Anil Kaul, Co-Founder and CEO, Absolutdata
The holiday shopping season is here, and according to the National Retail Federation, shoppers are poised to spend up to $682 billion this year. Just as in past years, a growing chunk of that spending spree is expected to take place online.
Is your marketing and communications operation ready for the upcoming online holiday sales blitz? A web presence alone won’t be enough — the competition is getting fiercer every year. The holidays are right around the corner, but here are five tips that can help you refine your approach for the busy season:
- Spruce up your SEO: It’s hugely important to make sure your site’s SEO strategy is effective since page visibility and ranking on Google are all-important for bringing in new customers. Take a moment to review your title tags, meta descriptions, 404 pages and URLs. Also make sure your keyword approach reflects your current product mix, data analysis and retail strategy. The earlier you can get your your SEO in order, the better the results throughout the holiday shopping season.
- Optimize for mobile: Smartphones surpassed computers as the top source of eCommerce traffic last year, so it’s essential to make sure your site is welcoming to customers who are on mobile devices. This is a good time to review your site’s navigation and speed from a mobile perspective. It’s also a great idea to offer one-click purchase options — you’ll get more conversions when you remove as much friction as possible from the buying process, especially for mobile users.
- Provide live chat: When customers are buying holiday gifts, time is of the essence. If they have a question, they need an answer right away, and if you ask them to contact you via email with questions, they may move on to another vendor who can settle their query immediately. Consider adding a live chat option so customers can get answers right away — even if your live chat feature is only operational during busy times like the holiday shopping season.
- Offer more customer convenience: The more ways customers have to find the products they want, the more conversions you’ll make. Voice-based and visual searches are a terrific way to stand out in a crowded marketplace. So are features like online virtual trials for products. Make sure you’ve got a plan in place to manage traffic spikes, high sales volume and expedited shipping requests, and communicate those features to customers.
- Upgrade your email outreach: Customers are bombarded with offers, so it’s important to make sure your message cuts through the clutter. Transactional emails are the most effective type of outreach since they’re linked to a customer trigger — the open and click rates are much higher, and they generate more revenue than other types of email. It’s also a good idea to personalize messages and provide call-to-action buttons, which can raise total sales by an average of 15 percent.
The holiday shopping season is almost here, and many online retailers count on brisk sales during this period to boost their overall profitability. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your retail site is optimized for usability, search and performance. With a highly functional site and a solid strategy to engage online customers, you’ll be retail ready — and prepared to finish strong this holiday season.