e-commerce websites, internet marketing

Is your website ready for holiday shoppers?  Earlier this month, Shop.org released its 2014 online holiday sales forecast. The National Retail Federation’s digital retail division predicted an increase in November and December of 8 to 11 percent over last year – anticipating up to $105 billion in e-commerce transactions this holiday season.

With this optimistic forecast in mind, those who operate online stores have only a couple of weeks to finalize preparations for the shopping rush. Here is a checklist to determine your readiness:

  • SEO targeted and up-to-date? This will be significant in helping your ideal customers find you. Consider whether using seasonal (“holiday shopping”) keywords could be beneficial for you, and – if so – put them in place now.
  • Check-out process user-friendly, shored-up and ready to go? Research by SafeCycle.com indicates that nearly 74 percent of shopping carts were abandoned online during the last quarter of 2013. Double and triple test your search function and online check-out now so technical difficulties will not result in lost sales. Ask a client or friend to walk through your store, viewing it as prospective customer would. Are your calls to action clear and compelling?
  • Mobile device accessible? Increasingly, shoppers are accessing online stores via smart phones and tablets throughout the year — the holiday will be no exception. Test your accessibility from a variety of popular mobile devices so you won’t miss out on this traffic.
  • Seasonal content marketing and social media plans prepared? It’s not too early to write your holiday-related blog posts or plan your social media updates. Once the holiday busyness begins, it will be easy to miss out on these opportunities.
  • Site security authenticated? With security breeches making headlines throughout the year, many consumers have reservations about online shopping. Review your security and privacy features, and display certifications prominently to reassure shoppers browsing your site.
  • How accessible are you? Do you make it simple for shoppers to get answers to their questions? Some shopper-friendly options that can help your “visitor to customer” conversions include a well-planned and comprehensive FAQ, a “live chat” option and a frequently monitored & responsive contact form.
  • Rewards and discount codes in place? Competition for sales may never be higher than during the holidays. Consider encouraging repeat business from returning customers and initial purchases from first-time customers with special discount offers and promotion codes. Set up your shopping cart for easy entry of these promo codes.
  • Holiday decor added? Lights and decorations provide festive touches to the outside world this time of year. What about your site? Consider adding professional and brand-appropriate seasonal decor to your site to capture the mood and spirit of the holidays.

How ready is your web store for the holidays? The Page Progressive team is available to help with any of these checklist items that need shoring up before the shopping season begins. Contact us today!

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