The holiday season is just about here which means more shoppers than ever before. According to the National Retail Federation, for the first time more than half of U.S. consumers will shop online this holiday season… and not just on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We all know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest shopping days of the year, however recent studies show that consumers are not content to wait for deals and offers until the day after Thanksgiving. One indication of this is the recent report for email service provider Responsys, Inc. who reported that 80% of major retailers will send e-mail marketing messages to consumers on Thanksgiving Day this year, up from 76% last year, 60% in 2010 and 45% in 2009. With that said, if you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to give your site an extra boost to prepare for the holiday shopping season.
Larry Kavanagh, Chief E-commerce Strategy Officer at Kalio, suggests the following simple and effective Tips to help prepare your site before, during, and after Black Friday.
Easy to Implement Tips:
- Do a “Black Friday preview” promotion. As noted above, the selling season is starting earlier and earlier. Get your first “black Friday” promotion out at least a week in advance.
- Promote the 12 days of Christmas! Promote a ‘product of the day’ via an email campaign or Facebook posts. Send your first email/post on the afternoon of Thanksgiving! An email a day sounds like a lot, but it can pay off if you feature a different product/offer every day.
- Advertise your holiday deals in PPC (Pay Per Click) messaging.
- “Get on the nice list.” Set up a promotion to get email signups from your website and Facebook page right away. The message is “don’t miss out the great deals this holiday season.” Also, don’t forget to “get your friends on the nice list” promotion through email.
- Re-fresh your navigation. For example, emphasize the top selling categories from last holiday. Use the Page Value metric in Google Analytics to find your top performing categories. These categories make great landing pages in email. You can also create new categories, like ‘gifts for men under $50’, for destination shoppers.
- Abandoned cart emails. If you aren’t sending emails to folks who abandoned carts, you should. Shopping from the office is particularly prevalent around holiday time, and abandons happen because the phone rings, the boss stops by, etc. If you are sending out ACEs (abandoned cart emails), put a holiday touch to them and include specific call outs or triggers based around “last day to order using ground”, 2-day, and overnight shipping, and still get their package before the holidays.
- Place trust marks in the right places. You will have shoppers who are new to your site. You can increase conversion of these particular visitors by making them feel safe. Use services such as Optimizely to split test your trust mark location. Good places to place trust marks are next to the add-to-cart button on the Products page or next to the credit card information on the check-out page.
- Include ‘last day for standard and expedited shipping’ messaging on your site, in email, and on Facebook. This is a big deal.
- Fine tune your search. Review the search phrases entered on your site daily starting Black Friday; failed searches go up at this time of year. Your website or site search provider gives you tools to redirect these failed searches to the appropriate product page.
- Look for bloated pages and bloated images. These are the biggest culprits for slowing down site speed. When you add an image to your site through the “art” folder, these are not compressed automatically, unlike our image import routine. Take advantage of free services like www.webpagetest.org to identify large images and find pages with more than 250K of images on them. Adjusting these will give your site speed a big boost!
For more information or if you need help putting these tips into place, please contact our Installed Base Professional Services or Kalio e-commerce consulting services.
Chief eCommerce Strategist