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5 ways to get your website ready for the holidays

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62% of shoppers say they plan to buy their holiday gifts exclusively online.

1. Update your homepage with a holiday design.

Shoppers are in the holiday spirit. Is your website? Think of your homepage like your storefront window. If you happened upon it, would it be inviting enough to make you want to come inside? An Adobe survey found that nearly 60% of people prefer to interact with a visually pleasing website3 (rather than one that's simple and plain).

You don't have to do a complete redesign. Some festive touches can do the trick. Add a new background wallpaper with a wintery feel, such as snowflakes. Or deck out your logo with some holly springs at the corners. Depending on your e-commerce platform provider, you may have access to templates that make it easy to switch holiday additions on and off.

 

2. Prominently display shipping options and timelines.

During the holidays, shipping time is essential. Make your website shopper-friendly by creating a chart that spells out shipping options, expected delivery times, costs, and cutoff dates for customers to receive their packages by a certain date. If you've got a brick and-mortar location, consider online ordering with in-store pickup. More than two-thirds of customers4 have chosen that method of delivery more than once and half say they've made decisions about where to shop online based on the availability of in-store pickup.

COVID-19 is impacting shipping times. Fortunately, customers have adjusted their expectations. A study published in the summer of 20205 found that 50% of shoppers think five days for delivery is reasonable, 28% say one week is acceptable, and only 14% expect delivery within two days. However, 18% of shoppers will abandon theircarts6 if the delivery time is too slow. Your customers will appreciate you setting expectations for shipping upfront.

 

3. Update your catalog to make gift shopping easier.

Holiday shopping is stressful, especially for people with long lists. Finding the right gift is the top stressor for 16% of shoppers during December,7 according to a poll from the PBS News Hour, NPR, and Marist.

Make their lives easier by adding gift sections to your catalog broken down by product type or price range. For example, "Gifts under $50" or "Gifts for the Gardener." Then go through your inventory and tag items to display in these new categories.

 

4. Personalize product recommendations.

If a shopper came through your front door, you probably wouldn't ignore them. Greeting online visitors is important, too: 36% of shoppers8 say retailers need to do more to personalize their experience.

An easy way to do this is to install an app on your website that makes product recommendations based on browsing history. Many of today's e-commerce platforms can also recognize the IP address of repeat customers and can display products based on previous purchases. A study conducted by Barilliance, an eCommerce tool provider, found that product recommendations account for an average of 12% of e-commerce site sales.9

 

5. Highlight your gift cards.

During the 2019 holiday shopping season, gift card sales increased by 7%10 compared to the 2018 holiday season. If you aren't offering gift cards on your website, you could be leaving money on the table. Many e-commerce platform providers offer gift cards as a product that you can add.

Gift cards are the most popular requested item last year, 59% of those surveyed for the National Retail Federation's Annual October Holiday Consumer Report put at least one on their holiday wish list.11 Digital gift cards that are delivered by email or text message are also perfect for last minute shoppers. Prominently display them on your homepage.

By creating a great user experience on your website, you can help make the holidays a little brighter for your customers. And you just might put a little more jingle in your pocket, too.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Redpoint Global, "Survey: Holiday Shopping 2020 Will be Fundamentally Transformed," published September 15, 2020, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  2. Deloitte, "A Tale of Two Holiday Seasons: As a K-Shaped Recovery Model Emerges, Consumer Spending Heavily Bifurcated," published September 15, 2020, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  3. Adobe, "Achieving Deliciousness," accessed October 14, 2020. Back
  4. Dan O'Shea, "Most BOPIS shoppers make additional purchases in store," Retail Dive, published February 25, 2019, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  5. Radial, "Retailers Get Ready: Survey Shows COVID-19 Impact Hasn't Disrupted Consumer Holiday Shopping Plans," Cision PR Newswire, published July 8, 2020, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  6. Baymard Institute, "41 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics," accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  7. Laura Santhanam, "Poll: How stressed are Americans this holiday season?" PBS New Hour, published December 21, 2018, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  8. Glen Taylor, "NRF19: 36% Of Shoppers Want Better Personalization, But Hesitate To Share Personal Info," Retail TouchPoints, published January 13, 2019, accessed October 16, 2020. Back
  9. Stephen Seranno, "Personalized Product Recommendation Tips and Stats," Barilliance, published September 6, 2020, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  10. Blackhawk Network, "2019 Holiday Gift Card Sales Growth Doubled Overall Holiday Retail Sales Growth Estimates," Cision PR Newswire, published January 7, 2020, accessed October 13, 2020. Back
  11. National Retail Federation, "Holiday shoppers plan to spend 4 percent more this year ," published October 24, 2019, accessed October 13, 2020. Back