5 Ways To Improve Your E-Commerce Website For The Holiday Shopping Season
October 11, 2023 - Cassidy
The 2023 holiday season is quickly approaching, and it’s more crucial than ever that e-commerce websites are prepared to handle the volume of traffic and sales they’ll receive. According to forecasts by eMarketer, overall retail spending will increase 4.5% to $1.3 trillion for the 2023 holiday season, with e-commerce accounting for almost 20% of sales and contributing 48.5% of incremental spending gains.
It’s never too early to start optimizing your e-commerce website. By making a few strategic improvements, you can enhance the website user experience, boost sales, prevent downtime, and much more.
1. Prepare For Increased Website Traffic By Optimizing Website Speed
As holiday shoppers plan their lists and take advantage of sales and promotions, companies want to avoid website outages and slow loading speeds during peak shopping times.
Here are a few tips to help the loading speed of your e-commerce website:
Compress Your Images: Large images can drastically slow the speed of your website down. Using image compression services or tools can reduce the file size to keep your website loading quickly without compromising the quality of the images.
Caching: When a user accesses a website, static files are sent that don’t change between page loads. To enhance browsing speed and conserve bandwidth, web browsers store those files in the user’s computer in a storage location known as the cache.
Use A Reliable Hosting Provider: Website hosting is a critical part of any e-commerce business. Without a reliable hosting provider, your e-commerce store could be hacked. Free website hosting or cheaper cost packages may seem enticing, but you get what you pay for. At Solution Agency, we offer website hosting services that provide the highest security, reliability, support, and performance.
Optimize For Mobile Users: 70% of online shoppers make purchases on their mobile devices. (Tinuiti 2022 Holiday Shopper Study) It’s important to ensure that your e-commerce website is optimized for mobile as well as desktop to avoid losing sales.
2. Streamline The Checkout Process
For many online shoppers, a complicated or long checkout process can cause them to abandon their cart and the checkout process completely. To maximize your brand’s sales and conversions this holiday season, follow these steps to streamline the checkout process:
Provide Users With Checkout Options: Not all customers want to become a rewards member or sign up for an account on your website. They might just like your prices better than competitors and decide to make this single purchase from you. By having a lengthy login process to check out their items, you could deter users from completing a purchase and lead them to a competitor instead. By having a guest checkout option, you provide a quick and easy checkout experience for users.
Provide Multiple Payment Options: Some customers prefer to use PayPal, ApplePay, or other payment methods instead of providing their credit card information. No matter the customer’s reason, having multiple payment options in your checkout process ensures that customers can easily complete their purchases with their preferred payment method.
Save Customer Information: Returning customers who want to earn rewards or loyalty points by purchasing from you will be more likely to sign in before checking out. Returning customers spend, on average, 33% more than new customers. However, if they are in a hurry, by previously allowing them to save their information to use during checkout, they will have a faster and simpler checkout process.
3. Refine Site Navigation & Search Options
During peak shopping times, you want your customers to be able to easily find the products they’re searching for. By using some of these best practices for improving your search and navigation options, you can enhance the overall online customer experience:
Consider Your Search Bar Location: If a user is shopping on your website using a mobile device, you don’t want them to have to readjust their grip or use an uncomfortable position to click on and use your search bar. Consider the best location for both mobile and desktop users when selecting a search bar location.
Provide Filters & Sorting Options In Results: It can be overwhelming for customers after searching for a product to end up on a page with 500+ results. By providing them with filters to adjust the results such as color or size, it can make it much easier to find exactly what they are looking for.
Included Recommended Or Related Products: By providing product recommendations or displaying related products, you can enhance the customer’s experience by showing them more items they might like or a better option than what they were looking at. Doing this also improves the chance of impulse buying from customers, resulting in higher sales and average order value for your business.
4. Improve Your Brand’s Customer Service Experience
Customer inquiries and concerns grow rapidly during the holidays. Without helpful customer service, your brand’s image can become tarnished. This can even mean losing valuable customers and sales. Using some of these customer service offerings can prevent those things from happening:
Live Chat Feature: Some customers are unable to sit on the phone for hours waiting for a customer service representative to help them. By having a live online chat feature, customers can be helped in real-time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Page: FAQs are questions customers commonly ask. These questions might pertain to your return policy, hours, product instructions, and more. Users like short, easy-to-read answers. By implementing keyword-rich FAQs, you will boost your SEO while also avoiding customer confusion.
Regularly Update Holiday Hours: If your company’s customer service is not 24-hour, it’s vital that you have updated holiday customer service hours on your website as well as your Google My Business Profile.
5. Run Audits On Your Site
After making these optimizations to your e-commerce website, the work isn’t over. You should continue monitoring the health of your site throughout the year and more frequently during the holiday season.
The recommended frequency for website audits is four times a year, or once per quarter. Algorithm changes happen more than once a year, so most of the time for larger businesses an annual audit isn’t the best option. By conducting audits quarterly, you can stay up to date on industry trends, necessary website optimizations, errors, and more.
To Wrap It All Up…
No matter the business, product, or service, e-commerce websites should always be evaluated for performance and optimized according to a website audit. During the holiday season, people from all over the world will turn to e-commerce stores to purchase wish list items and special gifts.
If your website is not optimized to handle the increase in traffic, provide the best user experience, and handle complaints or concerns, it could severely impact the success of your business. Following some of the best practices in this guide along with other common e-commerce optimizations can help you avoid losing customers, losing sales, and tarnishing your company’s reputation.