This year, businesses and consumers are looking forward to the holiday season more than ever. Read these important tips to help you prepare for the holiday season by optimizing your business's ecommerce strategy.

The holiday season is an important time for many businesses, but the 2020 season is shaping up to be unlike any other. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you may be counting on an influx of holiday shoppers to boost your business’ revenue and bounce back from a challenging year. The good news is you can prepare yourself with a solid holiday e-commerce strategy to net more profits this season. 

Use a modern, mobile-friendly design

Whether it’s a consumer’s first or tenth time landing on your website, it should be easy to find the products they need and make a seamless online purchase. According to data from Statista, about half of all global web traffic comes from mobile devices so it’s vital to implement a modern website design that works well on both desktops and mobile devices.

It’s easy to let the months and years pass without investing in a website overhaul, but online design trends and technologies evolve over time. Therefore, it’s a good idea to review your site every few years and make updates. With so many customers shopping online during COVID-19 and doing all their holiday shopping virtually, it’s the perfect time to give your business an online facelift.

Take all common forms of payment

Have you ever been frustrated when shopping online or in-person to find that you can’t use your favorite credit card or digital wallet at checkout? It’s important to avoid frustrating setbacks for your customers, as a poor payment system can cost you a sale at the last moment.

In addition to using merchant services to process purchases made by debit card or a major credit card, consider accepting payments via electronic funds transfers and digital wallet services like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal. Some savvy sellers offer pay-over-time services like Splitit to make larger purchases more affordable for cash-strapped customers.

Streamline your holiday e-commerce checkout process

If you look at large retail websites like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, you’ll likely notice that the entire website experience is designed around urging consumers to add products to their cart. Once an item is added, the experience shifts to encourage users to click the checkout button and pay.

Even if your website seems easily-accessible to you, it may not be easy for your customers. By using analytics, A/B testing, and customer surveys, you can find opportunities to improve your conversion rates. That means more sales and more revenue for your business.

Invest in quality website hosting

According to data from search expert Niel Patel, nearly half of customers expect a website to load in two seconds or less. And for every second it takes to load, you could lose 7% of your site’s conversions. Depending on your sales volume, that could add up to hundreds of thousands — or sometimes millions — of dollars in annual sales.

In addition to great web design, investing in high-quality website hosting can put your site on your customers’ screens in the blink of an eye. For larger sites, adding more advanced tools like a content delivery network (CDN) and load-balanced servers can further improve your site’s performance.

To test out your current setup, consider running your website through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, which offers information on page speed and how to improve it.

Put security at the forefront of holiday e-commerce

If your website is hacked, it could put your entire holiday e-commerce strategy in jeopardy. Don’t wait for a problem to arise to implement website security. There are plenty of high profile stories where large retailers face the damaging consequences of hacked customer information. Small prevention efforts can save your business from potentially catastrophic losses.

Security is a multi-layered undertaking for even the smallest business. From basic lessons on email security for your staff to complex firewalls and encryption, it’s always worth the effort to stay one step ahead of digital bad actors.

Meet your customers where they spend time online

To connect with your ideal customers, it’s important to go where they’re already spending time online. That could be a popular social network like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or search engine advertising, which puts your brand in front of more customers.

In addition to advertising, however, your business should actively engage with customers. Be present to respond to any complaints and be proactive about creating a positive customer experience. When customers can interact with your brand on social media, they may be more likely to turn to your business when they’re ready to buy.

Manage your online reputation

Great reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google could help you solidify potential leads. But bad reviews can turn away would-be buyers as they’re deciding where to spend their money. That means you can’t ignore online reviews.

It’s wise to create owner accounts that allow you to claim your business’s online listing. That gives you powerful tools to shape what people see when they visit the listing page and respond to both positive and negative reviews. Keeping a positive attitude and helping customers enjoy an excellent experience is the best way to build customer loyalty and repeat business.

Optimize your holiday e-commerce strategy

Holiday e-commerce is no longer optional. It doesn’t matter if you run a traditional retail business, a restaurant, or a service business, your holiday e-commerce plan matters. In the age of COVID-19, it could be the key to success this holiday season.

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Santander Bank does not make any claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial or tax strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.
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