Get Your Website Ready for the Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday season is upon us and with it the frenzy and joy of holiday profits.

According to eMarketer, U.S. retail ecommerce sales will grow more than 15 percent this year to $61.8 billion, up from $53.7 billion in the 2012 holiday season and $46.6 billion in the 2011 holiday season. Are you ready to take your share? Or more important, is your website ready?

The holiday season is upon us and with it the frenzy and joy of holiday profits. According to eMarketer, U.S. retail ecommerce sales will grow more than 15 percent this year to $61.8 billion, up from $53.7 billion in the 2012 holiday season and $46.6 billion in the 2011 holiday season. Are you ready to take your share? Or more important, is your website ready? Here are four things to check are in order:

1. Your website’s SEO:

If customers can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. How far is your business website from the top of the search results? Do you even make the first page? Consider outsourcing to an SEO expert or make an appointment with a local SCORE office to learn how to improve your SEO. Find your industry’s keywords by using Google’s Keyword Planner and Bing Keyword Research.

2. Your website’s m-commerce:

  Sixteen percent of U.S. online sales will come from mobile devices this year. Ecommerce sales from tablets will total $26 billion, accounting for some 62.5 percent of all m-commerce (mobile commerce) sales. Make sure your website is mobile friendly by searching for your site on all types of smartphones and tablets. When you include too many large images and graphics, it takes a long time for websites to load, especially on mobile devices.

3. Your website’s shipping policies:

Consumers have come to expect free shipping offered either all the time or when they’ve spent a certain amount. Fast shipping options and an easy return policy will also encourage shoppers to spend more money on your site.

Your website’s customer service: Especially during the heavy shopping season when consumers are picking out gifts for those they might not normally buy for, there will be tons of questions about your products or services. Have a frequently asked questions (FAQ page) so customers can find the answers they need, put your contact information up top with a phone number to call and email address, and consider adding a pop-up webchat feature so customer service employees can answer questions as they arise. 

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky, Co-Founder GrowBiz Media and SmallBizDaily.comRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at twitter.com/rieva and visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.