With the holidays upon us, here are some helpful tips to help make the most out of this holiday season. Work on implementing some of these tips for an easy way to boost sales and profits.

1. Prepare in advance – you could receive 40-60% more traffic
Speak with your hosting company to see if your server will handle a massive increase in traffic and discuss options for adding resources to handle extra traffic. 57% of customers will leave your site if your page takes longer than 4.3 seconds to load. Limited number of warehouse staff for processing orders or customer service reps for dealing with customer communications? Staff up temporarily for the holidays to keep customer service levels high and to keep up with extra orders.

2. Go Mobile
Every year, mobile eCommerce increases by 100-150%, you need to make sure you are not missing out on this market. This could be a custom implementation by your developer or quickly installing a mobile theme that you’ve purchased from the web. There are a number of mobile solutions out there, but our favorite is MobileNow for Magento – it’s quick and inexpensive, and you get to customize the theme – (www.mobilenowapp.com)

3. Check inventory levels
You will be selling 30-40% more this holiday season, some eCommerce sites sell as much as 80% of their yearly volume in the weeks between Black Friday and Christmas. You need to make sure to have a good handle on stock levels and purchasing plans at this time of year. Have your most popular items in stock and factor in time for potential supplier delays which may affect your ability to fulfill orders promptly for your customers. Running out of items will cost you sales now and will likely affect your future sales as well.

4. Check for bottlenecks
Slow page loads will most definitely turn off your visitors and cause them to leave losing you sales! Grease the wheels a bit by performing some site optimizations or upgrading your hosting for the season. There are a number of free services out there, such as webpagetest.org and pingdom.com – which will give you a free analysis on how your site is performing.

5. Get Social
Advertising can be time-consuming and expensive. Let your customers help take some of the weight off your shoulders! Make sure you have implemented some social sharing features (facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc.) so your customers can share their favorite products with their friends.

6. Add more product media
Sometimes, just seeing a photo or two of a product isn’t enough to give the customer a full picture of what you’re selling. This is a suggestion that applies regardless of the season, but implementing videos and 360 views of your products will increase customer confidence and increase conversion. Show off your products by providing demo videos and tell your customers the whole story.

7. Ramp up email marketing
As the holidays come around, all of those newsletters that you’ve signed up for start sending out tons of emails prompting you to go their site and check out their deals, use this special coupon code or check out their new products available now. These companies do this for a reason – IT WORKS! Spend some extra time on putting together exciting marketing emails with a good call to action to push your customers to visit again.

8. Implement a PPC strategy
If you don’t already use PPC, start right away. People are searching for what you sell, they just need to be able to find you. If you can spend some money to increase your traffic and get targeted visitors, this is a no-brainer way to generate additional sales on your site.

9. Offer Free shipping & Expedited shipping discounts
Studies have shown that customers expect free shipping and are more willing to purchase from sites that offer free shipping. You don’t need to offer free shipping on all orders, but offer a free shipping at a minimum order threshold such as $50 or $100. This will encourage customers to add more products to their order to reach that minimum threshold increasing your average dollars per order. Also, there are plenty of procrastinating shoppers out there – so be sure to set up shipping options that get presents to people before Christmas!

10. Add trust logos and security
It’s very cheap to purchase an SSL certificate for your site – we like www.comodo.com. Also, add trust logos to your site once you are SSL secured, have paypal or merchant services partnerships, and add the credit card logos.

11. Incentivize your Customers
Incentivize customers to buy early – Offer special promotions to customers who purchase early. Encourage your customers to buy now rather than wait it out for a better deal by giving them a special perk for doing so: Free upgrade to Expedited shipping, 10% of gift cards purchased before December 15th, or guaranteed holiday delivery for orders placed by a certain date.

For more ways to improve your site for the holidays, feel free to contact us at info@redstage.com to see how we can help you boost your holiday sales! Good luck, and Happy holidays!