How to prepare your online store for the holiday season

Prepare your online store for Christmas and boost your sales

Autumn has barely started and you might be wondering why we’re posting an article about Christmas this early. It’s not just because we love the festivities. The truth is that the holiday shopping craze starts early in retail and if you own an online store, you better get it ready well in advance.

If you look up “Christmas gifts” on Google trends, you’ll see that the number of people searching for gift ideas on Google quickly picks up in October and rises steadily up until the peak of the holiday season.

Looks like a lot of people are responsible shoppers and want to have their gifts ready in time. As for the responsible e-shop owners, stocking up on products is not the only step to take in preparation for the holiday season. Making sure the website is also ready for gift-searching shoppers should be a crucial part of the process.

Get festive but don’t overdo it

We all love holiday-themed websites and there’s nothing quite like falling snowflakes and flashing lights to get us in the mood. It’s just that we all can occasionally go overboard and end up with surprisingly tacky websites. Don’t make the same mistake. You want your website to stay classy and simple to avoid distracting customers from the actual goal – buying your products. So, use festive backgrounds and imagery in moderation and check if the loading speed of your pages stays fast. You might do it with this tool from Google.

Simple navigation

Make sure your customers can easily navigate through your website. Keep your main menu clear, highlight the best-selling products and create new festive categories such as “Gifts for men”, “Gifts for children” or “Christmas sale”, so your customers can easily find what they’ve come for.

Good-looking product pictures

If you have postponed creating high-quality shots of your products, now’s the time to finally do it. When you bring customers to your online store, the last thing you want is to deter them from the purchase by displaying mediocre pictures. We are all visual creatures and good looking images simply prove to be more attractive for us, so invest time and resources in professional promotion of products.

We’ve already mentioned the loading speed of pages in our first advice, but it does have such a huge impact on the success of your online store that we have to say it again – don’t forget to optimize the size of all images so they won’t slow down the loading of your product pages. Finally, make your images SEO-friendly following the tips in a new blogpost about SEO tools in our editor.

Offer discounts

As Christmas time draws near, everyone expects to see flash sales and special offers in both brick and online stores. With Webnode discount feature, you can offer customers all the enticing options like free shipping, percentage or amount-based discounts and promo codes. If you want to know how to set them up, check out our simple guide on discounts and promo codes.

Create an FAQ section

Before they commit to buying anything, most customers want to know all about your shipping options, their price, cut off dates for getting their gifts delivered before holidays, how the return-policy works and which payment methods you’re offering. So why not make this easier for all of you? Create a special page with simple answers to most common questions. It will help speed up the shopping process and save you a lot of time.

Provide customer care

Even if you create a wonderful FAQ page, people can still have additional questions and issues that need to be solved as soon as possible. Make sure your contact details are clearly visible and you or your employees are available to provide support. If you can, add a live chat option to answer the most pressing queries.

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

If you created your website with Webnode, you can breathe easier now because it already has a good-looking and fully-functional mobile version. All Webnode templates are responsive, meaning they will automatically change their appearance to fit different devices. If you haven’t done it yet, test it to make sure your online store works just fine on smartphones or tablets and so you’ll know exactly how the whole shopping process works.

Promote your products

Once your website is ready, it’s time to work on promotion. You have several options.

Email campaign – if you already have a steady base of customers and permission to send them marketing emails, prepare email campaigns. You can send your customers customized gift ideas and offer discounts or free shipping to bring them back to your store. If you haven’t tried sending out marketing emails before, try out Mailchimp for beautifully designed templates and intuitive tools.

Paid advertisement – PPC campaigns in Google or Facebook ads are the most usual forms of paid advertisement. You might also consider investing in YouTube video commercials or showing off your ads on Instagram. Try which option would work best for your business, but remember, if you have strong competitors that you need to out-bid, paid campaigns might get expensive.

Blogposts – if you have a blog, it’s only natural that you’ll write holiday-themed articles. We all need a little inspiration and advice on what to buy.

Social media – this tip might be obvious, but we have to mention that social media is the right space for sharing all those holiday blogposts, promoting your products and generally making sure your customers know your store exists. If you have time, prepare some posts in advance or at least plan what you’d like to share.

And that was our last advice. Getting your store ready for the holiday season looks like a lot of work and it is. But if you start now and follow our simple list, you will have everything ready in time and without stress.

Wondering how to create an online store? Check the step-by-step guide. Would you like to add something? How do you prepare your online store for the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.