Not 5 ideas, not 10 and not 20, read this 41 tips and ideas to make your site perform better, boost it in this holiday season or anytime when you have peak season. Whether you have a Miva, Magento or any other ecommerce platform, these ideas can definitely help you to boost the sales, generate more traffic and help in better sales conversions.
Sourced from Statista site, in 2017, the sale from ecommerce sites in the holiday season in The United states was for 108.2 billion which is 14.7% higher than 2016. At the same time the overall sale from ecommerce sites on mobile devices in 2017 was 1.4 trillion.
Now, from here you can understand how important it is for you to prepare your ecommerce site to do more sales in this holiday season. This article is equally helpful when you have a peak season of your business. This will help you to outperform your competitors.
PRE-PLANNING AND PLANNING
Before you start anything, you will first need to find out and work out on the basic areas of your business.
- What is your niche market? Your Target audience? Are they all men, women, kids or all? Are they under a specific age range?
- What your competitor has done during the last holiday season which you missed to do on your website?
- Is your competitor selling his goods at the lower price than your website? What you can do to overcome from this and offer better pricing to your customers?
- What is the mobile conversion percentage on your website?
- How you can optimize your site more and more to give better experience on mobile devices?
- Do you have a customer list? Treat them as your VIP customers and tell them what they value for you. Try to plan this to do it through custom personalized emailing, social media and other channels.
- Have you had crashes on your site last year? What did you do to overcome from this?
- Have you had any staffing or customer service problem in your business during holiday season? What you did to overcome from this?
Once you answer all the above questions to yourself, you would be in a good position to plan for a better holiday season for your online business.
Here, I am going to explain some very important tips, facts and ideas to prepare your ecommerce business to sell more during this holiday season.
#1. YOUR SERVER PERFORMANCE
Based on your business and traffic, you will need to decide whether you have a better server for your ecommerce website or not. If you have huge traffic on your website, you will need to go to cloud/dedicated or load balancer way to handle the traffic on your site during this holiday season. If you have just 100-200 visitors a day, a shared or VPS hosting can also work BUT as you know Magento is a very powerful yet resource consuming application, you will need to decide what server is best for you.
#2. HOSTING PROVIDER
Talk to your hosting provider whether your website is able to handle the load or not. This way, they should be able to explain you what kind of plan you have with them and if you need an upgrade on this.
#3. CHECK LOAD TESTING
Do some torture test on your site by putting the load on it and see how it is performing. You can use JMeter or some other tools to test this.
#4. KEEP YOUR SITE FAST AND CACHED
There are various methods on both Miva and Magento to make your site perform faster. You can do JS, CSS minification, code enhancement, less number of calls to perform any action, use caching service like cloudflare or if you are on Magento, you can also configure Redis and varnish caching for different purposes to cache your code as well as database calls.
#5. DO YOU HAVE INHOUSE OR RELIABLE OFFSHORE DEVELOPER
Whether you have in-house or offshore developer, you will need to make sure that the developer is capable to understand and handle the requests you are giving him to do during this time. If your developer is not reliable and if his coding is not stable on your site, you should look for a better developer or a better development agency to handle all this for you. Putting site down during the holiday/ peak season will give you a huge loss. Don’t save money on your development budget, if you choose a bad developer, you will have more and long-term losses on your sales. BIZSPICE has experienced Miva and Certified Magento developers who know what Magento is and YES, we are reliable. See this page to know more about hiring our development services: Full Stack Developers
#6. UPDATE SECURITY AND FEATURES PATCHES – DO NOT UPGRADE
There are two big suggestions on this. First, always keep the security and feature patches up to date on your Magento or Miva site, especially when you have Magento 1 which is going to be unsupported soon (May 2019). Secondly, do not try to upgrade your Magento 1 site during the holiday season as upgrading is not as easy as you think. It takes lots of time, efforts and testing. So, postpone it, if it is in your plan. In Miva, updating security and feature patches are as easy as making a 2 minute noodle in your kitchen. Miva’s process of updating patches is all automated and easy to do. Read this article to know when is the best time to upgrade your Magento. When to upgrade your Magento?
#7. NO CODE CHANGES DURING THE HOLIDAY/ PEAK SEASON
Freeze all code changes until the season ends. You should be done with your coding and other changes as soon as you can during the holiday season.
#8. REGULAR BACKUP OF YOUR SITE
Talk to your hosting service and make sure that your data is backed up every day and kept safe for couple of weeks or months. You may require restoring your site from this backup if something serious happens on your site.
