Holiday season is coming and it’s bringing along inevitable shopping sprees in stores all over the country. But did you know the same happens in ecommerce? Holidays are probably the most profitable time of the year for most online retailers. Surveys show that some retailers make up to 40 percent of their yearly income during the holidays. However, holidays can also bring along a lot of stress if you meet them unprepared.
Standing out in a crowded marketplace as an e-commerce business, that’s not an easy task at all. Every one of your competitors is utilizing a strategy to attract more customers and there are massive sales promotions being announced everywhere you look. But if you follow a few good tips and do proper planning, you can make this holiday season into a great success story for you, and your business.
Even if you have just recently started your e-commerce business, you are surely aware of some important and cost effective investments that you have to make. As an online retailer you just can’t afford to avoid SEO, PPC, conversion optimization, and great e-commerce design and development.
An online retail business can be very demanding, but if you do it well it can be highly profitable as well. While there are many features that can help your business shine, we’re going to take this opportunity to talk about “e-commerce design“. If you want quick results, you should take the time to focus on several improvements related to your e-commerce design. If you are ready to make the best of your website this season, feel free to contact us at any time.
12 tips for an outstanding holiday e-commerce design
You don’t have to apply all of these tips to get great results, in fact even if you apply a third of them, you will see a massive change in results. And hey, if you’re already doing some of these things, the more power to you! But don’t use that as an excuse to procrastinate on the other improvements you can make, starting today.
1. Make sure you have good mobile-optimization
Mobile usage is rapidly growing and people are more likely to do their online shopping through smart phones and tablets than through desktop computers. If you don’t optimize your e-commerce design for mobile usage you are taking a risk in losing many customers this holiday season.
Your mobile e-commerce design has to be consistent with your desktop version. Before the holiday season starts, ensure that the mobile version of your site is fully integrated and functional. You should also check how your mobile site works on a tablet and most popular smartphones. There are online tools to help you simulate different devices, but your best best is to test with an actual physical device.
2. Make a good first impression with your homepage
Try decorating your homepage in some sort of a holiday theme, making for good “holiday e-commerce design”, and then try to add a personal touch. However, make sure that the holiday symbols are visually compatible with your logo and brand colors. For example if it’s Christmas theme, make sure the Santa, the deers or the Christmas lights are actually compatible with your base look and branding. Don’t let the holiday theme prevail over your brand identity.
You can add to the holiday excitement by placing countdowns that will display days left until important holidays. These countdowns will create additional urgency and a call to action for your customers.
Focus your homepage graphics on products that are especially unique or desirable during the holiday season. It doesn’t mean that you have to put direct links to products on the homepage. It is good however to have editorial content on the homepage that conveys your brand and presents how your products can be used.
3. Boost your image through personal recommendations
It’s very hard to build trust with a potential customer in the digital world. Although online shopping is much easier and less time consuming than browsing through countless mall stores, sometimes people find it hard to trust online shops. A majority of online shoppers are searching for objective evaluations of the products or they are planning to purchase.
People put more trust in another customer’s recommendations than in advertisements. Therefore, other people’s online reviews play a big role in the purchasing decision.It’s a very good idea to integrate customer reviews in your site, as well as “like” and “share” buttons for various social media. People put more trust in another customer’s recommendations than in advertisements.
4. Use only high quality product images
In e-commerce, the quality and attractiveness of product images is crucial. While shopping online, customers are making their first impressions based on images. Therefore, the quality of the images you use can incite people to take a closer look at your products and buy them.
Having high quality attractive images doesn’t necessarily mean that they must be taken by an expensive photographer. You only have to make sure that you have quality images with an option for a high level view, as well as close up details and multiple angle shots of the products. You should also pay attention to the consistency of the images on your site to add up to its professional look.
5. Enrich product descriptions
E-commerce product descriptions should be clear and concise, explaining why a given product is the best option for the person reading the description. State the most crucial product details in the first two sentences. People are scanning product descriptions, so it’s good to include a bulleted list of essential specifications.
However, if you want to make the best of your product descriptions you should spice them up with more than just technical specifications. You can put personalized statements for each product or even put a video in the product description to present its benefits, usage, etc. A little effort will add up to the product’s perceived uniqueness.
6. Emphasize the sales
People love discounts and sales. Putting small “sale” icons and information on saving percentages or listing previous price points of a product are of great help. However, adding a whole new “sale” section to your site can draw a lot of attention.
You should give your customers a feeling that they are making the deal of the year by purchasing from your website. Just be careful not to turn your website into a pile of flashing “sale” signs.
7. Think about cross-selling
Create gift packages of related products and put them in a specific, holiday category. You can also add the packages to the existing categories and boost your holiday sales.
Cross-selling can help you increase customer satisfaction and conversion rates. If customers think the product they are viewing isn’t right, you will guide them to more appropriate alternatives.
You will also increase the depth of your product offers as well as average order values.
8. Make the most of gift cards and gift certificates
Make a separate category for gift cards and gift certificates and add it to your home page. It’s good if you can display information on expiration dates on gift cards or certificates and an option to send them via email. You can also offer a service for personalization of gift cards and certificates with an option for entering a gift note.
9. Enhance the search feature
Test the functionality of your site related to searching for specific products. The search option should be user friendly and intuitive so misspellings won’t prevent customers from finding what they’re searching for.
Your customers have to be able to find a product on your website in the shortest time possible. In fact, people love online shopping because they can find a product quickly and then spend their time in evaluating and comparing it to other products. Don’t let a poor search option push your potential customers to competitor websites.
10. Put an accent on safety issues
Internet security is an issue that online buyers always have in mind. You can lose customers if your site looks unsecured. It makes shoppers worry if the site doesn’t clearly state that they can use your e-commerce system without worrying about safety.
In order to provide careless and enjoyable online shopping for your customers, you can highlight your SSL seal. Don’t let your customers hesitate about their data security and let them enjoy every minute on your website instead.
11. Hide out of stock products
Showing off products that are out of stock can lead to a bad customer experience. Seeing a product without having an option to buy it creates a bad psychological association in the customer’s mind about your brand.
Imagine yourself going to a physical store looking at a product that you like very much, but then the salesclerk says that you can’t buy it. The store that doesn’t let you have what you want is not going to make your “favorites stores” list. Make sure that your site has the option to hide a product when it’s out of stock and don’t risk causing bad customer experience.
12. Don’t overdo it
It’s always good to make improvements in the look and functionality of your e-commerce design, but you have to be careful while doing it. If you make drastic changes you can make it harder for your loyal customers to find the things they want.
Don’t let opportunities created by holidays pass you by. As an online retailer you have great advantages since people are trying to avoid crowded stores and malls, and prefer to do their shopping online. Plan ahead, improve your e-commerce design and be prepared to embrace the benefits of your business this holiday season.