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12 Steps To Improve E-commerce Websites For The Festive Season

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We are fast approaching the festive season, which means if you’re a retail business, or have an e-commerce shop you’ll be looking to secure as many sales as possible in the run up to Christmas. 

Without a doubt, 2020 has been the year of online shopping. 

As the UK was thrust into a long period of lockdown, and non-essential shops were closed, online shopping became the way many people survived. People were ordering everything from exercise equipment to toilet roll. 

In fact, according to the figures, during the first UK lockdown, an astonishing 71% of British consumers received between 1 – 3 online shopping orders delivered to their homes every week. That’s a LOT of parcels even Santa’s sleigh would struggle with! 

You would think, after all that online shopping we would be done and dusted. But as we now approach the biggest shopping season of the year, experts predict that people will be purchasing earlier than before, and mostly buying online. 

So if you have an e-commerce website that sells goods or products of any kind, it’s now more important than ever to ensure that you are ready for the surge in sales from black Friday and all the way through the festive season, embrace this opportunity of online over highstreet. 

To help you get prepared for the festive season and come out of 2020 a success, follow our twelve steps to improve your e-commerce experience. 

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Create Seasonal Landing Pages 

Your customers are in the festive spirit so the question should be – is your website? 

By creating seasonal landing pages, you immediately help your customers identify that you have the perfect gifts for Christmas. 

We are all led by the imagery that we see online, so ensure that your product is in a seasonal setting or at least has some element of festivities about the page. For example, you could have snowflakes falling down the page, festive icons or your product in a seasonal lifestyle shot. 

Your product may not be season-specific, but the least you can do is make that page feel festive. 

Write Festive Blog Content 

Festive blog content is a great way to demonstrate to potential customers what you have available on your e-commerce website and how it can help them give the perfect gift, or have the most idyllic Christmas. 

Gift guides are one of the best ways to help promote your products during this time. Product guides by age or gender can help ignite your visitor’s imagination and help them discover your product. You may also find video can help sell products even better at this time of year.

Be Transparent About Delivery 

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from 2020, it’s that we need transparency. And those businesses who aren’t transparent now feel the wrath of customers online thanks to social media. 

Ensure that your delivery time and prices are clearly detailed so that there is no room for error or miscommunication. 

Christmas is a sensitive and precious time for everyone, and you don’t want to be the business that stole Christmas because of your poorly communicated delivery times. If your deliveries may be running late, just make that clearly communicated.

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Make it Mobile Friendly 

In 2019, 54% of online shopping was completed via mobile. With the way things have been this year thanks to COVID-19, you can bet any money this statistic is going to skyrocket as more people shop online due to high-street store closures. 

If your e-commerce store isn’t mobile-friendly, make it your top priority. 

People will search on their phones for products or gift ideas, and if they find something they like, they will want to buy it. Don’t make it hard from them by having a website that doesn’t offer great user experience on mobile. 

Remember also that good mobile responsiveness will impact your rankings, change visitor time on site and improve sales conversions. If you are lucky enough to rank for festive keywords then much of the search traffic during this period will be made on mobile and devices so opportunities are huge!

Research Seasonal Keywords 

Understanding what people are searching for during the seasonal months can give you insight into what it is people want the most. This includes anything from product trends, to guides or advice around the season as well as product reviews.

A great example is particular festive recipes. If you have a product that can be used for a popular Christmas recipe, don’t you think you want to know so you can create the recipe for it? 

There are so many interesting phrases and keywords that can help to accelerate your e-commerce website; you just need to do the research and think about what it is your customers want. 

With these insights, you can take your e-commerce website to the next level. You can enhance your products by creating bundles or bringing in limited-edition options. You can improve your blog content with guides or video tutorials. 

Shout About Positive Reviews 

Too often, reviews are hidden somewhere way below the product information. But positive reviews have a huge influence on a visitor’s decision to purchase. 

Think about how you can increase the visibility of your positive reviews so that they immediately capture the attention of your potential customers. 

Some e-commerce websites have reviews right next to the product description, or even below it. Others add video testimonials in the image reel of the product. 

With so many variations of making your positive review stand out, there’s no excuse not to shout about them. 

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Ensure Quality Customer Service 

You may be in the online world, but customer service still matters. 

As people may have questions about a product’s specifications or delivery, it’s critical that you have a team ready and willing to be your customer’s support as they make a purchase. 

You may look to adopt a chatbot or have a customer service phone number available. 

Whatever you decide upon, think about making it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch with you. Any slight delay may mean you lose a customer to a competitor who has more details about a product and can answer the phone much quicker.  You may find that this is a good time for a chat box or to be ready to answer questions via social media.

Remember that during the festive season, everyone is slightly rushed and wants everything as soon as possible, so ensure that you are up for the challenge and can be ready instantly. 

Load Fast 

You may have decked out your e-commerce website like Santa’s Grotto, but will it load fast? 

It’s all well and good making your website look extra festive and fancy, but deep down it also needs to load quickly. 

Large image files can slow a webpage down, but this is just a small fix compared to some of the other errors that could be making your website load at a snail’s pace. 

Before you do any big festive launch, check your site speed on Google, as this will give you an indication of how fast or slow your website is currently performing for your customers. 

Too slow and you will instantly lose out on sales as people will think your website is broken, or even worse, that it can’t be trusted. Site speed is not only frustrating for potential customers, but it’s a big trust factor. 

Studies have shown that when a customer comes away from a slow-loading website, they very rarely go back. This means you don’t just lose that customer for one sale; you may lose them for life. 

Create a Countdown 

Create a bit of a buzz on your e-commerce website to encourage customers to make a sale. 

Countdowns are a well-known way to stop people from procrastinating and make a purchase. 

These countdowns include anything from a limited edition product countdown, making people realise there is some scarcity to the item. Or even a delivery countdown, as it’s made clear when final orders for Christmas can be taken. 

Once you’ve created your countdown, you can then include this on the homepage of your website, as well as across your social media platforms. 

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Send Personalised Offers 

Hopefully, as an e-commerce retailer, you have been wise enough to create email subscribers from your previous customers and categorised them by the purchase they made. 

The reason this email list is so important is because you have a much bigger chance of getting sales from repeat business than you do trying to secure new sales. 

What pleases loyal customers even more, is when they feel that an offer they have been sent is personalised to them. 

Therefore, think about the types of exclusive offers or coupon codes you could give to existing customers to make them return during the festive season. 

Say it All with Pictures 

In the online world, people can’t feel or touch your product. They can’t try it on; they can’t get a realistic sense of what shape it is, or what colour it is – which is why your images and photos must work hard to give as much visual information as possible to your potential customer. 

It’s not good enough to just have a product on a white background. Think about having images and photos of your product being used, or in a space so that there is some placement of its shape, size or colour. 

The more images you have of your product, the greater the chance of a sale. And if you can add a video – even better. 

While improving your images, don’t forget to optimise images so that Google knows what the product is and ensures your product page ranks well.

Check Your Checkout 

There is nothing more frustrating than a bad check out experience when you’re trying to do your online shopping, even more so when it’s your Christmas shopping! 

According to research by Smart Insights, around 87% of online shoppers abandon carts due to the checkout process being too long or complicated. 

Your checkout is the one place you don’t want to lose people – so take the time to enhance this process as much as possible so that it doesn’t fail you during the festive season.

Check how long it takes to checkout on your website, and that everything is clear when it comes to delivery times and charges. 

In an ideal world, your checkout should be no longer than 2 – 3 steps max. 

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