There is no doubt that the holidays have started — there is the familiar scent of pine and cold in the air, office parties are gearing up, Black Friday has come and passed — but have you thought about the shape your site is in?
With everyone in the gift giving mood, customers and potential customers will be searching online for products and are likely to discover your site this holiday season. Here are some things you can do today to make sure your site (and you) is prepared for the holidays:
- Holiday Messaging: Remember your manners. Your site is the virtual storefront/representation of you and your business that can be seen worldwide. Thus when posting your holiday messages, keep in mind that all of your visitors don’t celebrate the same holidays. Using secular messaging like “Happy Holidays” and seasonal graphics go a lot further than “Merry Christmas” when speaking to all your visitors.
- Timing: Don’t be the website that keeps the Christmas lights up all year long. Because major retailers push the holiday season earlier and earlier every year, there seems to be no concrete holiday messaging start-date. But not removing the messaging in a timely manner can make it look like you don’t maintain your site and that it’s out of date. We all like the holidays, but if your logo is still covered in snow in June you’re probably really late or extremely early for the next holiday season.
- Low Inventory: Yes we have no bananas. Nothing is more frustrating for shoppers who need that last gift to come to your website, place the order, pay for it, and then a week later get an email saying the item is sold out/back-ordered/no longer available. Take the time when setting up the offer to add “only 10 remain in stock” or “sold out” and “will be back in stock on…” messages. Using messaging like this works in your favor: first you communicate the uniqueness of the offer better; second you show a sense of urgency and finally if it’s out of stock but coming back you’ve almost guaranteed a return visit to purchase the item then.
- Location: Where are you located anyway? Sure, the web allows for a certain amount of anonymity, but when you’re a merchant with a website, it’s important for you to have contact information and location on your website. Just as much as you don’t want to waste your time answering calls or emails about your products and services to people outside your service area, those individuals don’t want to waste their time being told “we don’t deliver to or service that area”. Remember your site is available to a global market, so make sure your location and/or contact information can be found on your site.
And finally, since the holidays mark the end of the year, and the beginning of the new one, the time between Dec. 25th and Jan 1st, is a great time to not only shape up your site, but to clean it up. Look for out-dated information, typos and broken links. If you have an FAQ section are those really the most frequently asked now?
We’ll leave you with this thought — when you leave your store for the night, you straighten up the shelves; when you leave your office for the day, your papers are in order and ready to go for the next task…why shouldn’t your website be in order too?
With these quick simple changes, you can update, celebrate and grow your website this year into the next!
We’d love to hear from you — what are you “Holiday Website Shape Up” tips?