Season’s Greetings are always early for online store owners. It’s October now and already high time for you to have got your reindeer’s in the harness. In 2015 online sales crossed $70 billion, in the US alone, of which 17% was through mobile shopping.
Experts predict that sales will continue to increase this year as well with online sales expected to reach $98 billion.
If you are an online store owner this is certainly good news. In fact, it’s beyond good. No time like the present, as they say, to make hay. Christmas is just over two months from now, and you need to start planning your strategy now (if you haven’t done so already).
Believe me when I say that there is no such thing as too much planning. In fact, you will have to plan each component of your operations thoroughly – right from the website redesign, to the inventory, to the promotions, to the shipping.
Every tiny detail will need to be scrutinized to ensure that you get through the holiday season with minimum pain and maximum gain.
In this post, we’ll look at what is perhaps the most important thing for an online store, and what also is equally likely to get pushed out of sight as you fine tune logistics – your website’s redesign for the festive season.
That’s right, for the holiday season, you will need to decorate your online store just as you would your brick-and-mortar establishment.
While some of the redesign elements revolve around the look and feel, functionality is equally important. Functionality is where WooCommerce online store will be a real advantage.
Since you will be running ragged getting all the offline stuff in place, here’s a handy checklist for you to refer for your online makeover as you gear up for sales in the holiday season.
1. Do plenty of research
You will have to look at people’s past shopping trends during the holiday period to understand when people start buying, what they are likely to buy, how much they are likely to spend and why their Christmas spending may differ from other holidays.
This will help you plan your inventory and your sales period. For example if you have customers in Canada or the UK then Boxing Day Offers would also feature on your website.
2. Plan the layout of the holiday sales website early
Make sure you know how and what you are going to display when your holiday sales start. This is similar to window dressing and critical to draw the site visitor in.
How your merchandise is displayed (the photographs, the accompanying price and discount information) can go a long way in engaging people to remain on your website long enough to make purchases.
3. Make sure your website is responsive
The mobile shopping segment accounted for $11 billion in online sales in the US in 2015. This is a growing segment and you don’t want to miss out on sales because your website is only desktop friendly.
Get a responsive website today. It’s not just for the holidays but for all your mobile customers to access your store at any time in any season.
4. Landing Pages
Make sure that you have landing pages on your website for all your promotions and sales. Create landing pages for your ads and your email campaigns as well.
If buyers get special offers on other purchases make separate pages for those as well. Having separate landing pages will help in boosting conversion rates for your online store.
5. Display all relevant information early
Whatever information your customers need to know about your offers and sales, make sure it goes up well in-time for the actual sales days.
Make sure the information is clearly visible not only in your promotion campaigns but also on your website. Post all promotion deadlines clearly and remember to mention the days your store will be closed or when customer service won’t be available.
Discounts and promotions must be displayed up front. Make sure that as soon as the customer lands on your website, the discounts and promotional offers catch their attention.
Even a simple banner displaying various products with discounts clearly marked can increase the chances of the customer making the purchase. Here are some tactics to increase customer life time value and loyalty.
6. Keep your website error-free
Holiday shoppers are less forgiving about technical errors on your website than when they are shopping in the off-season. The reasons are simple. They are trying to make the best of deals and want services quickly.
Ensure that your website isn’t slow, that the order pages load quickly, the shopping carts work without error and that the checkout module has no hang-ups!
Enhance holiday purchase experience with WooCommerce
7. Coupons, Discounts and Promotions
Coupons are the biggest influencing factor for people to buy holiday gifts. WooCommerce has plenty of extensions that you can take advantage of. Something like Smart Coupons which shows available coupons right on the shopping cart makes it that much easier for a customer to decide which ones they will apply to what.
Coupons as gifts: Make sure to make it easy for customers to purchase coupons as gifts. Make sure that they are able to send the gift coupons through email and that when the coupon is applied there are no glitches. You don’t want your customer’s friends and family having to pay for the gift because of an error at your end. You will lose your customer and future customers as well.
WooCommerce has coupon extensions that make coupon management automatic and so much simpler for you and the customer. Automatic discount rules and even automatic features that tell customers when they have reached their discount levels help to make the buying experience all the more richer for your customers.
8. Get the right plug-ins
Plug-ins are small programs that can add so much value to your website. For example, a countdown clock that adds to the excitement of the holiday. You could add plug-ins that make available different kinds of shipping options just for the holiday sale. There are plenty of options available online. Make sure to take advantage of all the ones that are suitable for your particular sale.
9. Give your customers a range of shipping options
Make use of WooCommerce extensions like Ship to Multiple Addresses and Shipment tracking. The former makes perfect sense since people may want to send the same item to various relatives around the country or even abroad. Instead of having to go back and forth to place multiple orders, help them to simply multiply their cart by choosing the option to ship to multiple places.
Tracking shipments is always a necessity, more so when customers want to ensure that their loved ones receive their gifts. Make it easy for them to receive shipment information in their emails so they can always be updated on the go.
10. Make sure to track the shopping carts
Holiday shopping is a time when you might see carts filling up and then being abandoned. It could be that the customer changed their mind or there could be a problem with checkout. If it is the latter, you need to get it resolved quickly or risk losing customers. Here is some of the WooCommerce extensions to power up your website.
11. Get on social media
Statistics show that people post complaints on social media and more people expect to have their complaints resolved within the hour.
If you don’t have social media channels already, this may be a great time to get on board. If you are already active, then make sure to track your social media channels really closely during this time.
Even something as simple as a blog post that tells customers how to access customer support is beneficial in boosting sales.
Better yet, get in social media buttons on to your website, during the checkout process using the WooCommerce Social Checkout option and even allow people to login and make purchases from their social media accounts using the WooCommerce Social Login option.
Integrating social media to your website in this manner does quite a few things:
- Makes an easy and secure experience for your customers
- Enables customers to share their shopping experience as they shop
12. Easy returns
Make it easy for customers to return or exchange goods. A single-page RMA management system like WooCommerce’s Returns and Warranty Requests helps you ease the overheads of returned goods. Customers themselves manage the whole process which leaves you the time to ensure that the goods come back into inventory and are available for purchase by other customers.
If you are looking for a holiday re-cheering of your website, an expert in WooCommerce development could be the best option for you to get all these and more enhancements in place.
If you are thinking about cost, it is highly unlikely that you won’t recover it over the course of the sale. What’s more, these enhancements will be beneficial to your customers (both existing and potential) regardless of the season. Surely, it is money’s worth?