With the Christmas sales lined up I’m sure you, and many others, are eager to go online for discount prices. According to a survey online businesses see more than 100% sales growth during the holiday season, and according to the National Retail Association, this year, businesses can see an additional 7% to 10% growth.
Whilst the sales numbers are looking good, the most important question to ask is this; is your web store capable enough to generate sales for you? Other obvious questions you might ask are what will make your store different from others and give you more business than your competitors? Are you confident you will manage to attract more online customers to your web store and get a healthy increase in your traffic?
Here are eight important tips that we’ve previously used on client sites to help them secure more customers and increase their revenue over the holiday season.
1. Reliable and secure Magento Web hosting
Good and reliable web hosting is the backbone of your website. Do you think your web store is hosted with the right people and is in safe hands? How good is your server at managing a large amount of traffic? How quickly does your server respond to web requests? How good is the web hosting customer support to help you get out of a disaster if the server gets hacked or goes down? Do they offer you 24/7/365 customer support? If your answer to any of these questions is ‘No’ you should consider migrating your server and moving to a much more reliable and fast Magento web hosting provider.
2. Optimise your store for mobile and smart devices
Earlier this year, Google announced that mobile friendliness is one of the SERP ranking factors and that any website which is not mobile friendly will be penalised and pushed down in the SERP rankings.
Mobile ecommerce is growing every day and it grew by 24% in 2014 – more than twice the 13% growth rate of desktop ecommerce. With over 50% of all online shopping customers purchasing online, it is vital that you do not miss a single lead. Have you seen a downfall in your rankings over the past couple of months? Or do you know if your website is responsive? Run the Google Mobile-friendly test to check for yourself.
3. Make sure pages load quickly, the faster the better
Speed is the key here. Google suggests that the website page load time should be 2 seconds or less. Anything more than that will have a negative impact on SERP rankings. During the busy holiday season having a slow-loading website and product pages will definitely upset your customers and give them a solid reason to leave your website and abandon their shopping carts. Make sure all your website pages load smoothly with no long delays and use the New Relic extension to analyse the potential performance bottlenecks.
4. Make it personal – Do you know what your customers are interested in?
Do you know what the one thing is that Google is good at? Personalised search. That’s the reason we all love Google. Personalising your content and online experience to each individual user according to their history of interests, behaviours and transactions can increase your sales this holiday season. Make sure you check the Magento dashboard and also any other analytics system you have installed to learn what your customers are searching for on your website. You can then offer them extra discounts based on their order history, give them loyalty points and show them what they want to see. Make sure you have enabled related products on your store and receive a potential extra 10% sales growth.
5. Improve and simplify the checkout process – demand less but have more important information
Customers are more likely to abandon their shopping carts during the checkout process when it takes more than a minute to finish the transaction. Have you noticed how Amazon’s checkout process works? According to this survey the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is around 69%— a rate you can easily avoid this holiday season by making the checkout process easy, intuitive, brief and secure. One of the easiest ways to increase your sales is to enable Guest Checkout. If you are targeting a bigger region and your customers are from different parts of the world, offer them prices in their local currency. From my personal experience I have noticed that showing a progress bar, only asking for essential personal information, accepting multiple payment options, auto-filling fields when possible and reinforcing trust with security badges can increase sales.
6. Integrate social media
Does your business have a social media presence? Did you know that during the holiday season customers tend to share their experiences on social media more than at any other time of the year? With that in mind, it’s recommended that you install integrating social media widgets on your site to let your customers bring more perspective customers to you. Let your customers help you to improve your business. More social media shares = more website traffic and sales.
7. Customers love free shipping
According to Magento’s official blog, shipping was the main reason for shopping cart abandonment last holiday season. Either the shipping cost was too high or free shipping was only offered on big orders. According to a ComScore study free shipping drives more sales and gives you an extra edge on your competitors’ websites. Nearly 60% of customers are more likely to add more items to their shopping carts when free shipping is offered on the website. If possible, it would be worth offering free shipping on all your orders.
8. Offer exceptional customer support
Great customer support means more business and sales in the holiday season. Did you know that sometimes during the holiday season customers buy what they don’t need? They buy it just for the sake of buying. How does your business tackle this situation? Do you have a dedicated online chat support or ticketing system to resolve these issues? Do you offer customer support over the phone? If your answer to any of these questions is ‘No’, you need to work on it. From personal experience, only a happy customer can become a returning customer. If you do not offer good customer support you are in the red zone.
From migrating your Magento store to a better web host, and integrating social media widgets on your website, is fairly technical and you may well need an expert to do that for you. Now is the right time to make any changes to your Magento store because I highly recommend not making any changes any later during the Christmas period. Do you think you need help with your website? Get in touch with us and let us help you to improve your sales.