Holiday shopping has entered a new dimension. Many shoppers are turning to the internet for a fast and convenient source of holiday gifts.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, 2004 online retail sales rose 23.8% to $89 billion, representing 4.6% of total retail sales. Online retail sales are estimated to reach $109.6 billion this year. This sort of potential spending must be met with effective planning; including website marketing and usability improvements.
So, what can you do to improve your conversion rates and increase your happy quotient this holiday season?
- Communicate with current customers. Now is the time to send customized emails to your opt-in email list. Create an intriguing and relevant subject line for your emails, and make offers within that will encourage click-throughs.
- Update your Pay Per Click ads. Ensure your keywords' holiday friendliness, and that your ad is appealing and accurate.
- Take care of your click-throughs. Once your potential customer clicks on your ad, make sure that they land on an appropriate page (i.e., they shouldn't be taken to your general homepage if they are clicking on an ad for a specific product).
- Check site usability. This is a consideration at all times, but let the holiday season serve as a reminder. Are your pages slow to load? Are there any dead links or confusing nomenclature? Make sure your site is easy-access. Short-attention shoppers will not be tolerant of frustrating bad planning on your part.
- Product descriptions are your online salespeople. Give your potential customers as much information as possible about your product or service. This includes photos (with close-ups and additional views), sizing information, video (if applicable), detailed descriptions, etc. If it seems appropriate, also add in previous customer recommendations.
- Prevent Cart Abandonment. Be up front with shipping costs and taxes. The only surprises your customers want are of the wrapped sort.
- Protect Consumer Security. Be certain that your customers know that you keep their purchasing information safely protected. Give them easy access to customer service phone numbers and email addresses.
Make this your list and check it twice. No room for naughty this year, kiddies - ahem, colleagues. Take advantage of the giving season and get yourself a nice ROI.