Long lines, pushy people, checkout line frenzy—According to the 2011 TOTSY Moms Shopping Trends Report, 72% of mothers are planning to leave the car in the garage and shop online this holiday season to avoid the unnecessary stress.
As Ecommerce store owners, it’s important to prepare your store for increased holiday traffic and capitalize on it for the New Year.
Here are some strategies you can start thinking about for this upcoming season:
1. Flexible Return Policies – A typical 30 day return policy will scare gift-givers away. Just for this season, extend your return policy to either 60 days or a date after the New Year. Make sure your customers are aware of your new policy as well.
2. Shipping Times – This is undoubtedly one of the most important improvements you can make to your store. Shoppers will leave your store if they are not certain they will receive the gift in time for the holidays.
3. Thematic Elements – Enhance your website and email newsletters with some holiday-themed graphics and images. Include special recipes, gift-giving tips and warm, inviting images of families enjoying the season.
4. Double-check – Perform a thorough check of your website. Will your domain name expire? Is your website going down too often? What about your credit card expiration dates? SSL Certificate? Is your server able to handle the increased traffic load? You may not be as “big” as Macys but even the corporate giants don’t plan enough for the holiday rush. Here is what one customer saw when trying to access Macy’s website a few years ago:
5. Make Suggestions – Help your customers by grouping products by price or gift recipient. Try offering special holiday bundles to save your customers money. Make their gift-giving experience easier.
6. After-Holiday Discounts – Capitalize on the season by offering an incentive for customers to return in January. Consider including coupons with packages or sending discount codes via email to those who order.
7. Seasonal Keywords – Optimize your website and PPC campaigns with seasonal keywords.
8. Social Media – Add a little holiday cheer to your Facebook and Twitter pages. If you run Facebook ads, test themed images with your ads and offer gift-giving discounts only for fans and followers.
9. Gift Cards – Appease the lazy shopper or the customers who cannot figure out what to buy. Display the gift card option prominently so overwhelmed customers know they can always purchase one if needed.
10. Holiday Countdown – Countdown timers work well to enforce the “immediacy” of purchasing and can force impulse shoppers to “pull the trigger”. Increased conversions are often a byproduct.
Don’t let this holiday season pass you by. Capitalize on the gift-giving potential and try some of these techniques.
Do you have any other strategies that worked well for you? Please share.
Really good point about double checking SSL Certificate expiration dates. While this should always be kept track of year round, it would be crippling for many businesses if the certificate expired during a sale. Most customers will run for the door when they receive the pop-up error message that the SSL Certificate is invalid.
Remember that when an SSL certificate expires, you can’t simply renew it. It needs to be rekeyed and re-activated on the server. This could mean additional hours or even days, depending on your host, before getting back up and running using SSL. If this does happen to you, make sure to disable SSL on your shop and switch your payment method to something offsite like PayPal until the situation is resolved.
In the future, purchase your SSL for multiple years and you won’t have to go through this as often.