5 Essentials Tips to Prepare Your eCommerce Store for the Holidays

Holidays are just around the corner and some people are already starting their holiday shopping. Due to the global pandemic, most people will turn to eCommerce stores for their holiday shopping needs.

While a lot of people shop for gifts online during the holidays, it’s expected that this year all eCommerce stores will see a boom of holiday shoppers. There’s no doubt that this holiday season will be profitable for online stores all over the world.

However, before you can rake in all of that extra profit, you need to properly prepare your store for the holidays.

Evaluate your website’s performance

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Website scalability and stability is always important, but when you’re expecting a surge in traffic, you need to test your website’s performance with extra care. Making sure your infrastructure can handle a large number of visitors and transactions should be your priority for this holiday season.

You can test your infrastructure by contacting your technology provider and asking them to perform load testing. Other things you need to test include:

  • Website speed. If your website speed for both the desktop and mobile website isn’t optimal, nobody will wait for your site to load. Even a one-second delay will reduce conversions by 7%, so you need to test your website’s speed and improve it if necessary.
  • Third-party integrations. If you use any third-party integrations, test them to see if they’re up to date and if they can handle the load. Don’t make the mistake of adding any new integrations last minute, as this could slow down your website or some aspects of your flow.
  • Website navigation. Complicated and confusing navigation will turn away a lot of holiday shoppers, so you need to go through your navigation and see if it enables simple shopping. If your main navigation doesn’t include specific products and you don’t use internal search, fix both of those issues.
Use the right SEO tactics

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As much as 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine and that’s why it’s essential to follow SEO trends and have a great optimization tactic if you want to get a high-ranking position on Google.

However, if you’re relying on your regular SEO strategy for the holidays, you will be very disappointed with the results. People will be searching for completely different terms during their holiday shopping sprees, and you need to be prepared for that.

There are a few things you can do:

  • Perform keyword research. Take a look at last year’s trends to determine which keywords were popular. Even though it’s impossible to predict what people will search for this year, knowing last year’s keyword trends will make it easier for you to prepare.
  • Create holiday landing pages. Your landing pages need to be appealing, easy to navigate, and if possible, show the holiday spirit that will get your customers in a good holiday mood. You can also use holiday-related keywords on your landing pages to boost SEO.
  • Hire an SEO professional. As there are a lot of things you need to do in preparation for the holidays and SEO takes a lot of time and effort, it would be best to hire SEO services for eCommerce. This may cost some money, but it will save your time and effort significantly.
Advertise on social media

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There are many different channels you can use for your marketing campaigns. While it’s important to utilize as many of them as possible, you need to pay attention to the channel that’s proven to have the largest influence on customers, and that’s social media.

With the right social media marketing campaign, you can ensure a surge of holiday shoppers since 74% of consumers make purchasing decisions using social media. One of the best ways to capture your follower’s attention on social media during the holiday season is to come up with a unique and creative campaign.

Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Decorate your social media profiles. Just like your landing pages, your social media profiles need to indicate the holiday season. Update your cover photo and profile picture and use holiday-themed background colors, static images, and animated GIFs in your posts.
  • Be generous with your customers. To show your holiday spirit, you can give out special holiday discounts or organize contests on your social media for prizes and gifts.
  • Post holiday-themed content. Encourage communication between your followers by posting content related to the approaching holidays.
  • Use holiday hashtag. One of the best ways you can go viral and attract new people to your social media pages is by using a special holiday hashtag. Just make sure to think of a new hashtag that nobody has used in the past.
  • If you want to take your social media marketing to the next level during the holidays, you should consider using the best social media tools. This will enhance your marketing campaign since software tools are something you can’t go without in the world of marketing.

    Optimize your checkout page

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    Cart abandonment is a big issue that happens because of many different reasons, including a confusing and frustrating checkout process. You need to provide your customers with a seamless checkout experience, and you can do that by applying the following tips:

    • Offer a single page checkout. Place all of your checkout-related forms on one page to speed up the process and add to the overall user experience of your website.
    • Enable guest checkouts. If you require your users to register before completing a purchase, you will interrupt the checkout process and force people to commit to something they don’t want to. This will ultimately cause a lot of frustration and cart abandonment.
    • Provide several payment options. Customers love the convenience of online shopping, but if you offer only one or two payment methods at checkout, you take away that convenience from them. Therefore, it would be wise to include as many secure payment options as possible so everyone can pay with their preferred method.
    Provide amazing customer support

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    Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

    Great and dedicated customer support is important year-round, but it’s especially important during the holidays because that is when your customer support team will have more work than ever before. Customers will be contacting your support all the time with questions, concerns, and sometimes complaints.

    Make sure to always provide fast, clear, and concise support and be available on as many communication channels as possible such as phone, live chat, social media, and email.

    It’s important to note that the holidays can be a stressful time for you and your customers. But even if an irate customer contacts your support, it’s your job to solve their issue.

    Before the holiday rush, talk to your customer support team and go through some standard phrases and replies as well as the best ways to handle an upset customer. Always be understanding and empathic toward your customers and avoid using negative words.

    Final thoughts

    This year’s holiday season will be busier than ever before for eCommerce retailers. And while more customers mean more profit, it also means more work and more stress.

    But if you take the time to prepare your eCommerce store for the holidays, you won’t have to worry about anything. As long as you have a great way to attract people to your store and ensure your website is prepared for an increase in traffic, this holiday season will be amazing for you.

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