5 Site Usability Tips for an Awesome Ecommerce Holiday Season

Posted by Speed Commerce

A good user experience is tantamount to a successful ecommerce site – and it’s never more important than during the holiday season. When time is of the essence and everyone’s offering the deal of a lifetime, your site better be easy to navigate and quick to load; otherwise, customers will quickly head elsewhere to make their holiday purchases. Don’t sweat it, though – we’ve got 5 tips to help get you ready for them.

1. Don’t play when it comes to traffic

Can your website handle sudden spikes in traffic? How about 2-3 times your normal pageviews? Nothing can kill an ecommerce transaction faster than a slow site (or one that crashes suddenly or doesn’t load at all). Avoid the negative impact of more holiday sales by adding back-up servers or beefing up what you already have prior to your first big holiday push.

2. ‘Tis the season to be testing

Nothing should ever go live on a site (or in marketing period, for that matter) until it’s been thoroughly tested. Check every link on your revamped homepage, ensure every beautiful product image loads properly, and proofread every piece of new copy that hits your site. View your site on mobile, tablet, and desktop and check its load times. And for the love of all that’s holy about the holiday season, please test and retest all of those sweet offer codes you’re pushing in your promotions through your ecommerce platform before you release them! When FREESHIPPING doesn’t discount shipping at the correct shopping cart size, people get heated.

3. Let everyone in on the love

You may think that your web team (or outsourced agency, if you go that route) should be the only ones who know your website inside and out. NO WAY! Everyone in your organization should be familiar with what you’re telling your customers: warehouse employees should understand the FAQs and returns policy information, while contact center agents should know how to walk customers through the entire checkout process, as well as current offer codes and promotional information to provide good service.

4. Overcommunicate when appropriate

Let’s say that adding embroidery to an apparel item adds another 3 days to the order lifecycle. If you don’t communicate that on your product pages, or anywhere on your site, you’re going to have some extremely angry customers when their packages arrive 3+ days later than expected. The solution? Overcommunication! Whether it’s a free-shipping threshold, a specific nuance in the returns process, or an additional lead time to an order, you need to let your customers know to avoid confusion and unnecessary grief for your customer support team to handle. If you don’t have an FAQ page, consider adding one – and if your holiday policies vary from your non-peak policies, make sure you update your copy everywhere to reflect that.

5. Make site navigation a breeze

For many ecommerce retailers, the holiday season is an excuse for bold-colored graphics and flashy banners. That’s fine, but make sure that your promotions and penchant for holiday cheer don’t interfere with the usability of your site! Site search should be easy-to-locate and programmed to work with holiday-themed words in search results. To make finding the perfect products easier, consider adding season-inspired categories to your site: if you’re an apparel retailer, perhaps a ‘holiday party’ section with little black dresses, glittery dress shirts, or even ugly sweaters; if you’re in the home decor space, consider a ‘Christmas Eve dinner’ theme with matching home goods to create the perfect atmosphere on December 24th. The sky’s the limit!




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