5 (Mostly) Fast Ways to Optimize Your Website for Holiday Shoppers

October 30, 2015

Ecommerce sales could reach $ 2.5 billion this Cyber Monday, if the rate of increase of previous years stays roughly the same. That’s up from just $ 48 million in 2005, when the NRF first coined the phrase.

Cyber Monday sales

As we said earlier this week, it’s OK if you’re a procrastinator, and haven’t finalized all your Cyber Monday ecommerce tactics yet. But be warned: Cyber Monday is just 40 days away.

Today we’re going to go over some specific tactics you can use to boost sales this holiday season.

1. Make it easy to figure out your friggin’ shipping situation.

Better yet, just make it free S&H site-wide.

I know, I know, easier said than paid for.

But according to this Forrester report, lots of retailers offer shipping and other site-wide promos during the Black Friday weekend:

“Of the 50 retailers we’ve evaluated since 2010, no less than 50% have offered free shipping (with or without a threshold) on [Cyber Monday]. Additionally, retailers find that sitewide offers often generate more sales than traditional “doorbusters”—single-product promotions available in limited supply for a limited time.”

You may even look for ways to leverage messaging around your fulfillment locations. For instance, if a last-minute holiday shopper is located near one of your fulfillment locations, display a message to that customer assuring them that the shipment will arrive on time.

Here are a few examples from real campaigns:

Free S&H examples

You could also try adding a countdown clock to individual day or holiday shipping cutoffs, so visitors will know if their purchases will arrive on time. For example: “Ships Today” vs. “Ships Tomorrow” messaging can help last-minute shoppers make up their minds.

Por ejemplo:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.16.36 AM

2. Segment like it’s hot.

Yeah, you should always segment your experiences. But segmentation in Q4 is different in a couple ways.

  • Holiday shoppers are different than your everyday shoppers. A significant proportion of your traffic may be interacting with your brand for the first time, and may be just looking for a gift.
  • Thanks to the compressed timeframe and increased traffic, testing initiatives can have an even bigger impact and in less time.

Here are some segmentation ideas for new customers:

  • Build specific messaging for new customers, calling out new website functionality and featuring tips on how to shop.
  • Highlight service differentiators and trust factors.
  • Test acquisition offers to create long-term value with customers. e.g. a coupon to save on a future purchase is a great way to promote subsequent sales and engagement with new customers.

For those who haven’t made a purchase since last year around this time:

  • Greet the customer with a welcome-back message.
  • Call out important website features or changes since last season and offer quick/easy navigation.
  • Highlight email signup to help keep them engaged throughout the year.

3. Put a badge on it.

Use product badging to promote seasonal callouts and help your visitors find the right product at the right time. Try highlighting the best gifts of the season for Dad/him or Mom/her, stocking stuffers, limited-time offers, and more.

Another option: Test different badges on different products to see which ones resonate the most with visitors.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 12.42.37 PM

4. Turn off your stupid product recommendations.

Unless you already have smart product recommendations, in which case: AS YOU WERE. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Endcaps and product recommendation boxes are great ways to increase conversion rates from holiday shoppers. Try tweaking the items you suggest based on the whims and needs of the holiday shopper. That’s what we call smart product recommendations.

You may wish to group recommendations by gender (i.e. if they’re looking for socks for guys, display other popular items for men). You could also showcase best-selling products for the holidays or top-rated gifts.

5. Make it hard to get lost.

Help your visitors find the holiday specials they are looking for by promoting new and seasonal website areas with new navigation bars.

Another option: Try targeting relevant and quick navigation elements based on shoppers’ previous product and category activity.



Sources for Cyber Monday stats: comScore (2005–2009; 2012–2013; 2013–14).

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