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Tips to Increase Online Sales for the Holiday Season

Black Friday sales were 15.9% higher than last year, plus spending per order increased by 12.1% according to Coremetrics, which collects data directly from the web sites of more than 500 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Petco. Black Friday not only successfully kicked off the holiday shopping season, but it also provided some insight into important consumer trends.

Tips to Attract Online Holiday Shoppers to Your Website

By looking at the results of Black Friday and other research conducted for this holiday season, the trends that stand out most are that customers are researching more before making a purchase, resorting to using social sites to find promotions, making purchases from mobile devices, and opting to purchase gift cards when they cannot decide on the perfect gift. Details of these trends can be found in Black Friday Results Reveal Online Trends for this Holiday Season.

1. Optimize Product Pages

Verify that your product pages include clear and informative product descriptions, photos of the items, and that the prices are visible. If offering discounts or promotions, ensure that they are displayed on the product pages – not only on the homepage. Customers are increasingly landing directly on the product page instead of the homepage when searching, so do not count on the homepage to notify customers of promotions.

Include a “Related Products” section on product pages so that customers can easily see if there are other products that they may be interested in. Coremetrics found that consumers are viewing 18% fewer products on websites than they did last year and advises that these individuals are browsing with a certain product in mind. So try to retain them on the website by showing products that they may be interested in.

2. Offer Promotions on Social Sites

Consumers are reviewing their favorite brands’ social networking site in order to get the latest information on deals and offers. Facebook is the most popular social site that consumers are using to find information. If the business does not currently have a Facebook fan page, it takes about five minutes to create one. Promote the fan page on the business’s website and notify the readers that special promotions will be offered there to all their fans. One of the easiest ways to offer Facebook fans promotions is by e-mailing them a coupon code that can be used to obtain a discount in the store’s online shopping cart.

3. Be Mobile-friendl

If your website is not currently optimized for mobile phones, it may be too late to fix this for this holiday season. However, if the business is on a platform, such as Joomla or WordPress, it can upload a mobile plug-in and do minor tweaks in order to become mobile-friendly. Since this trend is increasing each year, if the business is not able to become optimized for mobile phones this year, it should be placed on the to-do list for next year. Online retailers experienced a 5.6% increase of mobile users on Black Friday, according to Coremetrics, which was a 27.7% increase from the Friday before.

4. Provide Gift Cards

NPD Group surveyed consumers about gift cards and found that 34% of those surveyed plan to purchase gift cards. It is also interesting that 22% of the females they surveyed responded that they were not likely to purchase from websites that do not offer gift cards. If the business does not currently offer online gift cards, find out if the shopping cart software offers this feature -– which has started to become a standard feature. Ensure that the gift card option is clearly displayed in the store and customers can easily add it to their shopping cart.

Increasing Online Sales this Holiday Season

It is encouraging to see the holiday season off to such a good start with the results of Black Friday. Take advantage of this high level of consumer activity by attracting and retaining these consumers by optimizing product pages, offering promotions on social sites, being mobile-friendly, and providing gift cards.