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How to prep your ecommerce store for holiday shoppers

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Oct. 8, 2015
Ecommerce, security and digital marketing experts discuss 16 steps ecommerce business owners and managers should take this fall to maximize holiday sales.

7. Make sure people can shop from a variety of devices

“Customers will be using devices with a wide variety of screen sizes, [so] your website should work well [and look good] on everything from a large monitor to a small phone,” says Shawn McCabe, head of Development, Acro Media, a Web design and digital marketing agency. “Also, don't limit any functionality of your scaled down versions. If customers have to try and switch to the full version, your mobile site is totally pointless and probably making things worse.”

8. Optimize images and give your site a festive feel

“Holiday shopping can be emotional, so having great-looking product photos plays a big role in capturing the attention and hearts of shoppers,” says Jason Bay, senior product manager, Bonanza, an online marketplace. “If your product photos are low resolution or have poor lighting, maybe it's time to re-shoot them in time for the holidays. If you don't have the time to re-shoot them, consider running your photos through a service like the Bonanza Background Burner to automatically give them a clean, white background and automatic color correction.”

Similarly, “help your shoppers get into a festive mindset by updating your graphic design to include holiday-related themes,” he adds. “But don't just focus on your home page. Your product pages, email graphics, evergreen advertisements and social media sites can all be updated to show that your store is the perfect destination for holiday shopping.”

9. Showcase top-rated items – and offer gift suggestions

“To set your site up for [holiday] success, make review content more prominent during these heavily shopped days by displaying ‘top rated’ gift lists directly on the homepage,” says Matt Krebsbach, director, Public & Analyst Relations, Bazaarvoice. “If your site currently does not incorporate consumer-generated content – ratings and reviews, questions and answers, and social posts – now is the time to collect that content for your products, especially those expected to be big holiday sellers,” he says.

“Implementing consumer-generated content on a company website not only serves as a fantastic way to increase online visibility, it also serves to attract new site visitors and convert those individuals into returning customers.”

Similarly, feature special holiday gift items on your home page or create a special category and page for customers to click on to get holiday gift ideas.

10. Alert customers to holiday shipping deadlines

“Everyone wants to get their holiday shopping done in July, but the reality is that most happens in December,” says Holly Ferro, owner, 5 Nerds Software. “Consumers will be looking for a clear alert letting them know if they can still order a product and have it delivered on time. If different products of yours have different shipping timelines, make sure those are specified.”


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