How to Prepare Your Online Store for Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday season is a time when online buyers are high in spirits and turn to online websites to find something to buy. In 2016, online sales on Holiday season were increased by 17 percent year-on-year to $80.2 billion. This happens because buyers sit on their money they saved throughout the year. They want to spend this money if they are offered a good deal.

The festival of Halloween kick-starts a shopping extravaganza for which online shoppers wait for the whole year. But if you have missed the Halloween, there’s still ample opportunity left for you. According to a data, 75% of the online buyers start shopping only after Halloween.

Online shopping has come a long way in the last 10 years. “Billion dollar day”, which once used to be a rare phenomenon, has become a new normal. In 2016, we saw 13 days exceeding $1billion mark in online spending. And the two days which far exceeded the mark were Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The holiday season can increase your website visits many times and thus, it is important to equip your website to handle this traffic in a better way – because only then, you will be able to take a share of this huge online shopping market. So what are the steps that you should need to make sure your website is well-equipped for this year’s holiday season?

Tips to prepare your online store for Holiday season

1. Improve loading speed

The rise in volume can be a boon or a bane, depending on your level of preparedness of your eCommerce store. If your website is not equipped for handling large traffic, it will result in slow loading speeds and increased server downtimes.

This will give a bad customer-experience which will be detrimental to your website.

CSS files merging and minification can be applied to your online store which will improve its speed. You can do this by navigating to store>settings>Configuration>Advanced>Developer>CSS Settings. Choose “Yes” on both Merge and Minify options.

Another easy way to increase your website load speed is by leveraging browser caching mechanism. This will store your website’s CSS and JavaScript thereby, making it quicker to load the pages.

2. Customization and festive look

No matter what you sell in your online store, it is always possible to give it a refreshing festive look. Add a few visual components to make your website reflect the true spirit of the festival. You can consider hiring a web designer, either from a designing company or a freelancer to do the job.

You can use tinsel and flashing lights to decorate your eCommerce store. Use graphic designs, and small effects such as, falling snow effect or beautiful snowflakes to indicate it is the winter and holidays are just around the corner. If you want to keep it simple, redesigning your logo is a subtle way to say it to your users that you too are equally excited about the festival.

Experiment with these things and grab the attention of your customers by using them creatively.

Create a special email template for each holiday and offer special discounts to them. Customers always expect a discount on festivals. While you take these orders, remember that delivery dates are of utmost importance.

3. Create a holiday campaign and promote it

Customers expect a good deal from your website on holiday season. If you don’t offer them special promotions and discounts, they will be disappointed. Do not make these discounts complicated to apply. Make sure that it is easy to comprehend for your customers.

Another thing that is equally important is, promoting your campaign. Share, tweet, and post your promotional offers so that your users know that you are aware of such offers. If you think offering them discounts will undervalue your product, try providing free shipping or additional freebies with your product.

4. eCommerce SEO

When you do all or a few of the above steps, you need customers to visit your website. To accomplish this, you need your website to rank high in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). And for this, you need SEO for your website.

SEO includes taking a number of measures such that your web pages are easily comprehended by Google. These measures are called on-page SEO techniques. These techniques can greatly improve a website’s Google rankings.

Another thing that you can do to improve your image, as well as, SERP ranks is, writing blogs. If you write relevant blogs for Halloween and subtly pitch your product in the article, that will be of great help to you. There are many Halloween related article on the internet, just take ideas from there for your product and create your own content. You can show all your creativity in creating such content and make your target customers like and share those contents.

5. Upgrade your system

To make sure your eCommerce website is secure and fast, it is important o keep your platform updated. Also, if you don’t have the newest version of your eCommerce platform, this is the right time you get it done. There is a host of reasons why an upgrade is very important, namely to increase page speed and website security.

Newer versions of any e-commerce platform, no matter which one you use, will enable your website to perform better than its previous versions.

Another important part of your business is ERP. Today, ERP software has become an important part of the functioning of an e-commerce company. Many e-commerce businesses use one or the other ERP software to address their business management needs. The Application Programming Interface (API) of major platforms is very flexible and it is easy to integrate any ERP solution with them.

ERP integration will make the communication between ERP software and ecommerce platforms automatic and efficient. This will save your time also which is much required for the festive season and you will be more focused on other marketing activities.

You must hire a certified ecommerce development company to make these changes to your system.

6. Payment options and return policies

Festival is a great time to consider having an additional payment option for your store. If you only accept Visa and MasterCard, it will be beneficial if you add a few more payment options like PayPal. By doing this you will see a sudden rise in your conversion rate.

If you are planning to offer holiday season discounts, you will need to carve out new return policies too, just to accommodate for returns done on these discounted items. Some stores offer very liberal return policies, while others do not. You need to consider the impact your return policy will have on your sales and your profits. Based on these considerations you should decide which move will be the best for you.

The holiday season is right here, but don’t worry! These things won’t take more than 3 to 4 days to accomplish. If you don’t have an expertise in any of these, it is highly recommended that you hire a leading Magento development services provider company to give you end to end solutions. And Voila! Your online store will be Holiday-Ready!

How can i-Verve help?

i-Verve is an eCommerce development company which has developed many eCommerce websites, extensions and integrations for major e-commerce platforms. It has a team of Certified Magento Developers who have the experience of working for thousands of e-commerce development projects.