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How to prep your ecommerce store for holiday shoppers

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Oct. 8, 2015
Ecommerce, security and digital marketing experts discuss 16 steps ecommerce business owners and managers should take this fall to maximize holiday sales.

“If your pages are graphics-heavy, include videos and other slow-loading content, make it your top priority in October and November to streamline pages and decrease page load time,” Bougher says. “The tolerance for slow-loading pages is low and performance expectations are high, especially during the stressful and hurried holiday season.”

“Every second your customer spends waiting for a webpage to load is an opportunity for them to click over to your competition,” adds Rob Garf, vice president, Industry Strategy and Insights, Demandware, an ecommerce software platform provider. “One CIO told me that his developers painstaking fine-tuned their homepage so it would load a total of six-tenths of a second faster. Another retailer said that every 1 percent increase in page load time equates to a 7 percent reduction in conversion,” he explains. “Those are real numbers. Every second matters, especially during your busiest time of the year.”

4. Show that your site is secure

Security is top of mind for many online shoppers these days. So “installing a high-assurance SSL/TLS certificate on your website is a must,” says Flavio Martins, vice president of Operations, DigiCert. “Merchants should consider going that extra mile to get an EV SSL certificate that comes with the added trust indicators of a green address bar, green padlock and your company's name in the browser address bar,” he says. “Recent research shows that more than half of consumers surveyed recognize that the green padlock indicates added trust, and you need to give your customers reassurances that they can safely do business with you.”

5. Ensure you’re properly stocked – and can re-order inventory quickly if necessary

“You should never miss out on a sale due to lack of inventory,” says Cameron Priest, CEO, TradeGecko, an inventory and multichannel management platform. This is particularly critical during the holiday season, when shoppers will immediately go elsewhere if you don’t have what they want in stock, ready to be shipped. “Prior planning will reduce [or eliminate] this [problem],” he notes. “However, it’s imperative to invest in [or have] a tool that can set reorder points when inventory falls below a certain threshold.”

6. Staff up

“Your customers expect the same attention regardless of your order volume,” says Ryan Gronlie, client service manager, CARiD.com, an online aftermarket auto parts retailer. “Make sure that all of your customer touch point channels (including phone, email, chat and even social media) have the appropriate amount of staff to assist and interact with your customers throughout the holiday season.”

And “display your hours and contact information in highly trafficked areas throughout your site and be sure to adhere, if not best, your expected response times,” he says. “Exceptional customer service during the holidays can change a one-time buyer into a repeat customer.” 

 

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