Right now, today, is the ideal time to start planning for the 2021 online holiday shopping season. With your final sales figures sharply in focus and the selling experience that characterized 2020 still freshly felt, an honest evaluation of your e-commerce site cannot wait.
Truth or Consequences
As a former small business owner, I always took the time during or immediately following a holiday to write down what I thought went right, what went wrong and what could be improved. An honest and thoughtful critique while still “in the moment” allows you to build on successes and prevent repeating costly mistakes.
By evaluating your holiday online activity and incorporating the changes and improvements into your e-commerce marketing plan for 2021, your business will benefit significantly both now and well into the next holiday season.
Did you create enough buzz?
You can have a beautiful website and loads of inventory, but traffic and sales will be a bust if no one knows you exist. While it seems easy and inexpensive, do not rely solely on Facebook and Instagram for promotion. Studies have shown that you may reach only 7% of your potential market!
Expand your outreach with a strong and affordable marketing plan that targets your demographic WELL IN ADVANCE of any special events – especially during the holiday season. Take heed of the proven “Rule of Seven” marketing formula. Consumers need to hear or see the same message seven times before they take action. Press releases, radio advertising and underwriting are still relevant. Schedule your advertising accordingly.
Increase your ROI with well planned, targeted marketing.
Did your e-commerce software meet or exceed your expectations?
- Were payments processed swiftly and securely?
- Did you receive real-time sales reports?
- Were funds deposited and detailed in a timely manner?
- Were requested reports designed to meet your needs?
- Did inventory control integrate accurately – or were you left holding the bag?
- Were gift cards processed smoothly?
- Does the software allow for future growth?
- Do you need additional third-party tools/apps?
- Was support available and helpful?
When it comes to e-commerce, do not compromise efficiency, accuracy and ease of use. If your chosen e-commerce program was frustrating and problematic, consider upgrading or making a switch before next season. Excessive troubleshooting can be an expensive and stressful waste of time and money.
Does your Content Drive Traffic?
Never underestimate the power of words. Driving qualified and motivated buyers to your site depends on strong key words and descriptive content. If your content is too general, you may get many visitors but few conversions, increasing your bounce rate and resulting in a lower SEO ranking. Bouncing is very bad for business.
Evaluate the strength and accuracy of your product pages, titles, meta titles and meta descriptions. The more specific the better.
Is there optimization on all platforms – especially on mobile devices?
- Did the site load quickly?
- Is your server capacity adequate for increased traffic and demand?
- Is the desktop interface tailored to match mobile features?
- Are photos and text easily legible on mobile devices?
Providing a positive customer experience (CX) is critical to the success of an e-commerce site. Search and access your site multiple times on multiple devices. Take notes.
Can a conversion occur in seconds with minimal clicks?
- Is the site clearly and easily navigable?
- Are entire product pages skimmable in one scan AND feature a CTA?
- Is the search box easily found?
- Can a consumer scan, click, purchase, sign out and sign up for a subscription or email list quickly and seamlessly?
The public is impatient and impetuous. A swift and simple process translates into sales.
Are your product photos sharp and accurate?
Sale or no sale? It all can depend on the quality of the photo. People are visual decision makers and will judge your business or product based solely on first impressions.
Investing in high quality, professional photos will significantly increase conversions.
Does your e-commerce site convey security and credibility?
- Is your SSL certificate valid and obvious?
- Are your payment options trusted and familiar?
- Are the payment logos listed in plain sight?
- Do you prominently display the digital seals for your computer security company?
- At checkout, do you provide information about guarantees and return policies?
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Does your site “feel” legitimate and secure? Are you confident that your transaction will be safe?
Are customer reviews easy to read and leave?
Recent statistics reveal that 88% of people trust and are influenced by reviews from other consumers. If you have confidence in your product and customer service, and have a history of positive reviews, make sure that reading and leaving a review is a simple, one-click process.
Check out the Industry Leaders.
Re-inventing the wheel is never a good strategy. However, researching the strategies of the best in the business IS a good move.
Take time to visit and navigate the e-commerce sites of some of online’s industry leaders. You know who they are. While your small business may not be competing for sales with sites like Amazon and Chewy, it would be wise to note how their purchasing process works, and what methods you may be able to employ on your site in 2021.
Carpe Diem! Seize the day and make your e-commerce site better than ever in the New Year.
IMC Interactive Media Consulting, LLC is a highly respected leader in the design and customer service of e-commerce sites based on the latest version of WordPress. Contact us today to find out how we can help you boost your online sales in 2021 and beyond. www.imediaconsult.com