How To Prepare Your Online Store For The Holidays
1. Research & Analyse
The first step is to look at the data: which keywords are trending, which products are your best sellers, which offers give you a better profit margin, who are your biggest customers?
Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help you understand where your customers are coming from, how and where they are landing on your site, which keywords and phrases are being searched in your niche, how your competitors are ranking, and if there are any issues on your website that need to be fixed.
If you use Shopify, check the analytics that they provide to learn about best selling items, conversion rates, referral sources and more. The higher the Shopify plan, the more reports you can access.
To better understand how visitors interact with your website, consider installing a heatmap. It will show your most clicked areas and give great insights into how customers are navigating the pages. You can then optimise your pages based on customer behaviour.
Once you learn where your customers are coming from, what they are looking for, what they are shopping for, how they interact with your website you’ll have a great picture of the business and are able to make informed decisions.
2. Dress Up Your Website
Decide on a theme and colour palette you would like to use for the holiday season, and ‘dress’ your website for the occasion. If you have a retail space, the style should translate to your online store and vice-versa. The look and feel of your website will also guide any promotional material you create. The idea is to have a consistent brand across your online store, retail space, digital and print.
3. Be Mobile Ready
Ensure your website is easy to use on mobile phones and tablets. Fix any errors you have identified. Your site should use a responsive design, which adapts to different screen sizes. You can check how your site loads on different devices here:
To make it easy for visitors to shop and find what they are looking for, review your website categories, clean up your navigation, ensure your search box is visible in a prominent space above the fold, and install an autocomplete app with an image preview. If you carry a large inventory, consider adding a sidebar filter menu to your collection pages.
5. Have Your Graphics Ready
Create a range of graphics based on the look and feel you have chosen for the holiday season. Banners, slideshows, Instagram tiles, and postcards. Having a template that you can easily customise ready in advance will make life easier when you are sending an email campaign or posting on social media.
6. Create A Shopping Guide
Shopping guides are a great tool and they come in a range of styles. From categories on your website to email marketing to traditional printing, a well-put-together shopping guide can give your customers ideas of what to buy and create a ton of content for you that can be repurposed into anything from blog posts to Instagram reels.
7. Optimise Your Checkout
When was the last time you went through the checkout process of your store? Revisit this often, especially before the holiday season. You might want to adjust some of the settings, update your logo, or add new payment options. A smooth checkout process is essential for your conversion rates.
8. Revise Your Policies
Check your policies for anything you need to update, from shipping times, rates and cut-off times to returns and refunds to protect your business and best serve your customers. Consider offering free shipping. It is strongly recommended that you get a lawyer to go through your policies as they are legal documents, and remember that you must obey the consumer laws of your country.
9. Offer Gift Cards And Gift Wrapping
These two options are important all year round, but especially during Christmas shopping. Gift cards are available on most e-commerce platforms and are easy to set up. It is money in advance for you, and the recipient is likely to spend more than the card’s value. Gift wrapping can be offered free of charge or at an additional fee. The idea is to make the entire shopping experience as convenient as possible.
10. Don't Forget About Customer Service!
With an increase in website visitors and sales, you are sure to experience more demand for customer service. Having a live chat available, canned responses ready to go, and an updated FAQs page goes a long way, but you may also need to consider hiring casual staff to help you with the increased demand.
Now if that list seems a little overwhelming, you're not alone! The good thing is, we are here to help. Let us assist you in getting your store ready for Christmas.