12 10 2015

Online Retail Website Optimization for the Holidays

12 10 2015

5 Ways Online Retailers Can Optimize Their Websites For The Holidays

Even if you’ve already spent money finalizing your website and getting everything perfectly designed, as a small business owner, you should know now is a great time to take advantage of using an alternative lending option to optimize your website. With more customers now turning to the Internet instead of brick-and-mortar stores for all of their holiday shopping needs, retailers and other small businesses must be ready to pivot and tailor their sites for these people. Indeed, the closer we get to the holidays, the more shoppers will not only be seeking out the best deals, but they’ll be expecting them.

While many e-tailers move into a code freeze for this time of the year, which reduces the chance for any errors that might lead to site downtime or other problems surrounding the online shopping experience, there are still ways to tweak and customize the page to boost traffic and sales. Here are five ways small business owners can optimize their website to get the most visibility and best responses from shoppers:

  1. Links, links, links
    When a customer reaches your website, it’s up to you to direct the traffic to your best items. You can accomplish this by nudging customers with links to your most appropriate, in-stock items for the holidays. Shoppers can be overwhelmed when they land on a page with too many images and links. This also goes for the top-of-page banner, which companies can use to hype sales, promotions and or coupon codes. Directing where the customers’ eyes land and then helping them find the pages you want them to find will go a long way to keeping the web traffic bustling.
  1. Decorate it
    While you might have spent countless hours ensuring the website has the perfect graphics and images that best represent your company and brand, consider shaking it up for the holidays. Jazz up the display with festive imagery that reminds customers of the time of the year. Updating the website for the season indicates to shoppers that there is someone on the other end of the page, which humanizes an otherwise impersonal interaction.
  1. Boost performance
    As Business.com noted, a company’s website barely has three seconds to engage the end user after he or she lands on the page. This means the web page needs to load quickly and effortlessly or else potential customers will surf away to a new, better performing site. If your site is slow to load, consider switching to a better quality and more dependable web-hosting service, or look into using a content delivery network (CDN) which will cache static files, thereby speeding up the load time for the site.
  1. Offer specials
    As online retailers upend traditional brick-and-mortar stores, these e-tailers can take a page from older business models and offer special accommodations. For instance, providing a gift wrapping option for goods purchased on your site is a good way to entice shoppers into following through with their order. While providing free gift wrapping is always sure to attract customers, even offering the option with a nominal fee of a few dollars can go a long way to convincing shoppers to click the check-out button, Practical Ecommerce reported.
  1. Display the details
    The closer we get toward Christmas, the more of a hurry shoppers will be in, and the less likely they’re going to spend any time hunting through your website looking for answers. Because of this, you should ensure all pertinent information is front and center on the website to make it easy for customers. Information like your return policy, customer service number and shipping cut-off times are all crucial to creating an easy-to-use and intuitive shopping experience.

For ecommerce retailers looking to upgrade their website for the holidays and potentially implement some of these suggestions, the costs may be prohibitive, especially with all the other costs around the holiday shopping season. IT equipment financing or even a short term business loan can help get your business the capital it needs to prepare your website for the holiday season.

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