10 Tips to Optimize Holiday E-Commerce Sales
Shoppers everywhere are scrambling to make all of their holiday purchases. Is your e-commerce site prepared for the shoppers? Americans spent nearly $400B online in 2016, driving over 40 percent of all retail sales growth. That trend figures to continue.
Here are 10 tips to get your website ready for the holiday season:
- Refresh your homepage. Show consumers that you’re in the holiday spirit by using your homepage to feature special deals and holiday-themed products. Remember, not everyone knows what they want, so your homepage is the best place to give them ideas.
- Create landing pages for popular searches. For top brands and categories, create curated pages that feature popular and top-ranked products, and redirect searchers to those pages. You can’t do this for all your searches, but it’s worth investing in your most popular ones.
- Look at your search logs from last year. Take the opportunity to learn from what worked — and what didn’t — last year. You might find that you need to create a landing page about your shipping policy, or that you need to introduce synonyms (e.g., iwatch = apple watch) to improve the discoverability of your products. It’s always good to learn from your logs, but now is an especially valuable time to do so.
- Refresh your autocomplete search suggestions. What’s popular during the holidays isn’t necessarily what’s popular year-round, and you don’t want to be suggesting Halloween and Thanksgiving products to shoppers thinking about Christmas. Make sure the search suggestions you’re showing them are fresh and timely.
- Make your search box larger and more prominent. Searchers are the best buyers, and longer search queries are more likely to result in conversions. Make it easy for shoppers to find the search box, and make it big enough to encourage longer queries.
- Show recommendations on your product pages. If you have a recommender system in place, great! If not, then do something simple. For example, if you've assigned each of your products to a category from a product taxonomy, then you can assemble a recommendations section on product pages from best-selling and top-rated products from the product’s category. Your shoppers want to buy something, so give them every opportunity to find something they like.
- Give shoppers reasons to tell you about themselves. The more you know about your customers, the better your ability to deliver personalized experiences. Be careful not to add friction to their shopping experiences, but look for natural ways to solicit information that helps you help them find what they want.
- Make sure your analytics are running like clockwork. This is game time for your site, and you need to know that your shoppers are finding the products they want and are buying them. If shoppers are seeing no results in their searches or abandoning their shopping carts, you want to know immediately so that you can take corrective action in real time.
- Run experiments — lots of them! The biggest time of year for shopping might not seem like the time to try anything new. However, you should take advantage of holiday traffic to run experiments. If you have an A/B testing framework, use it! Not only will you experience immediate gains, but you’ll benefit from those gains long after the holidays are over.
- Plan for the new year. Once you’ve locked down your site for the holidays, take advantage of the opportunity to plan for next year. Bring your developers, product managers and designers together, and get their creative juices flowing with ideas they’ll be excited to execute in January.
For all the stress that the holidays bring, it’s the season when online retail has the opportunity to shine. Prepare for your shoppers, and you’ll find yourself with the best gift of all: satisfied customers who stick around into the new year.
Daniel Tunkelang is the chief search evangelist at Twiggle, a company that enables retailers to optimize their inventory, regardless of the data source, structure or how recently it was added to their catalog.