The holiday's are more often than not the peek of any retailers sales.
As the shopping bonanza approaches, many will storm the doors of bick-and-mortar locations to secure their deals. However, many more will reserve their holiday shopping to a slightly less hectic, digital experience.
Is your store ready for the stampede of shoppers that await? If not, we'll explain the 7 core things you need to get right to maximize your online stores holiday sales.
Upping Your UX
The Thanksgiving weekend holiday online spends in 2016 was the highest in the history of US ecommerce. $1.93 billion was spent on Thanksgiving day, $3.34 Billion on Black Friday and 3.45 billion on Cyber Monday according to Adobe Digital Insights.
Businesses that take steps to prepare for this massive influx of spenders during these peak shopping days reap huge rewards. You don’t have to be a retail giant or undergo an expensive ecommerce redesign; you just have to provide a superior user experience (UX) on your site. This requires intensive preparation. You cannot do business as usual on these surging sales days.
Understanding Behavior – Holiday Season Shopper Stress
Whether shoppers are online trying to take advantage of great specials or they are buying holiday season presents for family, friends, and colleagues, there can be a high level of anxiety attached to the process.
Today’s shoppers are pressed for time and spoiled for choice. They want to know that they are making the best possible purchase for their budget and don’t want to feel like they could have gotten a better deal elsewhere if they had just searched a little more.
Your ecommerce site has to lead the buyer through a sales journey that confirms every step of the way that you are a trustworthy company who is going to deliver on all promises. Let’s take a look at some key elements you can embrace to ensure your website is ready to make the most of these high revenue yielding sales periods, and alleviate as much shopper stress as possible.
Highlight Your Trustworthiness
How can a user be assured that they are going to get their purchase delivered on time, in perfect condition and be of the highest quality?
In the ecommerce homepage example above, you'll notice immediately Recognitionsource.com highlights the key value props "110% price match guarantee" and "600+ 5 Star Reviews" to build shopper confidence
Simple –pepper your site with trust seals, reviews, and social proof. Users want to see what other shoppers have experienced in purchasing from your ecommerce store.
They want to be able to see that you have a good reputation in your niche, known for superior customer service, a history of kept promises and a superior product. In this way, they can be sure that purchasing on your site is going to all turn out right.
Offer Purchase Suggestions
Many users leave their shopping list execution for the last possible moment. They procrastinate and know time is of the essence. They don’t have the hours to wade through too many options. This could make them overwhelmed, and they could abandon their carts before checkout.
Orthomattress.com does an amazing job of up-selling product accessories and add-ons for each of their mattresses.
Step in with suggestions for gifts based on what they are currently searching for on your site. You can also offer filters so they can get options for more specific products in line with their shopping lists.
Ensure Product Availability
If you are offering a product, you must have availability. You will lose customers if they begin using the filters on your site to choose a pair of shoes, in red, in size seven only to find there is no availability of that color or size and they have to start all over again. Don’t display what you can’t deliver.
Nixon.com solves the availability by having a subtle, but easily visible "In Stock" indicator amongst their product information.
You know that you will be experiencing higher sales so make sure your supplier or your factory can provide what you are displaying. Once a customer has gone through the whole process of selecting their item, and it is no longer available, they will simply click away to another site.
There are many others out there. Why should they stick around with no guarantee that the same process won’t repeat itself with all items they end up selecting? You’ve lost their trust, and it might be hard to win it back.
Be Upfront About How You Compare to the Competition
Users want to make sure they are getting the best deal out there. They want to pay the lowest possible price for the highest quality.
Another great example from Ortho, this time they're highlighting key value props differentiating them from other mattress retailers
Make it extremely clear on your site if you offer free shipping and why your item is potentially higher priced than the competition, e.g., it is made with higher quality materials. Keep the user on the page by giving all of the relevant information, so they do not have to leave your site in search of answers or to compare prices.
Save Their Spot
It is vital that your site automatically saves the place where the user was last searching on your site.
They could have already spent a lot of time and effort perusing your products only to be unexpectedly called away. When they return to your site later, they will greatly appreciate picking up where they left off. It will appear as if you were waiting patiently for their return. You can make this happen by using local storage features.
