Best Ways to Prepare Your Website for the 2020 Holiday Season

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Best Ways to Prepare Your Website for the 2020 Holiday Season 

 As we head into the holiday season, life continues to feel very different for consumers and businesses. The pandemic had impacted everything from consumer buying habits to where employees work. 

Some of the impacts 2020 seen include many large retailers going out of business or closing their anchor mall stores. JC Penney, GNC, and Pier 1 are just a few that have filed for bankruptcy.

On the positive side are changes in consumer buying behavior for many other types of industries. For example, food and grocery delivery are booming. Restaurant delivery service DoorDash saw a 110% sales increase between January and May 2020. 

E-commerce is expected to see a huge surge this year. People locked down at home or just staying inside to stay safe have already caused e-commerce to grow 71% in Q2 of 2020, as compared to the same period last year.  

It is predicted that as much as 30% of all global retail sales will be made through e-commerce this holiday season.  

Taking a cue from those e-commerce statistics, it’s safe to expect a lot of the holiday season shopping and other activities to happen online, which means a key to being prepared is to pay attention to your website and online experience. 

Whether your business sells products or services or is B2C or B2B, there is likely to be an online element to how you do business. 

For retailers, the need for a great e-commerce site is obvious. If you provide heavy equipment or a professional service, your website is likely a big part of how people find you. 

The holiday season also coincides with companies looking for year-end purchases of equipment and technology for tax deductions before the end of the year. Having your website ready to show off your products and services is important. 

Here are several tips for preparing your website to take advantage of e-commerce visitors and capture new leads. 

Test & Update Your Web Visitor Experience 

Consider user experience. What type of experience do users have when visiting your website? Is it simple to navigate and find what they need? Is your site ADA compliant and easy for people with disabilities to use? Is the site design attractive? 

89% of businesses expect to compete on customer experience because it is one of the determining factors for consumers when choosing whether to buy or to click the “back” button on their browser instead. 

Go through your website as a visitor and see how the experience is to: 

  • Navigate. 
  • Purchase.  
  • Edit a product when in the cart. 
  • Contact your company (is there a live chat?). 

Resolve any sticking points to make user experience on your site efficient and easy. 

Review Your Site Mechanics (Plugins, Speed, etc.) 

If you have three times as many site visitors as usual over the holiday season will your site crash? You need to review the mechanics of how your site operates now and prepare it so it does not go down or get hacked just as your visitor count increases. 

When websites go down, companies not only lose revenue and visitors, but they can also take a hit in their search rankings as well. According to Shopping Cart Elite, a website outage of six hours can cause a 30% drop in search rankings, which may not revert back for 30-60 days. 

Get your site ready by: 

  • Updating all plugins. 
  • Checking your bandwidth limits. 
  • Reviewing and optimizing your site speed. 
  • Ensuring your SSL certificate and other security precautions are up to date. 
  • Making any large theme or cart updates before the holiday season.  

Put Email Marketing and Cart Alerts in Place 

Now is the time to plan digital marketing campaigns to drive people to your site. If you have holiday sales, get the graphics and emails ready to go now. If you sell services, then you can take advantage of people having more time to do research during holiday time-off.  If you have an online cart, a “must-have” is a plugin that allows you to track cart abandonments and email those people with a link to finish the checkout process. 

Add or Optimize Site Search 

If someone cannot get to a product they need in a few clicks, frustration leads users to leave your site and go somewhere else. It is important to make it as easy as possible for people to find what they are looking for on your website, which you can do by adding a site search feature. 

If you have a search feature, test it. Make sure it is returning relevant results that take a visitor directly to a product or service page. Your search result will also increase engagement if you add a visual element (e.g., product photo). 

Make Your Shopping Cart Easy to Use 

The checkout process on your website not only needs to be visually appealing, but it should also be easy to use.  

Enable a “guest checkout” capability. Do not make people sign up for an account with a name/password to complete the process or you may lose sales. You will still have all their pertinent details from the order itself. 

Consider things like: 

  • Payment methods (should you add PayPal?). 
  • One-page checkout (to reduce the chance of abandonment). 
  • Automated tracking notice. 

Get Help Preparing Your Website for the Holiday Season 

 Twin State Technical Services offers multiple website optimization services, including a website accessibility audit. 

 Contact us today for a consultation. Call 563-441-1504 or contact us online. 

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