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Is Your Website Optimized for the Holiday Rush?

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Last week, I listened to a really great Webinar from Monetate on optimizing your website for holiday traffic.  I quickly realized that if you’re not thinking about holiday e-commerce now—yes, in August— you’re already behind.  Believe it or not, the online holiday shopping season has already begun for many consumers.

Elf Holiday Rush

Obviously, we believe testing is your biggest ally in ramping up to optimize for the holidays, because it allows you to make temporary changes that could make a big impact to conversions.  It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start, so we’ve done your homework for you.  Here are our top three recommendations on how to start gearing up for the holiday rush.

  1. Establish your process early on.  The most common goal our clients share is to establish a rapid testing culture. This will be especially important during the madness of the holidays. In order to achieve that, you have to know what’s going to slow you down in launching tests.  It’s surprising how often the approval process can slow you down when getting new tests out the door.  Identify all the potential culprits. For example, will every test require approval from all departments in your company or organization, or can you create an expedited process using pre-established guidelines?  Can you remove any technical constraints ahead of time?  Establish your process now to be prepared to move ahead at full steam when the holiday season rolls around.
  2. Get ahead of your competition by studying the predicted holiday trends now.  There are numerous resources to find out what industry experts believe the leading trends will be for the upcoming holiday season.  Our Chief Strategy Officer, Gregory Ng, recently outlined his insider perspective in an interview with Monetate.  One of the biggest takeaways from both the Monetate holiday Webinar and Greg’s interview is the increased emphasis on mobile optimization and how you can support consumers across multiple devices.  As Monetate outlined, “Smartphone and tablet users expect your website to function as well as it does when they visit from their desktops,” so you have to optimize for both.
  3. Plan to make the buying experience as easy as possible for holiday shoppers.  Among the many great tips Monetate shared, a common theme I noticed was that many of their recommendations involved making the online purchase experience as simple and worry-free as possible.  This includes things like countdown clock reminders letting shoppers know how much time remains until the holiday arrives (which is especially important if you are offering a shipping promotion), easily identifying products with badges or seasonal callouts, or offering shortcut navigation for quick holiday shopping from the home or landing page of your website.

Start creating your own plan to avoid missing out on the biggest online sales season of the year.  While it may seem hard to get into a winter month’s mentality while we’re still in shorts and bathing suits, now is exactly when you should begin leveraging plans for the holiday season.

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