#9. STOCK PRODUCTS
Based on your last year sales history during the holiday season, this time; prepare your stock in advance and keep extra 5-10% stock as eCommerce sales is going to be higher than last year. Also, talk to your supplier to return the stocks, if you have extra stock after the season.
#10. UPLOAD YOUR NEW STOCK
Upload all your new products on the site, if possible, keep the content fresh and have a “NEW ITEMS” link on the top navigation on your site. This will help to promote these new products.
There is no reason that you can’t run a coupon. Even if your margins are low, try to sell and capture your market based on quantity. More quantity you sell better revenue you have. Offer some kind of discount to your customers and visitors to buy on your website.
#12. DISCOUNTS/ ON SALE
If there is any sale you can run on your products do it. Even if you give discount to your customers, they check the pricing of your products first and compare it with your competitors, make sure your pricing is same or better than your competitors to sell your products.
#13. REWARD POINTS
Reward your customers in some way every time. They feel good. There are many reward points system extensions/ modules or third party companies who deal in this.
#14. AFFILIATES OR PARTNERS TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
Is there any way you can make a network of some affiliates who’s only job is to market and promote your products with different ways? Some likes to write articles, some likes to promote through their videos and so on. Reward them to do it. There are couple of affiliate marketing extensions and plugins in the market to implement on your site.
#15. YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS ADVERTISE FOR YOU
Reward your loyal customers to help you. There could be many ways to help you and your business by your loyal customers. They can publish videos of your products through their social media accounts, write an article for you, give reviews for your products on your site and so on.
#16. HAVE A REVIEW SYSTEM ON YOUR SITE
Have a review system for your products on your site. If customers don’t review, once they buy products, after few days, you can say them thank you and encourage them to give review for your products. Tell them how valuable these reviews can be for other customers to buy the products. Give them a discount coupon when they put a review on your site.
#17. FREE SHIPPING OR DISCOUNT ON SHIPPING
Can you offer a free shipping on all orders? If not, can it be done if customers buy a specific subtotal? Free shipping really helps saving some bucks for customers, but it helps you more to convert your visitors into customers.
#18. MAKE THE SITE 100% MOBILE FRIENDLY
Most important part – mobile commerce is growing and growing. More and more people these days have smart phones and like to do their shopping on their phones. Make the site 100% responsive, device compatible and easy to browse on mobile devices. I bet you will have a better conversion this holiday season by making your site 100% responsive.
#19. DIFFERENT IDEAS FOR DIFFERENT HOLIDAYS
Below are the different holidays you can plan in advance to attract more customers. You can make your site custom to these specific holidays and make it look like more personalized on each holiday.
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Small Business Tuesday
- 12 Days Christmas
- Christmas Eve
- December 26th
- New Year’s Eve
- Valentine’s Day
#20. MARKETING –
- Social Media
- Whats App
- Email Marketing
- Promotional Banners on the site
- Paid campaigns on Facebook, Google
#21. VARIOUS PAYMENT OPTIONS
If possible, give different payment options to your customers. For example, Amazon Pay, Online credit card payment, Check, Bank transfer, PayPal etc.
#22. ORDERING JOURNEY
Make it cleaner, and nice experience for your client. Should be quick to find the products and do the checkout.
#23. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Make your customer service full trained and ready for this holiday season. Your staff should be very pleasant to talk, should have knowledge about your products and services and should know how your ecommerce site works. This will help them to convert visitors into buyers.
#24. RETURNING PROCESS
Make your returning process quick and easy.
#25. VIP TREATMENT AND VIP SECTION ON YOUR SITE
If possible, identify and categorize your top customers and treat them as VIP, offer them free shipping, offer them extra gifts or promo, points etc
#26. MAKE HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS AND PRODUCTS
Can you make gift ideas of your products for your customers? Do it and make a new link on your navigation bar and say it “GIFT IDEAS” and list all your products there. Also, show the gift ideas products on different categories.
#27. WRITE A BLOG ABOUT YOUR GIFT IDEAS
You should also try to write some articles about some gift ideas of your products for your customers.
#28. ANALYZE LAST YEAR STATISTICS
If possible analyze last year statistics and learn from them. You can see bestselling products, type of customers, age group, order minimum, maximum etc and make out plan to promote and catch the customers
#29. BUNDLED ITEMS
On this, I would say learn from Amazon on this who runs this bundled promotion throughout the year. I wanted to buy a AA and AAA battery charger, they suggested me battery charger and some chargeable battery with discount and no doubt, I bought that. People love to get discount and suggestions on what they can buy. We have a brilliant Bundled Items extension absolutely free from our extension store. Check this out here.
