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Prepping your Online Store for Holiday Gift Buying

It’s about giving that same attention to your ecommerce site as you do to your physical store.Retailers prepare online store for holiday 2016We’ve already talked about how to showcase your products on social media this holiday season to align to digital shopping trends. But what we haven’t discussed (it’s only August after all!) is how to get your website, and ecommerce, ready for the influx of shoppers between Black Friday and New Years.

The key here is optimizing your site to be more helpful for your customers. From suggested selling (think gift guides!) to faster loading times here are 5 must do updates for your ecommerce site.

Make it easy to shop…with gift suggestions
Gift shopping is a lot about getting ideas, we browse, we look, we wait for inspiration. A lot of shoppers landing on your site are in that same pickle of not knowing exactly what to buy. Make it easy for them, and increase your online sales, with a “Gift Suggestion” area on your home page and easily accessible from interior pages. Make sure shoppers can click from your suggestion to the place they can buy.

Loading speed
This is crazy, but, if it takes more than 3 seconds for a page to load, over half of consumers will leave the site. Think about how many lost sales that can lead to! Some larger online chains have even optimized their home pages to load ½ a second faster and have seen increased conversion rates. So, before you get into the holiday grind take a moment to visit your site and ensure that pages are loading quickly. Common culprits of slow loading pages: videos and large sized images.

No drastic changes
While we suggest optimizing your site to showcase your awesome gift items and make sure pages are loading correctly, we’re not recommending major site updates right before the holidays. Stay away from big structural changes, like revamping navigation, that may not be buttoned up in time for the holidays (unless you’re planning to start those changes in the next couple weeks!).

Ensure you can restock and reorder popular items
Nothing is worse than running out of a popular item at the holidays and not being able to restock. Avoid this by working with your vendors to find out what can be restocked quickly and putting more promotion around those items. At Melrose we are proud to have holiday items available year round and available to ship when your store is ready for the product!

Use holiday shipping deadlines to drive a sense of urgency
Help your customers make sure they get their gifts in time by sharing shipping deadlines up front. This could be a banner in your website header that says “Order by December 10 for delivery in time for Christmas.” Once you’ve passed that deadline you could change it to “Order by December 20 for rush delivery in time for Christmas.” Of course, you’ll want to examine your packaging and shipping timelines to find the right deadlines for you and your customers.

From shipping deadlines to gift guides, prepping your ecommerce store for holiday is just as important to sales as prepping your physical store. To be ready for Cyber Monday (that all important Monday after Black Friday) and the additional customers your site will receive, start early and be helpful!

Are you expecting more online sales this year? How will you be preparing? Share your plans with us in the comments below!

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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