5 tips for optimizing your online store before the holidays

Blog banner with "holiday sale"

The holiday season is approaching fast, and with many customers planning to skip in-store shopping this year, online purchasing is expected to be bigger than ever. It’s important to make sure your site has all the bells and whistles it needs to stand out from the competition.

If you’re looking for some last minute inspiration to get your online store optimized for the holiday season, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five quick tips to get your site optimized before the festive season begins: 

1. Create a holiday landing page that houses your best deals

Example of holiday landing page from "we sell mats"

Image via: wesellmats

What better way to showcase your top products and deals than creating a holiday landing page? As the first thing shoppers will see, a landing page is prime real estate on your website. It should be used to incentivize shoppers, showcase the products you want to move the most during the holiday season, or promote a featured marketing campaign.

Create an exclusive holiday package by bundling products for a limited-time gift option, or display your latest contest to collect email signups for retargeting.

Help customers cross off multiple names from their shopping list by displaying a gift guide for frequently-bought-for people like parents, children and significant others. Tailor the gift guide to your specific products, by adding inventory for the sports fan, foodie, or cosmetics lover in their lives. 

Promoting product-specific lists resonates with shoppers as it lets them know they're in the right place. It might also remind them to buy gifts for others they may have forgotten about (which translates to increased AOV for you).

The landing page doesn’t have to be static — switch up your promotions to drive repeat visits and increased sales. Need help with your marketing strategy for a landing page? Contact EYStudios to ensure your first impression counts.

2. Make sure critical shipping dates are easily found

red and green graphic showing holiday shipping deadlines

Image via: stylinonline

Now more than ever, it’s important to make your shipping information known to customers. Updating your shipping page to reflect this year’s shipping deadlines will help get those final sales in and keep your customers happy.

Ensure shoppers are aware of shipping deadlines by displaying links to your shipping information on a sitewide banner, pop-up, or on your holiday landing page. Create urgency by displaying an up-to-date countdown to help increase conversions and ensure gifts are landing on doorsteps on time.

Do you offer international shipping? Outline the different shipping date cutoffs based on the country your customers are located in, and encourage shipping upgrades to help customers get their gifts faster.

You can also take a cue from Amazon and offer gift wrapping, for ready-to-open presents upon delivery. 

3. Show off your subscription products and offerings

example of Chaeban Ice Cream subscription offering

Image via: chaebanicecream

Remember, holiday shoppers aren’t only buying gifts for other people. They are also looking to spoil themselves during this time of year! As customers browse your store, make sure they find out about your great subscription offerings.

Subscriptions entice customers to return to your store long after the holidays are over, and hopefully sign up for an offer that brings in valuable recurring revenue. A few tips for making your subscriptions stand out: 

  • Show off your subscription offers on a header, hero image, landing page, or popup.
  • Use “free shipping” or 10% off with subscription to entice shoppers to spend a little extra and save.
  • Consider your subscription onboarding flow. Get customers filling out a fun survey or answering personalization questions to guide them towards a subscription option.
  • If you offer an enticing subscription deal (save 20% and get free shipping when you subscribe for 6 months etc.) customers might buy the holiday gift they need and treat themselves all in one purchase.

Subscriptions can be more than just a monthly or quarterly mystery box. Your business can offer an abundance of different items to fill that customer need. Who doesn’t love a recurring coffee order or new sunglasses now and again? 

Don't miss our subscriptions webinar!

Looking to scale and grow your subscription business this new year? Join subscription gurus from Bold, BigCommerce, and EYStudios as they uncover key foundations for success in today's rapidly shifting marketplace. Sign up now to reserve your spot.

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4. Product descriptions and reviews are key

Screenshot from Amazon of Christmas tree with product description and customer reviews

Image via: Amazon

One of the most important aspects of your site are your products. When it comes to making that sale, you want to ensure your customers have all their questions answered up front so they feel confident enough in their purchase to click through to checkout. 

Craft unique and easily digestible product descriptions by using bullet points and headers that make them easier to read. Optimizing product descriptions to include detailed points like product dimensions, fiber content, ingredients, and special features can go a long way for customers. 

handhsakesImage via: Shopify 

Try adding video or looping animations to the image gallery — seeing products in “real life” helps the customer better visualize using the product, which can significantly improve your conversion rate. Ensure these product images and descriptions are displayed properly on different devices, such as mobile. There are several applications available to test, such as Google’s free option, but nothing beats a really good look on an actual device.

Another impactful addition to your site are product reviews. Hearing what actual customers say about a product gives shoppers a greater understanding of what their experience could be.

97% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decisions, and potential customers find shoppers’ reviews more trustworthy than the company’s messaging. 

Leverage this trust by encouraging customers to leave reviews, but don’t expect all 5-star responses. Instead, learn from feedback and reply to less than ideal reviews to show current and prospective customers that you truly care about their experience.

Some ecommerce platforms such as BigCommerce have reviews included, but for more robust features, you might need to look at additional third-party options.

5. Small graphics and banners go a long way

Screen shot of smokedmeats.com home page

Image via: smokedmeats

It’s the perfect time to go the extra mile and add a little festive spirit to your website, but these graphics can do more than spread a little joy — they’re also a great asset to your marketing efforts. 

Holiday graphics can create a cohesive message across your website that will give your customers an easy understanding of your holiday offerings. Use holiday themed banners to highlight your sales, holiday landing page, shipping deadlines, and other important details your customers should be aware of.

Promoting limited time sales? Use a banner, or a holiday landing page, coupled with strategic language to invoke a sense of urgency.

An animated banner is also a fun way to grab shoppers’ attention. But remember, these graphics should be professional looking to build trust with your audience. Rule of thumb: if you can’t design — don’t design. There’s a lot of great resources out there, like Canva or a trusted agency, to help you create beautiful holiday promotions.

Be sure to test your graphics and banners across devices and use a mobile responsive layout that can easily manage these website additions.

Need an extra hand this holiday season?

We hope you'll be able to apply these tips to your online store in time for the holiday shopping rush. If you need a hand optimizing your store, our team at EYStudios would be happy to help. We've crafted custom solutions for a wide-range of successful ecommerce brands, and we'd like to add yours to our list!

Happy holidays! 

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Guest post: Emily Faulkner

Written by Guest post: Emily Faulkner

Emily Faulkner is the Marketing Specialist for EYStudios. EYStudios is an agency with over 16 years of design and development experience. They offer creative solutions for ecommerce businesses both large and small.

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