Friday deals”, “Cyber Monday”, and other holiday verbiage for your ads and promotions to be ranked higher on search engines! It’s going to be competitive, but don’t count yourself out before you start. Get creative! “Black Friday deals [enter your product name here]”.

Long-tail keywords tend to have a higher ROI than broad keywords. To get more ideas for keyword optimization, check out this post.

Remember ALL of the Big Days!

Not only are Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday big online shopping days for holiday shoppers, but you’ve also got Cyber Monday and Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas). The week leading up to Christmas is also a big week for online sales. Don’t forget to have sales and promotions planned for each big shopping day! And a few days in between. Everyone loves sales during the season!

The holidays are anything but a breeze for consumers and retailers alike. But if you follow the tips above to get your website holiday ready, your customers get their gifts, you get your conversions, and everybody wins! Happy Holidays!

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Duane “DJ” Sprague is a conversion rate expert, a Certified Behavioral Design Coach by the Online Influence Institute, and a certified expert by the Behavioral Design Academy, the Mindworx Academy, and the Interaction Design Institute. As CMO of a billion-dollar national franchise, he leveraged the power of social proof and online reviews to improve SEO and accelerate growth, as he developed and managed a comprehensive online reputation management strategy that spanned nearly 200 websites. He has written for Forbes, Small Biz Daily, and several industry trade magazines, contributed to several books and university course packs, and is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as a subject matter expert. He holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and has received the 1st Place Gold Award in a global integrated marketing competition. Duane is the CMO of Shopper Approved, where he works with thousands of ecommerce websites to improve their SEO and CRO.

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