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The holiday season seems to be starting earlier this year with even more competition for shopper attention.

But based on some recent studies by Google and VWO, here are some relatively easy things that you can do to improve your share of the holiday purchase pie. 

1. Make sure extra charges (like shipping or handling charges) are declared upfront. 

Online shoppers hate surprises and unexpected costs like these are the number one reason for cart abandonment.  And free shipping is still a great incentive with 24% of shoppers surveyed willing to spend extra and buy more for this perk.

2. Offer a guest checkout.

Shoppers also tire of having to set up yet another account.  Setting up a streamlined checkout with the minimal information needed helps significantly reduce shopper exit rates.

3. Create clear, easy error messages.

If potential customers struggle with resolving errors during checkout, they frequently end up abandoning a site. Make sure that your error messages highlight the problem and how to fix it.  (For example, “Please use date format MM/YY” versus “Invalid Date”.)

4. Sweeten the pie for shoppers walking out the door. 

In one study, 54% shoppers say they will purchase products they left in their cart, if offered again at a discounted price.  This can be done by putting in a pop-up box that appears as visitors in your checkout funnel move the mouse to leave your site, or by using retargeting ads that pop up after the visitors leaves.

5. Consider freebies beyond free shipping. 

Free shipping is now expected by most shoppers, so look to other incentives like gift cards, discounts, personalization, gift-wrapping, and digital products (ebooks, etc.).

6. Include reviews.

55% shoppers say reviews are important to them to make a buying decision.  This trend continues to rise with shoppers referencing 5 sources of information in 2010, 12 in 2013 and likely even more this year. Highlight some of your favorite customer reviews or endorsements from the press or bloggers on your website.

7. Make sure your offers and checkout are mobile friendly.

In 2013 52% of online smartphone shoppers used their phones throughout the shopping process during the holidays.  That percentage will only increase this year.

About the Author(s)

Jeanne Rossomme headshot

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.

President, RoadMap Marketing
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