#30. NEWSLETTER POPUP ON THE THANK YOU PAGE
It’s totally your decision to popup the newsletter box on every page on your website and irritate your customer while he is looking for the products he wants to buy, I would suggest you to put this newsletter popup box on the final thank you page when the order is made. This is the time, when customer is really happy because he bought what he wanted, and he would definitely like to receive your valuable emails and offers, so he is going to subscribe. Hit the hammer at the right time.
#31. MONITOR YOUR COMPETITORS
No doubt many of your competitors selling the same products, same brands etc that you do. Sometimes they run promos, discount their products and run other campaigns to attract and convert more customers. Keep an eye on that and learn from it, run something similar or better to attract more customers.
#32. RELATED PRODUCTS, UPSELL AND CROSS SELL
This is the best way to help your customers to buy more from you. I am buying a pair of shoes and one of the site suggested me to buy a pair of socks with that pair of shoes and get additional 10% discount. I would love to do that. Think similar and offer more suggestions to your customers while he is buying. Read our article to know more about how Related products, upsell and cross sell works. Link to read this article.
#33. SETUP YOUR GOOGLE ANALYTICS ACCOUNT
I am 99% sure that you have already done this on your website, if not, this is the time to do it to see the critical data of your website and analyze them, take the decisions on that basis etc.
#34. TEST, TEST AND TEST
You’re the best test, best customer, best developer of your website because you know your business better than anybody else. Test any new feature that your developers implement on the site and do not make it live until it passes your testing criteria. Try to break it and tell your developers 🙂
#35. SEO AND ON PAGE OPTIMIZATION
Best way to get organic traffic on your website is the search engine optimization and on page optimization. Hire an agency to analyze the current status of your site and then ask for the suggestions and the areas where your site can be improved. Once you get all this, coordinate with your Miva or Magento development agency to implement those ideas and changes etc on your site to improve its organic performance.
#36. ABANDONED CARTS
As per the study, these days internet buyers don’t spend more than 3-4 minutes to find the right product and then buy it, if they find difficulty, they leave your website and go to another one. Try to get the details of those customers of your website who abandoned their carts and try to reach them personally and encourage them to buy your products. Offer them some discount etc.
#37. CHAT SYSTEM ON YOUR SITE
I bet every site has some kind of FAQ section on the site but customers don’t go there or don’t read them. The best way to help out your customers is to have a chat system on your website. Customers love to initiate a chat and ask their quick question before buying. Help them to buy your products.
#38. VISIBLE CONTACT AND PHONE NUMBERS
Put a chat system on your site and highlight your phone and contact information. The buyers in the holiday season buy the products quickly, so they need quick assistance to make a decision.
Make the search and category pages more effective with features and filtering system. This will help customers to find the products they are looking for
#39. ADD A PROGRESS BAR ON YOUR CHECKOUT PAGES
Whether you have a one step checkout or multiple steps, it is suggested to put a progress bar on the top of your site to show customers how far he is to make this purchase. This helps customers to keep the patience and complete the process.
#40. ENHANCE THE LOOK & FEEL OF YOUR CHECKOUT PAGES
My first suggestion on this would be to focus on the checkout instead of other section of your website. Remove the top header and footer of your website and shrink it show less information. Only show your logo and phone number on the top and only show contact us and returns etc link on the footer. People should be focused on the checkout. Also, make the forms easy to read and fill on your checkout process.
#41. ENHANCE THE LOOK AND FEEL OF YOUR HOME PAGE AND OTHER BESTSELLING CATEGORIES & PRODUCT PAGES
Study each and every page of your website and make a note of two things – what you can remove to make it clean and what you can add to make it better. Keeping these things in your mind will help you to make a cleaner, much better website for your customers. Also, do not make any development changes during the season, this is the initial phase and should be done as the first step.
I have tried to cover as many points as I could. If you have more suggestions, corrections etc. on this, feel free to share that with me through the commenting section on this article.
Our company BIZSPICE has tons of experience on eCommerce and web development, we feel ourselves the best reliable resource for you when it comes to reliable and stable development on Miva or Magento storefronts. Do let us know if we can serve you with any of your requirement during this holiday season.