The Ultimate Holiday Sales Checklist Part 2: Prepare Your Web Store

In Part 1 of the Ultimate BFCM & Holiday Sales Checklist, we share tips on how to prepare your holiday season offer and its promotion. In this article, we’ll focus on your web store: how to optimize it for receiving more visitors, ensure they make a purchase, and receive complete analytic reports.

Download The Ultimate Holiday Sales Checklist with 80 actionable steps that walks you through eCommerce business preparation for the sale season: from marketing to tracking results. This holiday sale plan will help you meet your revenue objectives.

1. Add the “Running out of stock” field

FOMO (fear of missing out) has been proven to be a powerful driver of sales. Letting your website visitors know that some of your products are running out of stock may spark a sense of urgency and motivate people to buy them.

To be able to automatically add the “Running out of stock” field, search for “out stock apps” on Shopify App Store, BigCommerce Apps Marketplace, and WooCommerce Extensions.

2. Check your web store speed

Website speed is crucial for your eCommerce business. Over 50% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds. If it takes more than 3 seconds, 57% of visitors will walk away. 80% of visitors who leave will never come back to such site again. Just like that, all your hard work invested in your promos goes down the drain if your online store is “slow.”

To avert this disaster, go to Page Speed Insight by Google to see how much time it takes your site to upload. Aim for 2-3 seconds. If your online store is slower, try these 13 ways to improve your website speed.

3. Have your web store ready for traffic increase

Holiday sales are the time when numerous shoppers will decide to visit your store. It is great news, as it means potentially more sales and more people to retarget later. However, what happens if your store is not ready for a traffic increase? All the visitors that won’t be able to access your site will look for a similar product elsewhere.

As part of your Black Friday and holiday sales preparation, contact your hosting provider to find out what is the maximum traffic allowed. If it is lower than you expect, upgrade your plan or ask for a temporary increase for the holiday sales.

4. Optimize the mobile version of your store

Make sure the shoppers’ experience on your website is flawless no matter what device they use. First, to ensure that your website works as intended on mobile, test it yourself. Focus on the following tasks:

  • Browse product collections, use the search field, and apply filters.
  • View product photos and descriptions.
  • Add items to cart.
  • Go through the checkout process.
  • Contact Customer support.
  • Find and view FAQs, Refund Policy, Privacy Policy, and Terms and Conditions pages.

Second, test your website with Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This service by Google provides insights into how easy it is for people to navigate your website on a phone. Also, you can check a list of typical errors on the mobile version to make sure your store doesn’t have them.

5. Set up Facebook analytics tools

Facebook analytics tools help you kill two birds with one stone. First, they help you track the performance of your Facebook ads. They will tell you how much you have spent on your campaigns, how many people were reached, and how many purchases were made after seeing your ad.

Second, these tools enable you to retarget your store visitors with relevant products. Also, you can create lookalike audiences similar to your customers.

Take these three steps to set up Facebook analytics for your web store:

  1. Verify your domain in Facebook Ads Manager. Without this step, you will not be able to manage your Facebook Events, and as a result, run efficient ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Add Facebook Pixel to your store to track visitors’ behavior on your website and the conversions.
  3. Prioritize Facebook Events in the Events manager. With the iOS 14 updates, Facebook had to make changes in how the events are tracked. To view meaningful reports about your digital ads, you need to select 8 events to track and prioritize the most important ones.

6. Set up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a must for eCommerce store owners as it offers you data that is important for making business decisions. You will be able to view how much traffic your store gets, where it comes from, and how people interact with your content. All this data will help you optimize both your holiday sales marketing campaigns and business processes.

Once you set up Google Analytics, go to Benchmark reports. It will shed light on how well your store performs compared to competitors. To see the report, go to:
Dashboard → Audiences → Benchmarking.

If you have a Search field on your website, find out what people are looking for. This will explain the market demand and if your store meets it. To be able to view these insights, go to:
Dashboard → Behavior → Site Search → Overview.

7. Connect heat maps and activity logs

Facebook and Google Analytics are not the only tools that give you rich data. For example, heatmaps offer you information on how well your website converts and what needs to be improved. Such tools record user sessions to see how exactly your store visitors behave on your site. With heatmaps, you can see where exactly people click, what content they view, and how much time they spend at different sections of your web pages.

Activity logs are another crucial instrument that provides you with the necessary data for your store optimization. This tool helps you get rid of blind spots that kill your revenue. Checkout errors, page load time, session duration, peak activity, and the visitors’ location are some of the findings which activity logs uncover.

8. Test your checkout process

The average cart abandonment rate amounts to nearly 70%. Many of those happen because of the poor checkout process:

  • 24% of people leave because the site requires shoppers to create an account.
  • 18% leave because of a complicated checkout process.
  • 17% leave because of not seeing a total cost.
  • 12% leave because of a website crash.
  • 7% leave because of a lack of payment methods.

