Don’t Make these Holiday E-commerce Mistakes!

This holiday season, more shoppers than ever are turning to the Internet. If you are in the e-commerce business, that’s great news. However, along with the potential for increased traffic and sales this season, there’s also the potential to make serious holiday e-commerce mistakes that might haunt you for the year to come.

Watch out for these 6 common culprits:

Website not ready for holiday traffic

Most e-commerce companies are hoping for surge in traffic to their websites this time of year — particularly if they are upping their advertising as well. But don’t simply spend money driving more traffic and forget about optimizing your poor website! An increase in visitors can lead to slow site speeds or even a total crash.

Not only will you lose a ton of sales if your site goes down, but holiday shoppers are notoriously impatient. If visitors get frustrated by your website speeds, they may just move on to the next item on their list.

To learn more about prepping your website for increased traffic, check out this post: Optimizing WordPress to Increase Your Website Speed (Infographic)

Shipping dates aren’t clear

This time of year, you can guarantee most of your customers are wanting to receive their purchases by a certain date. Spelling out your shipping cutoff dates throughout your website is critical — not just on your FAQ page, but also in a big, bold banner on the front page. If there’s any uncertainty about whether or not their gifts will arrive on time, customers may abandon their shopping carts in favor of a safer bet.

Since so many people are last-minute shoppers, is also worth making sure you have expedited shipping options, too.

While you’re at it, now is a good time to clearly spell out return policies. Not only will this help clear up confusion after the holidays, having clear return policies will help reassure gift-givers who are considering your products.

Lack of guidance

Gift guides are hugely popular pieces of content this time of year — after all, we’re all looking for inspiration! (By the way, if you have any idea what my husband wants for Christmas, let me know.)

Give your customers a hand by curating gift guides aimed at your target audience. This should of course include your products, but could also include complementary products that add value. Share these guides to social media accounts, email them to your newsletter subscribers, and feature them prominently on your websites.

This is also a good time to spruce up the copy on your website to state exactly who your products might be for. Be descriptive, and help customers envision exactly who on their gift list is a perfect match. And, of course, don’t forget to highlight cross-sells in order to increase your order values!

Learn more: Does Your Site Make Every Customer Feel Special?

Not collecting information

During the holidays, you’ll probably have a lot of new visitors to your site. This is a perfect time to make sure you’re grabbing their information with an exit pop-up box or other form, so you can get them into your marketing funnel. Whether or not they purchase, providing them a fantastic holiday shopping experience right now is the opportunity to make customers for life and grow your business in the years to come.

Think of enticements like free shipping or free gift offers not only as a way to make the sale, but also as a way to build your audience. Both will be important as you grow your business — and missing out on this treasure trove of information could be one of the biggest holiday e-commerce mistakes you make!

Learn more: Earning Your Customers’ Trust in 5 Simple Steps

Skimping on customer service

Holiday shoppers are in a rush, and because they are shopping for gifts, they often need a little more handholding. Make sure your customer service staff is up to snuff by responding quickly to customer inquiries through all channels, and providing a pleasant shopping experience. Don’t forget channels like social media, where more and more consumers are now turning to contact companies.

Head off common questions and concerns by addressing them in your website copy or FAQ — this will not only lighten the load on your customer service team, it will also help capture sales from customers who may not like asking for help, and will just move on if they have to many questions about your products.

Learn more: The Key to a Seamless Omnichannel Strategy? Focus on the Humans

Competing only on price

Yes, holiday shoppers are looking for good deals, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically join the race to the bottom when it comes to pricing. Discounting your prices too early, too deep, and for too long can give the impression that you are a bargain brand. Instead of only competing on price, think of other ways to differentiate yourself:

  • Customer service
  • Quality
  • Convenience
  • Selection
  • Mission
  • Integrity
  • Brand personality
  • Community

Whatever your brand is at the beginning of the holiday season, make sure your holiday promotions don’t undermine that message. Continue focusing on building your customer base with your true loyal fans, and you’ll see long-term success.

Check yourself for these holiday e-commerce mistakes, and then take a deep breath.

Happy holidays!

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