Getting Ready 1: 8 eCommerce website optimization techniques to implement before the festive season.

Updated: Jan 11

Everyone loves shopping, and as the festive season approaches, the general mood around shopping perks up as well. COVID-19 notwithstanding, people are dressing up for online parties and whipping up delicacies for virtual potlucks like never before.

The best time is now for eCommerce websites selling apparel, food, appliances, decorative items, and the like to begin their preparations for the high-volume traffic soon to come. eCommerce website optimization is absolutely critical to making the most of the festive season shopping mania.

In keeping with the festive spirit, we bring you an eCommerce optimization checklist. These tips and techniques for optimizing your eCommerce website will ensure that the buyers who visit your website convert faster and better, and enjoy a seamless shopping and order fulfillment experience.

Let’s get started!

1. Check if your website can handle large visitor volumes

Getting the infrastructure ready to support a high-volume period of buying is like laying the foundation of website performance optimization. Increase your server capacity to support the heavy influx of visitors to your eCommerce website. The surge in user volume must not affect the speed of loading, for one thing. If your pages take too long to become visible, the prospect is sure to lose patience and seek out a competitor. In fact, 53% of all users leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. When lots of people visit at the same time, site times and even the website’s uptime can take a hit. Your developer will be able to help you understand how many visitors your site can handle simultaneously, and how to ramp up capacity if needed.

2. Fine-tune your website experience

Design your festive/holiday landing pages well in advance. Figure out what your audience will expect from your eCommerce store, and equip your pages with the right banners and messaging prompts. When it comes to buying prompts, there is such a thing as too much nudging. By studying past user behavior, you can decide which behavior elements are important to you. For example, if too many people abandon their carts, an abandoned cart email sequence is a must-have nudge. Likewise, if people leave from a product page, you could collect their email address to provide a spot discount. eCommerce content optimization is another critical ingredient. Your product pages have to be more than just pretty pictures. Today’s audience is discerning and spoiled for choice. Provide your shoppers everything they might need to reach a buying decision: high-quality photos, product videos and tutorials on how to use the product, close-ups, accurate descriptions, USPs and highlights, size charts, color and sizing options, bundles, styling suggestions. These are all indispensable to keep the shopper on a buying track. Moreover, people give serious thought to the feedback and reviews left by other shoppers. Make sure that reviews, user-shared pictures, and testimonials are prominently displayed. If there is a coupon or special offer on a particular product, it should be mentioned on the product page to show the buyer what an incredible deal they are getting.

3. Create product bundles

Conversion optimization for an eCommerce website is incomplete without upselling and bundling options. The cart page can also be used to display similar items to the ones your buyer seems interested in, or accessories, or “bundles” of items for a well-rounded look or repertoire. Product bundling is not just a thoughtful addition to your website experience, it also leads to an increase in ticket sizes, moves more of your inventory, and gives you better margins on sales.

4. Design a smooth checkout experience

Think about checkout from a buyer’s perspective: after spending a significant amount of time scanning and shortlisting the products on your website, and having reached a decision, all the shopper wants to do is check out and move on. Nobody wants to see additional costs in taxes, hidden charges, or unexpected shipping costs jump out at them at this crucial juncture. All information must be provided upfront or worked into your price point on the cart page itself. Additionally, the checkout process should not involve more than a single page and must be made up of no more than a few simple, straightforward steps, followed by a variety of payment options. Unless the products are of higher value such as jewelry, it is best to also provide a guest checkout option, and not force a user into creating an account on the website.

5. Check for mobile-friendliness

Make your pages mobile-friendly and ensure that they load fast enough, as a very high percentage of users visit via mobile. In fact, mobile is a purchasing medium to reckon with. You cannot simply focus your attention on website optimization techniques without laying the groundwork for hassle-free mobile shopping. An important element of a mobile-friendly eCommerce website includes an eye-catching page design that is still synchronous with your website’s broader look and feel. Keep the navigation easy and user-friendly. The checkout process on mobiles too should be intuitive and streamlined with minimal steps and a good selection of payment options. Today, many people prefer to pay through standard wallets. An eCommerce website optimized for mobile should be completely devoid of popups that are too difficult to close, distracting ads, and heavy-to-consume content. Remember, the best outcome is a sale- gathering data is a secondary benefit. Anything that prioritizes data gathering at the expense of a sale is a bad idea. Mobile is a great medium to collect personal information with the user’s permission, for example, location info for more personalized product suggestions

6. Build your content framework

Rework the product mix for the festive season by looking through your Google Analytics and Search Console in addition to other third-party tools. If you are already on Shoptimize's growth platform, user analysis, behaviour analysis and other important data points are readily available though insights and recommendations. Analytics are great to help you figure out trends, preferences, and where the shopping activity might be concentrated. Social listening tools like Buzzsumo are another useful element of eCommerce content optimization. Knowing what products are the talk of the season will help you stock your e-store with highly desirable products and ensure that sales are higher.

7. Announce the festive period on the website

Add sticky banners announcing the start of the festive season to the main menu. This will help cement the dates and deals in the mind of visitors to your website, well before the festive sales themselves begin. Sticky banners are less annoying and intrusive than pop-ups, and better received. You can also have an attractive video or a “Festive sale is coming, build your wishlist now!” communication banner which actually can drive action. Sticky banners are a great way to prepare for conversion optimization for your eCommerce website.

8. Communicate your delivery timelines in advance

Give clear and realistic timelines of delivery. And make sure your logistics are up for the job at hand! You wouldn't want customers ordering and receiving your product after the festival date. If possible, get customer feedback ahead of time regarding their experience with your brand, particularly about ordering and shipping experiences, as well as delivery timelines. This will give you a more accurate picture of which of your shipping partners are holding up their end of the deal, and which partnerships should be dropped before any incident or altercation occurs. Similarly, check with your reverse logistics partners: a lot of holiday season shoppers purchase gifts, sometimes gifts need to be returned or exchanged for a different sized item or something else altogether. Your exchange/return pickup systems must also be streamlined so you keep costs low and also deliver a happy experience to your customer.