5 Steps to Get Your Website Ready for Holiday Campaigns

online store and holiday campaigns helping customers finish up holiday shopping

The leaves are turning, which means the biggest buying season of the year is upon us. Black Friday officially kicks off the season, but many holiday campaigns start far earlier as eCommerce merchants look to engage customers who are beginning to think about gifts for their families and friends.

That, in turn, means that the planning starts now. Ahead of building your holiday marketing campaigns, you need to make sure your website can handle the influx of traffic, interest, and orders. This guide will help you prepare by building a great holiday campaign from first touch all the way to sales conversion.

The Holiday Season — The Holy Grail in All Things eCommerce

Any online store owner intuitively knows that the holiday season matters. They know that holiday marketing campaigns should take a central role in the annual promotional planning. But it’s still important to consider just how much it matters for your annual revenue.

According to a new report by Deloitte, eCommerce holiday spending is expected to surpass $260 billion this year in the United States alone. That would be a 13% increase over last year, which itself increased 8.5% over 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turbocharged online buying during the holidays, with more consumers than ever going digital to buy their gifts. In fact, according to some estimates, holiday shopping accounted for more than a quarter of all retail revenue in 2021.

The rapid move to digital has made online buying across industries more popular, but some product categories still stand out as particularly popular among online shoppers. According to an eMarketer study from earlier this year, these categories were at the top of holiday spending in 2021: 

  • Apparel and accessories
  • Consumer electronics
  • Auto parts
  • Toys and hobby items
  • Books, music, and video entertainment

Other items, like home furnishing and personal care, were not far behind. The lesson, then, is clear: holiday website preparation is not limited to a specific type of online store. Instead, it should become an essential part of all eCommerce marketing efforts in the second half of the year.

5 Steps to Prep Your Website for Holiday Campaigns

As with every type of eCommerce marketing, your holiday campaigns should revolve around your website. These five steps can help in your holiday website preparation.

1. Prep Your Homepage for the Holidays

As the front door to your online store, your homepage needs to be ready for the influx of traffic you’re about to receive. That traffic, of course, consists of an audience less familiar with your brand or business than the rest of the year, and your homepage needs to account for that fact.

A festive homepage design is only the beginning. Think about what types of information an audience less familiar with your products might be interested in. Highlight specific holiday deals, and create an easy entry point to your store that guides all visitors to the right spot.

2. Create Opportunities to Capture Emails

The influx of traffic you’re about to receive will not automatically turn into revenue. A large percentage of new visitors are likely just browsing for gift ideas and making up their minds as they visit your online store alongside many others.

But don’t let that portion of your visitors leave without capturing their contact information. New and more obvious ways to capture their email and other contact info open the door to a wider range of holiday campaigns. For example, consider an exit intent pop-up that prompts visitors to leave their email for holiday deals before they leave your site.

3. Simplify Your Checkout Process

customer engaging with holiday campaigns for last-minute online shopping

A better checkout process can make a massive difference in turning interested visitors into customers. If it takes more than 30 seconds, 50% of online shoppers will reconsider their purchase. During the holiday season, that checkout process can be the difference between choosing you and a competitor.

Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to simplify your checkout process. Reduce the required information, and include a guest checkout option that doesn’t require customers to create an account. Offer more payment options, and be clear about how the information will be safe. 

4. Create a Category for On-Time Shipping

One of the biggest concerns your audience likely has about online shopping is whether the items they order will arrive on time. Especially as we move into December, and some gift-givers still haven’t finished shopping, they’ll gravitate towards stores that can guarantee delivery at a time they need.

Your website is an opportunity to highlight exactly that and set your online store apart from your competition. Be clear about your shipping options, including any expedited options that may cost more for greater speed. But you can also go even further, like creating a category specifically sorted by products your audience will get in time for the holidays, even with standard shipping.

This more curated list can be visible on your homepage. You can also use it in other holiday marketing campaigns as the big days get closer.

5. Optimize Your Tracking to Gain Insights

Finally, now is the perfect time to think through how you are tracking user behavior, regarding both the pages they visit and the products they order. Look for a few specific insights, like:

  • The top-selling products during the holiday season
  • The products most commonly packaged together in a single order
  • The products that sell well early and those that sell well late in the season
  • The pages most commonly visited on the way to a checkout process
  • The page patterns most visitors take. For example, do they go from the homepage straight to the site search and product pages, or do they visit your About Us page first?

All of these insights can lead to more optimized holiday campaigns next year. They allow you to build more optimized campaigns and promotions while also ensuring that your online store is always optimized to your audience’s preferences.

From Website Holiday Prep to Successful Holiday Campaigns

Optimizing your website for the holidays is a central milestone as you look to optimize your fourth-quarter revenue. But at the same time, it’s only the beginning as you look to build more comprehensive holiday marketing campaigns. Ready to learn more and procure the partnership of eCommerce experts in anything from web development to email marketing? Contact us to start the conversation.