Browsers can then store details about any user’s interaction on your ecommerce site without it having to be saved to a remote database. You are also able to create a seamless experience for users by replacing the current history status. You can change the URL without needing to reload the entire page. It allows you to know exactly where the user was when they shared or saved a particular link.
Let Them List
We love making lists. So offer your users the chance to make lists on your site. Give them an opportunity to create a list for the person they are trying to buy a present for or lists of priorities (must have, nice to have, big dreams).
Rugandhome.com makes saving and sharing products super easy with their clear "Save" option next to their add to cart button.
A list feature helps a user to keep their buying process in order, especially when it entails multiple purchases for different people. You are offering an organization feature that helps to turn down their high-stress levels at their point of purchase.
Assist users to fully utilize the list function by offering clear instructions on how to use it. You can expand on the benefits of using the list feature to never buy the same item twice. You can help customers avoid accidentally buying someone the same type of gift every single year. They will have a history of their purchases for different people. A detailed order history feature that could include the item purchased, the date of the sale and the person it was bought for can all be included for the user.
Offer A Personal Note Option
Create a field where the user can add any additional notes about a past purchase. These could include reasons for a return of an item or details about whether the recipient of the gift liked it so much that it could be given again, etc.
Integrate Live Chat
Customers want to have their questions answered right away. If you can solve their queries at any time, they won’t be forced to go elsewhere.
Also, make sure you select live chat software that has an offline form option. This will ensure you're always receiving important customer inquiries even when your agents aren't available.
UX Basics Checklist
The above seven points constitute some of the more advanced UX features available, but it is also a good idea to ensure that some of the more obvious features are working correctly. You might want to go through this holiday season pre-prep checklist to make sure your ecommerce site is optimized for the influx of users. Can you answer the following questions in the affirmative?
- Have you already been running a digital marketing campaign to draw traffic to your ecommerce site ahead of the holiday season rush?
- Have you added tracking pixels to any Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords Campaigns so you can engage in retargeting?
- Have you been trumpeting the news of your sale items across the web?
- Is your current ecommerce site able to handle a substantial surge in new shoppers?
- Is your checkout process seamless without any surprise costs that surface only at the payment point?
- Is your site optimized for mobile?
- Have you used email marketing as a tool to bring awareness about your discounted items to your existing customers? Are you giving long-standing customers a sneak preview with additional benefits?
- Is your site's load speed faster than 7 seconds? If not you can optimize your images, combine CSS files, delete any unnecessary images, etc., to speed things up.
- Have you chosen which of your products are going to be discounted and if you are going to waive shipping charges?
- Have you incorporated cross-sell and upsell opportunities to your ecommerce site?
- Are you discounting products by at least 20% to keep up with the competition?
- Are you going to add a countdown clock banner or other signals of urgency (“Only one left," “Limited time only," etc.) to your website to encourage the user to make the purchase?
- Have you signposted how users can find the more significant discounts on your site? Have you provided them with a user-friendly “map” to find the “treasure” on your site?
- Do you have at least one “doorbuster” item? This is one item that is ridiculously discounted by 70 -80%. It is so irresistible that people flock to your store, and while they are there, they are going to continue shopping.
- Have you included this particular holiday season’s keywords to your product descriptions?
- Are you offering a range of payment options including methods like PayPal and Bitcoin?
- Have you set up ways to capture the data on your website so you can analyze what initiatives were successes that can be repeated, and what challenges can be eliminated in the next holiday sales cycle?
If you answered “Yes” to the above points, you are in a strong position to handle the increased traffic with enough tempting lures to result in high ecommerce conversion rates.
Is Your Website Ready to Receive?
You obviously want to jump on board the holiday season shopping splurge, but it does require that you have a website that is optimized to offer users an excellent shopping experience. Your potential customers have already started researching online for their holiday purchases. The National Retail Federation reported that 40% of customers began this information gathering in October.
Interested in learning how much you should budget for your ecommerce website redesign? Check out our pricing calculator below.
If you feel there are some gaps in your ecommerce sites potential legendary status –we can help you. Give us a call or contact us online so we can make sure you are holiday season ready.
Huemor is a web design and development company partnered with leading ecommerce platform technology such as BigCommerce, Magento, and Shopify Plus.