10 Quick Tips to Prepare Your eCommerce Site for the Holiday Season

Published: | By Hanson Cheng

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and festivities. 

They're also a time when many people spend more than they typically do when it comes to online purchases. If you're going to be selling your product online during this season, you must prepare ahead of time so that your site can handle the increased traffic from holiday shoppers.

In this article, we'll go over 10 quick and effective ways to make sure your eCommerce store is ready for the busy season.

Ensuring your eCommerce site is ready for the holiday season.

Here are our top 10 ways to ensure you are ready for the holiday season.

  1. Add a holiday theme to your website
  2. Offer free shipping on all orders over $100
  3. Make sure your site is secure and safe
  4. Create and promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals ahead of time
  5. Send an email newsletter about upcoming sales opportunities
  6. Use social media to announce new promotions, contests, and giveaways every week
  7. Promote discounts through newsletters, emails, Facebook posts, tweets
  8. Participate in special apps and affiliate programs designed for the holidays
  9. Use scarcity and exclusivity to your advantage
  10. Upsell your customers to buy more products


Add a holiday theme to your website

The first thing you'll want to do is go into the design of your site and make sure there's a holiday theme that matches the season. 

You don't have to do anything too fancy here in terms of graphics or images, but it should at least look different than what it normally does.

landing pageImage Credit: http://theonlineadvertisingguide.com

This means that your website should have a holiday-themed background, and festive images related to the holiday you're celebrating. If it’s Christmas time, then it's good for your site to have stockings hung up, snowflakes falling on the side of the screen, etc.

This simple change will do a lot to increase confidence in your site among customers who are looking at it from their desktops, phones, and tablets. This is because they'll feel that you're an established business with a well-put-together eCommerce store that also responds to the different festivities that are going on. 

Having a holiday theme also applies to any other marketing channels you use to drive traffic to your Shopify or any eCommerce website. For example, if you host a podcast as a way to get people to check out the products that you offer, then the topics you discuss could also be related to the holiday being celebrated.

The more confidence people have in your site before shopping, the better the final outcome will be for everyone involved.

Offer free shipping on all orders over $100

One of the best ways to increase your sales during this time is to offer free shipping. If you don't already, it's a great idea to start implementing this strategy for people who purchase more than a certain dollar amount.

Alternatively, you could also offer expedited shipping, such as next-day or 2nd-day air, to make sure they get it in time for Christmas (or whichever holiday you are celebrating). 

Also, it's easy to offer shipping discounts on bulk orders, so you could also consider that. Doing this will give your site a huge boost in sales for the holidays and allow it to continue being profitable after they're over. 

Make sure your site is secure and safe

You don't want people to put their personal information into your website during the holidays if you don't have a safe SSL certificate installed. If you haven't already done so, make sure that you add an SSL certificate to your eCommerce store before the holiday season starts.

not secure vs secureImage Credit: http://cwatch.comodo.com

Also, make sure your site is hosted on a server that can handle the additional traffic and load. If it isn't, you could run into browser compatibility issues or slow loading speeds, which will cause people to leave your website before they even get a chance to look around. Having a secure site is a great way to decrease bounce rates and get people to stay on your site longer.

All of this inspires trust from eCommerce customers so they feel more secure when they purchase from your website.

Create and promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals ahead of time 

One of the biggest shopping days of the year is Black Friday, which takes place right after Thanksgiving each year. Using Facebook ads, Google Adwords, or other promotional activities can help drive traffic to your site so that you can capture some additional business on this day alone. 

Black Friday & Cyber MondayImage Credit: http://cwatch.comodo.com

Another big sale day that occurs each year is Cyber Monday. Promoting your deals through newsletters, emails, and social media posts can be a great way to bring people to your site and increase sales.

Send an email newsletter about upcoming sales opportunities

You can create promotional discounts that specifically occur during this time of year and then send out an email newsletter to all of the previous customers who are subscribed to your mailing list. Doing so will help spread awareness about what types of deals you're offering for this holiday season.

In addition, sending a newsletter just once or twice a month with relevant content that relates to the holidays can get people excited for the upcoming season as well. This will keep them coming back to your site throughout the year, which can lead to increased sales in future seasons.

Whether you are thinking about becoming a reseller or you simply sell something that you produce, an email newsletter will work wonders when it comes to getting people to come to your website and buy the products that you are selling.

Use social media to announce new promotions, contests, or giveaways every week

Social media is a great way to get people talking about your website and get them excited about what you have going on during the holiday season. 

If you're hosting a contest on Facebook or Twitter, make sure that you announce it ahead of time so that people can begin telling their friends about it and increase awareness before the big day comes.

Using social media is a great way to build up your personal brand, making sure that people remember who you are and what you sell when it comes time for them to buy holiday-related products.

Promote discounts through newsletters, emails, Facebook posts, tweets

For the weeks leading up to the holiday season, it's important that you promote the deals that will be coming up very soon.

This can include sending out an email newsletter with a discount code, creating posts on social media that announce deals, and more. Getting people excited about what's coming ahead of time can help them plan their purchases and be ready when the holiday season starts.

Participate in special apps or affiliate programs designed for the holidays

Participate in special apps or affiliate programs that are designed to give you a boost during this busy time of year. This means more exposure and traffic, so if your business has a high enough profit margin, it may benefit you to pay for this service. 

Some of these programs offer thousands of products from various marketers across the web with competitive pricing while offering high commission rates, paid straight to your wallet.

Use scarcity and exclusivity to your advantage

Humans want things that are about to run out and that will be exclusive to them. Use these social dynamics to your advantage.

Make sure that your deals are available for a limited time only to increase the value and motivate customers into purchasing sooner rather than later.

Alternatively, you can set up flash sales where you sell certain products at a steep discount for just a few hours to create hype. Promoting these flash sales in newsletters and on social media can entice people to come back and make a purchase.

Using a countdown timer can also help reduce shopping cart abandonment and goes along well with using human biases when it comes to making a buying decision.

Upsell your customers to buy more products

This works best if you offer a recurring subscription service, like a monthly box of products. You can create discounts or offers at the beginning of the holiday season to entice people to make the first purchase, then on future orders they will be reminded of this discount and offered it again so that they'll have an incentive to buy more.

shopping cart and an upward chartImage Credit: http://shopify.com

Upselling also works well if you offer a product that compliments one of the products in their order already.

For example, if they are trying to purchase a new pair of sneakers, you could also offer them extra laces at an upsell price during checkout.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, the holidays are a great time to boost your website's traffic and sales.

Whether you’re starting an online business or running an established one, make sure that you're doing everything you can to make the most of this opportunity by implementing these tips.

By doing so, you'll have a better chance at increasing your website's success and revenue during this time of year.

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Author Bio

Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.

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