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Satisfying your website visitors during the holidays

Release Date

25 November 2015

With the holiday period fast approaching it makes sense to implement some important steps to keep your website working while you don’t. 

 
The majority of businesses in Australia will operate with reduced (or no) staff during the holiday period. Depending on your specific situation the holiday period may commence as early as mid-December with normal operation resuming mid-January.
 
While most retail businesses anticipate and plan for an increase in sales from November to mid-December, preparations for the website beyond this time can get overlooked or be insufficient. 
 
Benefits of preparing for the holidays:
 
  • Increase sales by providing confidence leading up to shut down by having clear order cut off and shipping ETAs
  • Reduce customer complaints due to un-met expectations
  • Keep the website working while you don’t
  • Maintain hard earned search engine performance, don’t come back to a reduced search ranking
  • Increase ongoing business by converting seasonal shoppers into ongoing customers

What can you do then? Keep on reading to find out. 
 
Site wide communication
 
Many eCommerce and CMS platforms allow a site-wide message to be displayed at the top of all pages. This message can advise site visitors of any changes to:
 
  • Operating hours
  • Shipping times
  • Order cut-offs
  • Shut down period

Given that users may view the website several times before making a purchase decision, it’s useful to update the website early to provide notice and added motivation for potential clients. 
 
Ensure your shipping and returns page is updated to include changes for the holiday period. Consider placing an additional message on the checkout page as your shutdown period approaches. 
 
Leave the lights on
 
If you’re unfamiliar with the importance of regular content to your website’s performance, simply put content is key when it comes to organic traffic growth and ongoing user engagement. 
 
Search engines check for new content on a regular basis and determine whether the website is relevant and up-to-date. 
 
Create and schedule 3-4 pieces of content to be published on your website blog, this content can be syndicated for release on social media at the same time. 
 
Set a future dated newsletter focussed on any New Year sale or upcoming product range changes. If you have a shutdown period, schedule a newsletter to go out the day of reopen with a special offer to get traffic flowing again. As an added bonus you may benefit from additional exposure as your competitors may be less active during this time.
 
Update your emails
 
Most eCommerce website will have a number of automated emails that are sent to clients:
 
  • Newsletter subscription confirmation
  • New account confirmation
  • New order: processing & complete
  • Contact Us’ confirmation email
  • Review these emails and ensure they contain updated and relevant:
  • Shipping ETA’s
  • Customer service hours
  • Return and exchange information
  • Contact information and email addresses

Ensure emails from the website are diverted to an appropriate person during shut down time for monitoring.
 
Long term romance
 
In the lead up-to and during the holiday period you may benefit from greater shopping activity and receive orders from a number of new customers. Take this opportunity to delight these new customers and turn them into ongoing shoppers. 
 
Some methods to do this include:
 
  • Include a delighter with purchase. A small, low value gift in the box that your customer was not expecting builds goodwill
  • Include a season’s greetings card and next purchase discount code
  • Encourage new customers to like/follow your social account for a chance to win a prize
  • Implement a welcome gate to increase signup’s for your newsletter. A welcome gate is a pop-up which opens when a new visitor arrives on-site. You can offer an incentive such as a coupon for 10% off their first order or other bonus in exchange for a signup

Take every opportunity to grow your database for ongoing marketing, convert seasonal site visitors into ongoing business. 
 
Housekeeping
 
  • Leading up to the end of the year is a great time to:
  • Audit the website
  • Remove unneeded accounts from your CMS administration
  • Change passwords and access details for the website administration to assist with security
  • Schedule CMS and plugin updates with your developer to occur during the quieter period of early January
  • Arrange backups of the website ongoing
  • Review the websites performance and investigate how to improve for the New Year, there are many ways to do this. Start with your Google analytics data

For more information on securing your website checkout our recent article Your website is under attack.
 
Australian Business Consulting & Solutions offers practical marketing advice and has a number of marketing and website support packages available to help your business grow.

Joshua has worked with large and small businesses to build their online presence. He is experienced in the project management of ecommerce, general websites, promotional landing pages and email marketing EDMS. Joshua also provides digital marketing coaching to small and medium enterprises in Sydney, helping them achieve better results online. 
 
Joshua enjoys working closely with businesses to ensure their objectives are met on time and on budget, he is Prince2 Practitioner certified and believes in continuous improvement.
 
Contact Joshua to find out how he can help with the support and security of your website: Joshua.Keefe@australianbusiness.com.au 

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