Strategic Holiday Planning

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it’s not too early to start optimizing your site for the holiday season. This year, Trinity rounded up six areas of focus with questions to consider for implementation to ensure your customers have the best experience possible on your eCommerce site.

Let’s get started.

1. General Festiveness

Are you acknowledging the upcoming holiday season?

Something as small as updating your hero banner for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas goes a long way. Showing your festive spirit, shows the human side of your brand. Additionally, greeting customers with environmentally relevant imagery and messaging increases the consumer’s trust that the brand is engaged and responsive.

Do you offer special touches for the seasons?

Consider offering gift wrapping services or multi-ship options where relevant or feasible. These options present you as a one-stop shop with full convenience for the holiday season.

2. Guided Product Selection

Do you have curated gift guides?

Promoting curated categories and/or recommendations for gift giving (items under $50, seasonal items, ideas for family members, personalized items, etc.) and additionally a discovery tool such as a gift guide or product finder can help solve a pain for consumers who are in need of ideation. 

3. Holiday Offers

Do you have timely offers available?

Are you offering special one-day doorbusters? BOGO offers? Make sure your offer is known. 

  •  Are instructions for receiving / qualifying any offers clear?
  •  Are the offers displayed in high traffic and relevant areas? 
    • If you’re offering a deal on women’s shoes, not only promoting globally, but specifically on the women’s shoes category page as well.
  • Downplay or remove less timely offers that may act as a distraction.
    • More specifically, offers that are constantly in play on the site may not be as enticing to customers during this time. Use your best judgement as to whether each promotion is relevant or if it becomes noise against the other offers.


Are you creating urgency?

By building urgency, you can also in turn be educating your customers as to when your sales are, or how much time is left in the shopping season.

  • Create Countdown for Sales that are short lived opportunities (Black Friday / Cyber Monday)
  • Let them know when their last chance for a timely gift is: “Order by XYZ to get it by Christmas Eve!”

4. Ordering Anxiety

Do you have clear shipping expectations listed?  

Customers are concerned with when their purchases will arrive, including what is the last date they can order by to receive it before Christmas.

Is customer service easily accessible at all steps of the purchasing process?

Shopping for others can lead to more questions around sizing, functionality, and compatibility.  Along with making sure your products are accurately described, ensure your customers have access to customer service at all steps of the purchasing process. 

Additionally, provide easy access to general store policies: 

  • Is your return / exchange policy clear and easy to access?
  • How does the product ship? Does it arrive in an unmarked box or the product box?

Are you displaying clear stock messaging on each product?

Be upfront and honest with customers about the inventory of products.  Alert them when stock is running low, or when something will be shipped later than expected. This helps build your relationship with the customer beyond the holiday season.

5. Ease-of-Use Experience

Are you using promo codes?

Ensure the process of entering the code is simple.  Consider applying the code automatically for users when they reach the conditions, or adding the code with the click of a button on a promotion.

Use upsells that promote a ‘one-stop’ shopping experience

Do certain products benefit from the purchase of an accessory also available on your site? Be sure to let your customers know and create an easy way for them to add the second item to their order.  This can be done directly on the product page as well as the cart page.

Promote relevant merchandising that would appeal to gift shoppers. 

Create product lists of ‘Best Sellers’, ‘Just in Time for Christmas’, and more, to help direct customers to areas of interest.

Promote gift cards for undecided shoppers.

Not only is this a great option for those who don’t quite have the perfect gift in mind, it is a major opportunity for specialty stores based on need. For example, a parts manufacturer: you may not be purchasing a carburetor for a Christmas gift…but a gift card would be nice to have on hand when something happens down the road.

Is it easy and intuitive to use a different address for shipping than what is used for billing? 

Now more than ever, it’s important to recognize that customers may be spending the season apart, so make sure shipping their gifts to another address is simple and intuitive. 

Additionally, do you have a multiship option? Make sure it is promoted as it may be a major selling point to customers.

6. Built for Speed

How is your Google site speed? 

The speed of your site could be the deciding factor for someone deciding to shop with your or your competitor. Holiday shoppers are ready to move fast, so ensure your site is ready to move. Consider tackling smaller effort / higher impact areas highlighted by Google page insights before the start of the season.  Something as simple as compressing your images may be a gamechanger.

Does your checkout allow for a guest checkout or sign in?

Being required to create an account can be a major deterrent for some customers as it seems to kill their purchasing momentum. Consider providing a guest checkout option with the opportunity to create an account later in checkout. We understand that this is not always possible for every store. If you must require an account, be sure to utilize the information you just collected to populate the same fields in checkout.  Having to fill out the same information twice is not ideal.

Review your payment options

Do you accept modern payment types that offer quicker, one step checkout options? (i.e. Paypal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.) More and more customers are using these services to speed up their checkout process, particularly on mobile. If you have time before the holiday season, consider looking into these options.

45 Ways to Boost Conversions

Get our free 30 page guide packed with ideas on how to grow conversions this year with our 45 Ways to Boost Conversions Guide (PDF).

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