Can Festive Updates To Your E-Commerce Website Really Increase Sales?
With Christmas fast approaching you will soon begin to see more and more websites getting into the festive spirit of Christmas, great isn't it! Whether or not you're in the Christmas spirit you cannot hide the fact that in the back of your mind you're thinking about Christmas presents. Too early or not, you can’t help trying to be 'organised' this year, whilst trying to bag yourself some bargains at the same time. In this article I will be discussing whether or not it is worth making Christmas updates to your e-commerce website and just how rewarding it can be. I will also mention some points that you should be aware of, and what not to do in the run-up to Christmas.
Lets get started...
What Can Be Updated?
If you are looking at making updates to your website then you firstly need to make sure you have access to your website or at least get in touch with your website provider. They will be able to make updates for you, there may be a cost involved with this depending on what contact you have agreed with them.
Lets get started by looking at what exactly you can update on your e-commerce website...
Add a festive feel
Such a simple but effective update which can make a big difference. This doesn't have to be a whole new website design around Christmas, it can just be some small changes. Adding Christmas banners, buttons and images can all help. It is also important that you don't just spend all your focus on the Homepage, make sure you spread the festive feel around your site to all other internal pages. Keeping Christmas in the mindset of the customer can certainly help increase sales as they start thinking about potential Christmas gift ideas.
Offer Limited Eye Catching Offers
Everyone loves a limited offer or deal right? Then why not offer one yourself on your website! Having a limited offer makes the customer feel that this is a once in a lifetime offer, that if they don't buy today then they will miss their chance and the offer will be gone. It creates a sense of urgency and can draw in some impulse buys. Having a great deal can draw your customers into looking around the rest of your site too and a lot of the time they will see other items they like, and then not only buy the limited offer item, but other items too.
Offering delivery until Christmas Eve? Then show it!
No matter who your customers are you will always get the last minute buyers for Christmas who leave it all until the last minute. Offering delivery until Christmas Eve can be a great offer within itself, as it means unorganised customers have the chance to order and buy from you. It is no good however just mentioning this on your delivery information page, you need to include this on your Homepage. In the banner works great, but if you can get it big and bold in the header then no matter what page the customer is on, they will always see this. Another great way to increase sales.
Show your site is trusted, Secure and Accepts all Major Payments
More and more people are taking to the internet to shop and online security is forever becoming a bigger topic in discussion. As we all know recently some big companies have been targeted and subsequently hacked, this is prompting consumers to be more wary when buying online. This means it is essential that you get all the latest SSL and TLS security certificates for your site. More people are understanding how to quickly check if a site is secure, and all it takes is for the customer to look at the address bar and see if the green padlock is there or not. If it is then great, your customer will certainly feel more comfortable ordering off your site, but if there is no green padlock on your site then you need to get it sorted straight away!
Showing that you accept all major payments is also a great item to display on your website. It allows the customer to see instantly if they will be able to buy from your website using the card they have or even their Paypal account. To show this all you need to add are the payment icons, once added this is a great item to tick off your checklist.
Is There Anything To Avoid/Check?
Now we've looked as what you can do to your website, now lets look at what you should stay away from and be aware of.
No Fancy New Features
One of the biggest mistakes you can make this Christmas is opting for new development work to be carried out on your website which could potentially cause problems. You may want an all singing all dancing feature for Christmas on your site, but you need to think of the risks associated with this. With any development work there is always a risk that it could have a knock on affect and disable something else on you site. As Christmas is one of the busiest times for any e-commerce website, you want to avoid the risk of your website not working correctly.
Check your site speed
No one likes waiting for a slow site to load, right? So make sure your website is fast off the mark, you don't want to give any customer an excuse to leave your site and go else where. You can run online site speed checks to see how fast your website is. You can also talk to your website provider and get them to do a test of the speed, and then if anything needs fixing or updating they can do this for you. It is reported that on average it only takes around 3 seconds for a user to click off and go somewhere else if a web page is not fully loaded. It is always important that you check your website speed, but at Christmas it is especially important! If you're struggling to think of ideas on how to reduce the load speed of your website here is a great article - How to Reduce Website Load Speed - Five Tips to Speed Up Your Site
Check What Your Site Can Handle
There is no doubt about it, the closer Christmas gets, the more traffic your website will receive. This is a key point when checking your site, as you need to know how much traffic your site can handle before crashing. An article we posted last year for Black Friday showed even the big dogs in the e-commerce world failed at this - Black Friday Blunders. This article explained that Argos had gotten it wrong, and even their website couldn't cope with the mass number of visitors. The best way to approach this is to contact your website provider and ask them to do a review of your site and get them to check how much traffic your site can handle. Once they report back you will have a much clearer idea of whether they need to do work on it or not.
Check Your site on ALL devices
It is now more important than ever to have a fully responsive website. In terms of ranking on the different search engines it is crucial to have one, but in terms of sales from your website it is even more important! Reports clearly show that the usage of mobile devices is increasing at a rapid rate and users want a quick, easy site to navigate around. If your website is not responsive at all then you desperately need to get it sorted out! The best way to check this is to check your website on a mobile device, if your site looks exactly the same on a mobile device as it does on a computer and you have to zoom a lot, then your site is not responsive. If your site is responsive on all devices then this is perfect, as it means you are providing a great customer experience.
There is no doubt about it, if you can optimise and update your e-commerce website for Christmas then you're giving your business every chance of having a successful Christmas sales period. Making seasonal updates doesn't just stop at Christmas, if you're clever about it you can get the most out of every holiday in the year! Just think of your e-commerce website as your online shop, use the same principles as you would in your actual store, get in the spirit of every holiday!