10 Strategies to Prepare Your eCommerce Site for the Holiday Shopping Rush

As the holiday shopping season approaches, it’s time to ensure that your eCommerce website is geared up to provide an exceptional shopping experience for new and returning customers. 

Research indicates consumers spend more during the winter shopping season than on all other shopping holidays combined. 87% of consumers plan to spend the same or even more this year than the 2017 holiday season.

To make sure your eCommerce site captures the holiday spirit, follow these tips:

  1. Beware of Fraud: Be vigilant with a 22% rise in online fraud attempts during the last holiday season. Monitor for online shopping fraud, including purchases with stolen or fake credit cards, return fraud, chargebacks, and account takeovers.
  2. Streamline Pages: Improve website speed by compressing images and text, minimizing elements on the page, and being judicious with plug-ins. Users expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less.
  3. Offer Shipment Tracking: Enhance customer experience by offering shipment tracking. Tracking helps customers monitor their purchases and prevents online fraud and physical theft of packages.
  4. Check Infrastructure: Higher website traffic during the holidays can strain your website’s underlying technology. Ensure that your technology providers are prepared to handle increased traffic, reducing the risk of interruptions and slowdowns.
  5. Test the Shopping Experience: Conduct a comprehensive test of your website’s shopping experience. Purchase as if you were a customer and identify any areas requiring improvement in the user experience or checkout process.
  6. Update SEO: Optimize your website for holiday and seasonal searches by incorporating keywords like “seasonal,” “holiday deals,” “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday,” and “gifts.”
  7. Offer Free Shipping: According to a UPS and comScore study, free shipping is crucial during checkout. Approximately 31% of consumers are willing to delay a purchase to avail a free shipping offer.
  8. Promote Special Deals: Publicize any holiday-specific promotions or coupons early. Research shows that only 27% of consumers wait until after Thanksgiving to start shopping, so seize the opportunity to announce seasonal deals via your website, social media, and email campaigns.
  9. Optimize for Mobile: With mobile commerce gaining popularity, ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Salesforce estimates that smartphone purchases will constitute 68% of all eCommerce traffic during this holiday season, up from 19% in 2017. Make sure your site delivers an excellent experience for mobile users.
  10. Create Holiday-Related Content: Engage potential customers by offering relevant content such as gift-buying guides, last-minute shopping ideas, holiday recipes, local event guides, buying trends in your industry, and a “12 deals of Christmas” series.