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Prepare Your E-Commerce Website for the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, businesses need to start preparing their website for a huge increase in sales and traffic. This season accounts for as much as 40% of annual retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation. If you want to make sure that you’re prepared for the holiday rush, here are three areas that should be a primary focus starting as soon as possible.

Be Available to Capture Your Customers in Micro Moments

In 2012, one-fourth of people who gave gifts purchased from a retailer that they have never even shopped with before.1  Brand loyalty doesn’t necessarily come into play in a big way during the holidays, as many shoppers are in the market for things they don’t typically buy. During the holiday shopping season, there are a ton of tactics that brands employ in order to drive sales including sales, promotions, offers, reward programs, and more.

A recent study by Google, shows that the primary purchasing decision is driven by price, followed by a more expansive selection that is made available.2

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Shoppers are looking toward the Internet to help them make up their mind. Gift shopping takes a lot of research, and there is a lot of opportunity to be had by brands and retailers. Generating content such as video, infograhpics, blog posts, and product guides can help put your brand front and center in front of a potential consumer during their research process and create those micro moments that are highly coveted by your competition.

Be There – Be Mobile.

As much as being there is integral to reaching additional consumers, being mobile is equally as important. Creating a positive user experience is necessary in our world of smartphones and tablets. You want to ensure that consumers are able to have a pleasant and seamless shopping experience on any device so you can maximize the number of consumers that shop your products. Shopping-related search queries from mobile devices increased 59% year-over-year in July 2013.3  Now that shopping has gone mobile, people do not have to schedule a time for holiday shopping. They can beat the crowds, the lines and the scarce merchandise availability by shopping directly on their smartphone.

In addition to just being available, more and more consumers are comparison-shopping other retailers while they are in a store. Have you recently gone into Best Buy to look at TVs? You will find several other shoppers checking out the TVs, the details, the price, all while taking pictures and notes. Those shoppers will use that information they have collected at home to make sure they can find the exact TV they want at the best possible price. In fact, 84 percent of shoppers use smartphones in-store as shopping companions.4

Free Shipping

Now that Cyber Monday exists, as a retailer, it’s imperative your brand has an understanding of what can set you apart from your competitors. Especially on Cyber Monday and subsequent days leading up to Christmas, brands are offering Free Shipping as a standard promotion, while other BOGO deals and extreme price discounts take the spotlight. So, if you’re a brand gearing up for a big e-commerce holiday season, you may want to ensure that you’re offering free shipping as a default option so you can stay in line with the rest of your competition.

In 2012, the term “free shipping” surged last year as a search query, with a generous peak on Cyber Monday, as seen below.5

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While many may think that starting preparation for holiday shoppers now may be a little late in the year (many actually start in June!), we believe it’s never too late to capture an audience in the right place at the right time. It’s all about generating content, being mobile and making sure you’re keeping pace with your competitors. Don’t fall victim to an unprepared peak season, and make sure you’re set up for success. Call On Target today to get your strategy for e-commerce in check with a comprehensive Orlando digital marketing plan.

1 Google Consumer Surveys, n=1510, 7/31/13
2 Google Consumer Surveys, n=630, Week of 7/8/13
3 Google Internal Data, Smartphone Queries in the Shopping Category, July 2013 vs. July 2012
4 Google Shopper Marketing Council, Mobile In-Store Research, April 2013
5 Google Internal Search Data, Indexed by Device, Q4 2012