7 Tips for Optimizing an E-Commerce Site for Holiday Shoppers

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By Boris Dzhingarov

While fall only officially began a couple of weeks ago, for e-commerce sites, they are well into the roll-out of holiday season shopping. Products are being released, deals and services are being advertised, and it’s ‘all hands on deck’ with hopes of a successful holiday season.

There is never a guarantee of how sales will go, and this year in particular – with the market being as fragile as it is thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – e-commerce sites are trying to find ways to break through the noise, reach customers, and close those sales.

So, what’s the best way to go about this? The good news for e-commerce businesses is that there are a number of tips that you can start to employ immediately in order to optimize your site for holiday shoppers and therefore reach the goals the company has put forth for the season.

Ensure That Your Site is Optimized for Search Engines

One of the first things you’ll want to tackle is making sure your e-commerce site is optimized for search engines. What this means is that when someone is searching for a product, item, or service your site will come up in the search results and appear on the all-important first page.

The hope is obviously that you have a loyal base of customers that will shop on your site, but how will you ensure that potential new customers can find you? Your site needs to be highly visible on the Google search results page.

The best way to do this is to optimize your website with the relevant SEO tools and techniques. This includes such things as:

  • Using keywords – this needs to be done methodically, not randomly
  • Making sure you’re using links throughout the site
  • Focusing on the metadata
  • Making sure you’re posting new content and updating the site on a regular basis
  • Making use of alt tags which are alternative text descriptions
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Optimizing your website for SEO isn’t something you want to do last minute, so ideally this is a task you will work on all year long and constantly look to improve.

Make Sure Customers Can Search within Your Site with Ease

The next tip is to ensure that the customer experience is smooth and simple, and the best way to do that is make your site searchable. Giving visitors a way to key in a particular name, brand, or item into a search tool will make their visit a positive one. The easier you make items to find, the more likely you are to make the sale.

Give the Site a Festive Feel

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to set the scene, so to speak, and give your site a real festive feel for the holidays. Theming can be an effective marketing tool, and it’ll help to create hype, excitement, and interest in your products. It acts as a reminder to visitors that the holidays are approaching and now is the time to start jumping on the deals.

Within the holiday season are a few dates your company may choose to celebrate. These are dates you’ll want to advertise in advance, providing upbeat messaging and even allowing sneak peaks. These can include Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving Day deals, Christmas, and New Year’s. Shoppers are savvy nowadays and they know to hold out for these special dates in anticipation of special deals and promotions.

Ensure the Checkout Experience is Smooth and Secure

With so many cyber-crimes and threats happening nowadays, it’s only natural that people have become very wary and careful about shopping online. The thought of giving out personal information such as a credit card number is enough to cause some visitors to get very nervous. So, how do you combat this issue?

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You need to ensure you’re providing a checkout experience that is smooth and secure. All the measures you take should also be communicated to customers so that you are open and they feel that much safer with the checkout experience. At the end of the day, this is a tip that protects you and the customers, making it a win-win.

Is the Site Running at Top Speed?

Before your site becomes flooded with shoppers, you will also want to be sure it can handle the extra volume and remain at top speeds. From a visitor’s point of view, there is nothing worse than a site that is slow to load, buggy, and just causes issues. Shoppers will give up quickly when they encounter these issues, which mean you risk a high abandonment rate.

Did you know that according to research, customers will give up on a site after just a few seconds of waiting for a page to load? A few short seconds is all you have to provide them with a positive experience. It’s a lot of pressure, so the site needs to be up to the task. It’s best to address those problems now rather than when you are in the thick of the holidays.

The Site Must Be Optimized for Mobile Use

Then there is the fact that most shoppers today are doing their browsing and shopping on a mobile device. What that means is that your site absolutely must be optimized for mobile use. The way your site appears, loads, reacts, and works on a desktop computer should be exactly the same on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Shoppers need to know they are getting the same experience no matter the device used.

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Is the Customer Support Ready to Go?

Finally, it may be necessary to ramp up customer support as the visitors increase on your site. You need to be able to answer customer questions and concerns in a timely fashion if you hope to close the sale. This may mean employing temporary measures during the holiday season.

Give Your E-Commerce Site All It Needs to Have a Successful Holiday Season

By using these tips, you’ll be doing what you can to ensure that your e-commerce site enjoys a very successful holiday shopping season.