With these points in mind, go through your checkout flow to see if any of these problems appear. Make sure that your checkout supports the most common paying systems such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, as well as PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

9. Prevent cart abandonment

Even if your checkout process is fast and smooth, some people will still leave your website for different reasons. However, you can try to change their mind. Add a pop-up that appears when people are about to walk away leaving products in cart. You can offer free shipping, a discount, or a bundle of products at an attractive price.

Even when people do abandon their carts, it doesn’t mean the purchase will never happen. If you run automated ads with RetargetApp, you may bring potential customers back with Retargeting and Enhanced Cart Recovery campaigns. These ads will target store visitors and those who added products to cart based on the products they have seen.

Finally, set up a Cart abandonment email sequence. You can send visitors links to their abandoned carts manually — from Abandoned checkouts in Shopify Admin — or automatically. Read this article to see how you can set up such emails for Shopify stores.

10. Add a live chat to your site

This tweak helps turn visitors’ doubts into purchases. With a live chat, the answers to questions that stop people from buying are one message away. A live chat will ensure a smoother user experience and will increase your chances to drive sales.

Make it available on the pages people see right after clicking on ads and links in newsletters. Also, add it to the most important stages of the buying process: viewing cart, checkout, providing a shipping address, etc.

11. Add holiday sales banners to the website

The fact is that the holiday sale promo is not going to be the only channel from which people will go to your website. Some may end up on your online store by recommendation or from Google. Tell all your visitors right away what they can get this holiday season.

The best way to do so is by adding a banner to your homepage, as well as the most visited pages. On the banner, clearly explain what the offer is, when it starts, how long it lasts, and how people can benefit from it.

Also, make sure that your new banner doesn’t overlap the existing ones. Turn off other banners that you had before the holiday sale to avoid overlapping and prevent visitors’ cognitive overload.

12. Update product descriptions

Make sure the description of all products on your website features essential information such as size, materials, product features, manufacturer, country of origin, and other details important for your type of product.

Also, include buzzwords in your description, as people are more likely to pay attention to them. Consider featuring the following words:  “limited offer”, “only one left,” “limited edition”, “limited stock”, etc. Additionally, you can use Google Trends to research keywords for your description. By doing so, you will make it easier for people to find your products.

Finally, don’t forget to review images, as they are the first thing a person will pay attention to on your site. Double-check if all your product photos are of high quality and adequate size, and clearly demonstrate the product.

13. Explain your conditions

Unclear conditions are another dealbreaker that leads to card abandonment and killing conversions. However, all this can be easily averted. First, clearly outline your Shipping Policy: how much you charge for it, what the minimum order value for free shipping is, how many days the shipping takes, etc.

Second, update your Refund Policy. Having a Refund Policy page is great, but not everyone will look for it. To resolve concerns fast, add links to the Refund Policy page in your FAQs, footer, and checkout.

Update your Privacy Policy. Make sure it clearly explains how user data is collected, used, stored, and shared. Also, don’t simply ask for users to accept your cookies, but explain that they are needed for a personalized experience.

Lastly, improve your Frequently Asked Questions. Think of the issues that you have run across with customers over the years and cover them in your FAQs.

14. Optimize the way products are displayed

The easier it is for shoppers to find what they look for, the likelier they are to buy from you. Since the majority of products are bought as presents during holiday sales, create product collections such as “Gifts for Him,” Gifts for Her,” “Family gifts,” etc.

Next, help people find your products on sale faster. For example, add filters that enable shoppers to group items by discounts. This will motivate people to browse through deals on your web store and potentially spend more.

15. Add reviews to your website

Throughout the years of running a business, you have most probably receive some great reviews from your clients. This holiday sale is the perfect time to share these reviews with the world. Add the most favorable customer feedback to your home page and product pages.

If you have customers’ feedback on Trustpilot and Google Reviews, feature widgets of these services on your website. Such social proof is likely to convince people to buy from you.

To have even more customers reviews, enable customers to rate products.

Conclusion

Your web store is the key tool in your eCommerce business. That is why it requires a lot of preparation before BFCM and Holiday season sales. Follow the steps above to warmly welcome customers to your store and encourage them to buy your products.

To make sure that you don’t overlook any of the important steps for the upcoming holiday season, we have prepared The Ultimate Holiday Sales Checklist: 80 Steps to Prepare for Sales in 2021. Download the checklist to make sure you have prepared everything from marketing and website to logistics and analytics.

Join over 10,000 brands
who grow their sales with RetargetApp
Automated Facebook ads for Shopify and BigCommerce.