The holiday season is just around the corner for online retailers, and the Internet is awash with tips and tricks on how to maximize sales over the holidays.
Most articles and white papers will urge your clients to set up highly targeted PPC and social media campaigns, give best practices for content writing and tips on how to optimize their SEO. While these actions are great for driving traffic to your customers’ sites, they do little to actually convert visitors into paying customers.
Did you know that for every $92 spent on acquiring visitors to online stores, only $1 is spent on converting visitors into customers (source: Eisenberg, 2012)? So what can you do to ensure that your clients are actually converting visitors? And is there anything that can be done this close to Christmas?
To help you out, we’ve put together six tips for the four weeks remaining before Christmas. You can use them to increase your clients’ conversion and sales – and no, it’s not too late to set these up as they do not require additional budget or resources.
Here we go...
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1. Highlight your client’s best-selling products
Around Christmas, the number of first-time shoppers is higher than on average.
New customers don’t necessarily know the brand/store they’re visiting. They're in need of inspiration, and they need it fast. Make sure your client’s homepage is geared towards showing the most popular products and categories. Popular categories ensure a high click-through rate onto pages that are likely to sell.
A way to do this is to add automated bestseller lists on the front page, and main categories using an app like Nosto, for example. To highlight ‘trending items,’ you could show bestsellers from the past seven days only.
It goes without saying that these lists should not include out-of-stock items! For items that are restocked quickly, it may be worth installing the popular Back in Stock app, which will notify customers automatically when items are back in stock.
2. Group products under a 'Gifts' category
As just mentioned, Christmas shoppers are mostly looking for gifts, so they need ideas - now.
Instead of having to trawl around the whole site to find something suitable, they will be very happy to be guided to a 'Gifts' section. This new category can be further optimized with filters: for him, her, baby, etc. as well as by price bands such as ‘Under $25,’ ‘$25 - $50,’ and so on.
3. Make it easy for customers to contact the merchant
Ensure that contact phone numbers and emails are clearly visible in the header of the site. It’s more likely for customers to contact merchants over Christmas as they may want to double-check returns policies or delivery times.
There are two more tools you can add to allow the brand to further engage with online shoppers and turn more visitors into buyers.
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4. Offer complementary products
Make sure your client is showcasing their store selection by cross- and up-selling products across the entire shopping journey.
A great opportunity to cross- and up-sell presents itself at checkout. In order to increase AOV (average order value), display other items that go together with the product/s already added to the shopping basket.
At Christmas time, this is a great opportunity to recommend stocking fillers. The Nosto recommendation engine allows you to easily and effectively add real-time personalized product recommendations on your clients’ sites to increase conversion and AOV!
5. Offer clear shipping and returns information
During the holidays, customers will be extra careful only to buy gifts they can count on being under the tree as Santa arrives, and will also appreciate flexible payment options and extended returns.
Make sure a customer doesn’t have to place a product in the cart to find out what the store’s policies are. Allowing customers to understand their options early on creates a sense of trust –which will lead to more sales. Include tabs on your product pages that outline shipping and return policies.
Another thing for your clients to consider here is extending their returns period to cover the buyer's concern that their gift will not be well received on the big day.
If your client doesn’t already offer premium next day shipping, ask them to try it over the festive period. This is a great way to boost margins. The header on all client sites should clearly promote any free or next-day shipping options that are available.
6. Keep loyal customers happy!
Repeat shoppers spend, on average, seven times more than the typical online shopper. It's therefore essential to concentrate on keeping loyal customers happy and returning to a store.
There are several ways do this, from delighting returning customers with personalised content, to building full-fledged customer loyalty and referrals programs.
To help with this, install LoyaltyLion to nurture referrals and repeat business. This is great for increasing the lifetime value of each new customer.
Nosto also offers personalized recommendation emails that can be triggered three or six months after a customer's last interaction with the site, which is great for encouraging repeat visits and purchases.
No time to waste!
As I mentioned, you still have time to implement these solutions onto your clients' sites before Christmas – but you'd better act fast to make the most of their holiday sales.
If you think of any additional last-minute conversion optimizers that we've missed, feel free to share them in the holidays below!
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