The end of year holidays are one of the biggest drivers of retail sales every year, accounting for, on average, around 19% of annual retail sales. Online holiday sales for 2020 increased 23.9% globally and 32.2% in the US compared to 2019. So it’s more important than ever to make sure your store is well designed and prepared to promote your sales and products for the gift-giving season.
Don’t let it sneak up on you — this crucial time of year can catch you by surprise if you don’t start planning early. Go ahead and determine what updates need to be made and how you’ll execute them. Then, as the season draws closer, you can focus your attention on marketing and running your operations, not working on your site design.
Here are 11 ways you can update your site design for the holidays:
1. Use festive imagery and language
Most people expect to see some seasonal embellishments on the websites they visit during the holidays. Update content throughout your site with themed photos, graphics, and messaging where appropriate. Some things you can do:
- Use holiday-themed images and messaging on your homepage hero image or slider.
- Swap out more generic product lifestyle photos with images that reflect the holiday season.
- Include festive graphic elements on sale banners and pop-ups.
- Change “Shop Now” call to action buttons to “Shop Gifts.”
2. Highlight sales in multiple places throughout your site
Customers expect stores to run holiday sales, so if you’re running any promotions you’ll want to put them in the spotlight. Here are some easy ways that you can feature sales on your store:
- Add a site-wide banner at the top of every page announcing your sale.
- Use pop-ups to promote your sale.
- Include a banner on your homepage.
- Add a “Shop Sale” item to your main navigation menu.
- Highlight products that are on sale in your sidebar.
- Show sale graphics on product thumbnails.
- Use Smart Coupons to display coupon codes on cart and checkout pages.
3. Use dedicated landing pages
Landing pages can be an effective tool to boost sales, especially during the holiday shopping rush. They’re designed to focus the shopper’s attention on a single offer with a quick and easy checkout.
- Keep your landing page design simple and easy. Remove header and footer navigation and any sidebars or CTAs that are not related to the product(s) you’re trying to sell on that page. Keep your copy brief and easy to read by using a short description and bullets to address the key selling points. Limit the number of images you use. One large, high-quality product image can make a big impact. The more time visitors spend scrolling through images, the less likely they may be to convert.
- Use WooCommerce One Page Checkout. One Page Checkout helps you add a checkout form to any page. Make the path to conversion shorter by letting customers purchase without leaving your landing page.
- Dress it up with a holiday theme. Landing pages should use a variation of the holiday messaging, color schemes, and graphics that you’re using on the rest of your website. This way your customer knows that it’s current and the offer is valid.
4. Use a countdown timer
Countdown timers are great for creating a sense of urgency during holiday sales. Sales Countdown Timer for WooCommerce gives you the option to display sales countdowns on product pages and the shop page to drive conversions. You can customize your timer style — use holiday-themed colors or just style it to match your brand — and choose its position on the product page.
5. Call attention to shipping
Between offering special shipping options and carrier delivery time changes, there’s a lot of details that merchants need to communicate to shoppers during the holidays. Calling attention to shipping options and delivery times can both incentivize sales and reduce customer service tickets. Here are some key things you might want to feature in sitewide notification banners, product descriptions, and at checkout:
- Order deadlines. During the holidays, there may be shipping delays or you may just need to be extra diligent in communicating shipping times to customers. Letting them know that they need to order by a certain date in order to guarantee delivery by or before a specific day will help manage your shoppers’ expectations and increase purchase urgency.
- Express shipping options. Some customers might be doing last-minute shopping. Providing the option of next-day or two-day shipping, even for an added cost, could just give them that extra push to make a purchase.
- Free shipping. In the era of Amazon Prime, customers almost demand a free shipping option. If you’re offering free shipping, you’ll want to feature this prominently — especially on your product pages.
6. Show related products, up-sells, and items frequently bought together
Help shoppers find the right gifts by providing suggestions for other products they might be interested in instead of, or in addition to, the one they’re currently looking at.
- Related products. Showing products in the same category or with the same tags on a product page might help your customer compare similar items and more easily find the right one.
- Up-sells. Increase your average order value by displaying products that are more profitable or higher quality on your product pages.
- Cross-sells. Promote complementary products on your cart page to increase sales.
- Frequently bought together. While related products, up-sells, and cross-sells are all native features of WooCommerce, you may want to offer more advanced up-selling and cross-selling options to your customers with the Frequently Bought Together extension. You can offer recommended product bundles on your product pages with price breaks per item or a flat rate discount for an entire bundle.
7. Promote gift ideas with special categories
Add categories to products like “travel enthusiasts” or “coffee lovers” that will let customers browse by interest. Feature these categories on your homepage and shop sidebar to help guide customers to the best gifts for their intended recipient. Feature these interest-based products in targeted email campaigns and social media posts, driving the most qualified traffic possible to your store.
8. Publish gift guides on your blog
Use your products to craft gift guides that inspire your customers. Include creative uses for your items, wrapping ideas, or gift set suggestions. Create posts based on interest groups or categories you already use in your store. Don’t forget to share them via email and social media to maximize your reach!
9. Feature gift bundles
Use Product Bundles to create custom gift sets. These can be mix and match sets that let customers build their own bundles or static bundles that come with a set number of products. Offer custom pricing and special shipping options like free shipping to incentivize sales. Feature your gift bundles prominently on your homepage and shop page, or promote them with custom landing pages.
10. Streamline your checkout
A fast and uncomplicated checkout experience is important any time of the year, but customers can be in even more of a rush during the holidays. Review your checkout page and make sure you minimize distractions and extra steps that might discourage customers from finalizing their purchase. A few things you can do to optimize your checkout include:
- Minimize visual clutter. Remove site navigation, sidebar widgets, and other distracting features like email sign-ups or promotional banners.
- Customize and simplify checkout fields. Asking shoppers to confirm their email addresses or including fields that aren’t absolutely required may annoy customers to the point of abandoning their cart. Keep your checkout fields to a minimum, but don’t forget to also include useful custom fields for the holiday season like a gift message. Checkout Field Editor lets you remove unnecessary fields and add custom ones so that you can tailor your checkout to your customers, products, and seasonal promotions.
- Offer convenient payment options. Make it easier for customers to check out with quick and easy payment options. WooCommerce Payments lets logged-in shoppers use saved payment methods as well as giving them the option to pay with Apple Pay. You may also want to offer Amazon Pay or PayPal, which speeds up the process for customers who already have payment methods registered with those providers.
11. Make sure your site looks good on multiple devices and browsers
Any time you make major changes to your site’s appearance or functionality, you’ll want to test it across different devices and browsers to make sure everything is displaying correctly. Checking on your own devices is always a good idea, but a browser emulator like LambdaTest can also be a helpful tool.
If you’re having trouble getting everything on your site to display and function the way you want it to, you might want to focus your energy on the most popular browsers and devices that your customers are using. Use Google Analytics to determine what platforms visitors use to browse your site and focus your testing and troubleshooting on those areas.
Start preparing for the holidays
You don’t need to completely redesign your site for the holidays, but some simple touches can make the shopping experience more exciting. Plus, by making the browsing and checkout process easier and providing great gift suggestions for your specific audience, you’ll create more sales and happier customers.