Summer’s almost gone; the holiday season’s creeping up. So besides making sure that shoppers find your site among the tens of thousands of retail sites available to them on the Web, what else can you do to ensure you’re ready when shoppers start searching for holiday gifts? Here are some helpful tips:
1. Figure out what works best for your business. For example, are your shoppers enticed by free shipping offers, or do you need to ship gratis just to be competitive? Do you sell the kinds of items that people tend to give loved ones perennially — namely sweaters, slippers, men’s shirts and ties, etc. — and if so, do you offer incentives for loyal customers and deals for purchases of multiples?
2. Create customized landing pages. Are you carrying this year’s “hot” item? If so, prepare customized landing pages to greet the storm of shoppers, making it easy for shoppers to buy from you. Forrester Research tells us that you have eight seconds to engage a shopper before they leave your landing page (and they’re undoubtedly in even more of a rush when they’re holiday shopping).
3. Analyze past holiday performance. The best predictor of future customer behavior is past customer behavior. And the best way to ensure a successful holiday selling season is to learn from last year’s successes and mistakes. Spend time analyzing last year’s search reports to figure out this year’s holiday merchandising strategy and readiness plan.
4. Effective use of “searchandising.” When it comes to holiday readiness, site search and merchandising — namely, “searchandising” — play a big role. Even after your site lockdown in late September or early October, there are strategies you can continue to execute well into the holiday shopping season. Be nimble during this critical time. If you don’t pay attention to what your e-commerce sites are telling you and don’t respond to changing shopping patterns, you could suffer devastating consequences.