Do These 9 Things NOW to Prep Your E-Commerce Site for the Holidays

The leaves are turning, and the biggest shopping season of the year is just around the corner. If you’re in the e-commerce business (and my bet is you are if you’re reading this!), forecasts are looking great for 2016. Holiday e-commerce sales are expected to grow for yet another year as more consumers trade fighting for parking at the mall for shopping in their pajamas.

Do yourself a favor and prep your e-commerce early, or you may miss out on valuable holiday sales. Here’s our list of can’t-skip areas to check.

1. Mobile Responsiveness

Your site’s already set up for mobile shopping….right? In 2016, BI Intelligence predicts mobile commerce will make up 20.6 percent of overall holiday e-commerce sales — and they project it will only continue to grow.

Making sure your WordPress e-commerce site is responsive is a great first step, but you also need to optimize your checkout for mobile. Conversion rates for mobile still lag behind desktop, which means retailers are missing out on valuable mobile sales as customers grow frustrated with tiny forms and poorly-designed user experiences.

2. Increased Site Traffic

Can your site handle a surge in visitors? Are you sure? Stress test your e-commerce site now to avoid learning the hard way when one of your awesome products goes viral, and you miss out on all those valuable sales.

holiday e-commerce sales

3. Site Speed

You have three seconds or less before nearly half of web users will simply abandon your site. Three seconds! If your site is slow to load, now’s the time to fix it. Start by running your site through a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Website Speed Test to test the speed and pinpoint culprits.

Want to learn more? Start with our post: Why Your Slow Website is Losing You Sales – And How To Fix It [Infographic]

4. Optimize Conversions

Make it as simple as possible for your customers to get from “That’s perfect” to “Bought it!” by optimizing your checkout process. Can you streamline the process and un-complicate forms? Is the next step always ridiculously clear?

Here’s a test: Can a working mom who’s just realized she needs a last-minute gift for her son’s new girlfriend order your product while cooking dinner and arbitrating a fight between her toddlers? Then you nailed it.

Get started here: Top 5 Ways to Increase E-commerce Conversions

5. Increase Average Order Value

Don’t just rely on an increase in site traffic to increase your holiday e-commerce sales. Prep your site to cross-sell, upsell, bundle, and otherwise increase your average order value per customer.

6. Holiday Graphics

Whether you’re planning to roll out an entire holiday-themed feel or just want a few banners to advertise various sales, it pays to plan your holiday graphics ahead of time. Not only will this be less stress for you, you’ll also stay in the good graces of your graphic designer. Think about social media ads, backgrounds, email graphics, and more.

While you’re at it, you may want to take a look at your product photography. Is it as attractive as it could be? If not, now’s the time to spruce it up.

7. SEO & SEM

OK, to be fair, even if you started on a SEO campaign today, you’ll be behind the curve when it comes to the 2016 holiday season. But now is still a great time to start a SEO content strategy to attract human customers, and prime the robots to raise your page rank for 2017.

To get keyword ranking results right now, think about adding some search engine marketing (SEM) into the mix, and starting up a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign through Google AdWords.

holiday e-commerce sales

8. Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned shopping carts may seem like a pain, but they’re actually becoming part of the purchase cycle for many consumers. Customers may still be considering a purchase, or shopping around to compare price while your product sits so tantalizingly close to sale in their shopping cart.

Many of these consumers do still intend to buy your product — they just need a little nudge. That’s why it pays to get automatic abandoned shopping cart emails set up, using a plugin like WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart.

9. Double-Check Security

You know who else loves the e-commerce holiday shopping season? Cybercrooks! There are more data breaches during the next few months than any other time of the year. Don’t let these hackers ruin your holiday e-commerce sales.

Digital security is especially crucial for small and mid-sized businesses, who cybercrooks see as easy targets. Protect your site from both data breaches and attacks that can cause costly downtime by using SSL (secure sockets layer) authentication, and running security audits to patch holes. If you need a hand, get in touch to see how we can help.

One response to “Do These 9 Things NOW to Prep Your E-Commerce Site for the Holidays”

  1. Eric Amundson Avatar

    Terrific post, Jessie!

    On the topic of mobile sales during the holidays, one thing I encourage people to pay a lot of attention to is the mobile checkout experience.

    Traditionally, I think we see folks using mobile to search for stuff, then putting it down and using a laptop or desktop to purchase. This is because checkout is a pain on mobile if you have to complete all those fields: billing and shipping address, phone, payment, etc.

    As a consumer, using a tool like 1Password can help me autocomplete some of this information.

    As a site owner, though, I’d look seriously at payment gateways like Amazon Payments and PayPal as these both make checkout much easier on mobile.