It’s an e-commerce company’s summer secret that while customers are busy buying swimsuits and dipping their toes in the sand, brands are scrambling to prepare for the busy holiday season.
You can’t blame them for having holiday cheer on the brain in August. Between Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday sales, the season for gifting arrives earlier each year and extends longer, which means even earlier B2B sales. In fact, according to The National Retail Foundation’s 2014 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, your customers have already made their list, checked it twice, AND completed more than half of their shopping by December 10th.
It’s crucial that e-commerce companies have a solid marketing plan in place to excite and convert holiday shoppers as early as possible. An inviting website should be at the center of this plan to maximize both the early-bird and last-minute shoppers. To get ready, give your website a holiday facelift with our 4 tweaks to captivate visitors and increase seasonal spending.
Update hero imagery + banners
Your website’s hero image is often the first visual visitors see and leaves an overall impression of your website. To give your site an immediate refresh without overhauling the design, update your hero image to place holiday promotions and gift ideas front and center.
The Body Shop gets into the spirit with a holiday-themed hero image and festive offers above the fold. The Holiday Shoppe left sidebar calls out Gifts, Seasonal Scents, and E-Gift cards, making it easy for shoppers to fulfill all their gift-giving needs. The Perfect Gift Finder guides the unsure shopper, and discounts and promotions are impossible to miss. GIFTS is highlighted red in the top navigation and the banner (and hero image) adds urgency around Christmas Delivery. Compare their December 2014 website to April 2015’s, and you can see that the overall integrity of the website didn’t change, yet the look and feel is completely different.
Tips for updating your hero images + banners:
1. Use eye-catching imagery and high quality images
2. Include your value proposition. Why should the visitor click on your banner?
3. Don’t forget a call-to-action – your goal is to inspire customers to take action. The best CTAs tell customers what to do. “Shop now,” “Learn More,” and “Explore New Products” are better than “Submit” or “Enter.”
4. Switch up images more often. Visitors will explore your site more frequently during the holidays, so update your hero image to highlight new sales, feature new products, or show off gift guides to keep visitors excited.
5. Responsive website? Make sure your hero images and banners are visible, readable, and clickable from any mobile device.
Add content resources, gift guides + trend pieces
Brands use content pieces on their blog or website to show off products and drive purchases without coming across as pushy. Articles like “Top 5 Toys for Boys Under 10” are helpful to shoppers looking for the right gifts and can increase their confidence that they’re making an informed purchase.
Informative content pieces can drive visitors to your site for months and sometimes years after (people will search “gifts for boys under 10” for all different reasons throughout the year). These pieces can be updated annually with minimal work to keep your website content fresh and are also frequently shared on social networks.
Similarly, shorter gift guides or lists of trends are great ways to increase sales and upsells. Unlike more detailed content pieces, a quick list of “New Year’s Eve Trends” can link directly to your products with minimal effort. Show off products in their best light by incorporating large product imagery and fun, carefree text to excite readers around your products and highlight their real-life use.
Michael Kors takes a hybrid approach with “Michael’s Must Have’s” on the homepage. The link to “See the Edit” highlights a handful of city essential products with large imagery and descriptive text. The “Shop All Must-haves” links directly to a product page of all the items included in the list.
Here’s a couple of content ideas you can cater to your audience:
1. XYZ number of gifts under $xyz.
2. Gifts for everyone on your holiday lists.
3. Last minute gift ideas.
4. Our holiday favorites (top selling gifts).
5. Seasonal tips (For example, if you sell dinnerware, your seasonal tips can be “Decorating your Holiday Table” with links to your products).
Stir up buzz on social networks
Your customers solicit feedback from friends on social media before buying products. A friend’s positive review is extremely persuasive for uncertain shoppers.
Tap into the power of these implied testimonials by encouraging customers to share pictures of themselves with your products and a promotional hashtag. Spice things up by entering customers who participate in your social campaign into a raffle for a giveaway.
You can extend this excitement to your website by adding a social feed that pulls in all the hashtags from your campaign in real time. Nothing indicates a hot product, like everyone buzzing about it online.
Check out how BEBE encouraged customers to share pictures of themselves wearing their apparel with the hashtag #bebegirl on Twitter and Instagram. They add some of these social shares to their site’s homepage to encourage other visitors to participate and cultivate excitement around their brand. Clicking any of the thumbnail pictures opens up the customers’ original social post and the right thumbnail links directly to the BEBE product page to buy the item.
Keep in mind, all social networks are not created equal for driving sales. According to the IBM Holiday Shopping Survey, Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest on Black Friday last year.
Be ready for mobile shoppers
Going mobile isn’t the quickest change on our list, but it’s hands-down the most important. If you don’t, you risk turning off half of your holiday traffic, hugely impacting your seasonal success.
In fact, last Christmas Day mobile traffic reached new records at 57.1% of all online traffic, and mobile sales soared to 34.8 percent of all online sales. Updating your website to be mobile-friendly is a no brainer – it simply makes it easier for customers to browse, find, and purchase your products.
The Toys R Us responsive website below identifies when a site visitor is on their mobile device and then changes the site to be optimized for the device’s screen size. If it didn’t, visitors would have a very difficult time clicking all of those navigation buttons on the desktop-version from their tiny mobile phones. See how easy it is to shop when the Barbie Doll images and promotions are center stage?
Update your website to convert holiday shoppers
Update your hero image to grab attention immediately and include promotions to tempt holiday shoppers. Create seasonal-themed content pieces to motivate shoppers who are on the fence. (Make sure you include all product information, so they don’t have to look hard to buy the products in your content piece). Incorporate a holiday social campaign to turn customers into brand advocates and drive new visitors to your site. Finally, make sure your site is ready to convert ALL shoppers from EVERY device.