Is your company web site ready for the season?

Sing along to the Tune of “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”:

“All I want for Christmas is more clientele, more clientele, more clientele”.

It’s that time of year when retail kicks into overdrive and many businesses will make or break their whole year based on what happens in the next few weeks. If your website makes it easy for customers to quickly get the information they need, it can be a competitive advantage and contribute to a business getting its share – and then some – of the season’s business. Make sure your company’s website is ready to do its part in contributing to your retail marketing success this holiday season.

Here are some reminders about key features that customers will be looking for on your web site:

WHERE is your business located?

If your business has one or more brick-and-mortar locations, make it easy to find an address. If your business is totally online, providing an address is essential to build trust, especially with people who have never bought from you before.

  • Is your address easy to find, and does your website include directions, a map, and/or landmark references?
  • Is it easy to park near your store? Is it easy to get there by public transit? Don’t assume everyone knows the answer; let people know.
  • Is it easy to find your phone number, and can people click to call? Can you accept text messages? Do you have a contact email address, and does your web site indicate how quickly someone can expect a reply?
  • Are you listed in Google Places (it’s free), and have you optimized your listing? Get our latest research on how to optimize Google Places listings by joining our mailing list.
  • Google Shopping feed; are you serving up the latest product prices and specs from your website?
  • Are you advertising where your customers are? (think in-store digital signage, social networks, search engines, lifestyle web sites, etc..

WHAT is your competitive advantage?

Do you have any featured sale items, new products or gift suggestions to make shopping choices easier? Which items are you featuring on your home page? This can be very useful for gift shoppers who aren’t sure what they’re looking for.

Can people browse your website for ideas by price, colour, size, or other creative categories (e.g. gifts for him, gifts for her)? What perks do you offer? (e.g. rewards, coupons, free stuff, package deals, extended warranties, in-store repairs, financing, etc.)

As a retailer…

  • Are you taking advantage of the group buying trend?
  • Are you using your email list for special seasonal promotions?
  • Does your web site let shoppers know if you offer any shopping conveniences like child care, free coffee, gift wrapping, or temporary coat and package check-in to let people shop in comfort?

WHO are you talking to?

Are your customers old, young, married, or single? Do they shop alone, or with friends, families, or extended families? When looking for an effective channel for advertising online, consider how their audience aligns with yours, as well as considering their traffic volume and reach.

HOW easy is it to buy from your company?

Is your online ordering process streamlined, efficient and effective? For brick-and-mortar operations, how late are you open? Remember to update this information on your web site if you have special seasonal hours. This is really important for people who are trying to fit some shopping around their work or kids’ schedules, and might even be the first thing they are looking for on your website.

  • Is your return policy clear and easy to find on your web site?
  • What are your cut-off dates for ordering before Christmas to ensure delivery?
  • Do you accept cheques, debit cards and all the major credit cards?
  • Can customers check your stock online?
  • If not, do you offer any information about what’s in stock or how often you re-stock popular items?
  • Do you let people create wish lists on your web site?

WHY should anyone buy from you?

Your company is the best because…? One of the fastest ways to make customers comfortable is to offer social proof: customer reviews, testimonials and star ratings all push the right buttons and tell us that others have made the decision already and it worked for them. It provides emotional support to reinforce the decision to make a purchase. Product specs and data can be important to help people make a purchase decision, but combined with social proof it can be much more persuasive.

I think you get the idea; imagine someone finding your business online either from a desktop computer or a mobile device and ask yourself what kind of information they will be hoping to find fast to make their gift shopping easier. Happy Holidays!

P.S. Have you done any usability testing on your website? Contact us for a free consultation on any aspect of your digital marketing.