Tue

10

Nov

2015

The 12 Tips of Christmas for Online Stores: Part 1

The countdown to Christmas has begun! If it feels like it’s still too soon to start singing Christmas songs and putting on the yule log, just remember that an estimated 40% of consumers start doing their shopping before Halloween (yes, some people are really that organized...)

Get your ecommerce store ready for the holidays
So if you have an online store and want to take advantage of the Christmas shopping season, now’s the perfect time to get started. But instead of a typical Christmas countdown, with 8 Maids a Milkin’ and 7 Swans a Swimmin’, we’re recommending 12 tips that you can spread over the next twelve days to get your online store ready for all of Santa’s elves to come shopping. We’ve split it up into two parts, so you can tackle the first few days of tips now, and then the rest in Part 2!

 

 

Days 1-3: Lay the Holiday Groundwork


Day 1: Create individual product pages and add more information to them


Product Page Example With a product page, you can add more information about each product than you can with just a Store Item Element, which will help your customers make a decision. In this example, I’ve added more text, share buttons, a slideshow, a video, and customer testimonials.

 

If you have a store with Jimdo, you’re likely already familiar with the Store Item Element. We recommend taking that a step further by creating a new page of your website for each product you sell, and then putting one Store Item Element on that page.

 

With a product page, you get a lot of benefits. You can really boost the amount of information you share about each product, increase your visibility on search engines, get an individualized URL for each product to share and promote, and have more options to upsell and recommend additional products. Once you put in the initial effort to create the pages, you’ll love the flexibility you get, and your customers will love all the added info. (Check out this blog post for more details on product pages and how to set them up.)

 

Once you have your product pages, you can write more narrative descriptions about each product. Include more details about how they were made, the story behind them, and even more details like dimensions and materials. Add customer testimonials, videos...the sky is really the limit, but all that additional info will help people decide that your product is right for them. For a good example, check out the product pages on Jimdo website Boooo.com. They include a story, video, technical specs, and a blurb about the inventor of every product, plus they use a Form Element to let customers write reviews right on the page.

 

 

Day 2: Spruce up your product photos


Sure, you can add photos to a Store Item Element (and likely already have), but why stop there? With the new product pages you created on Day 1, you can now add additional photos and photo galleries to each product page. High-quality photos from different angles can answer a lot of questions people might have about your product. It also helps to show a picture of a person using the product or wearing it, so customers can get a sense of size and scale. If you need help taking better DIY product photos, check out this tutorial on creating your own inexpensive lightbox.

 

If you have time, it’s also worth taking some product photos that look more holiday-ish to put shoppers in the right frame of mind when looking at your goods. For example you might use a flannel or burlap backdrop with a piece of evergreen, or position your product next to a steaming cup of cocoa or another winter scene.

 

You can also get more creative with how you display photos on your site. Add your Instagram feed so that people can see photos of your products in different settings. You can also think outside the product page—make sure you’re showing off your photos all over your website, for example with a photo gallery carousel on your homepage, like the Jimdo site Black Yeti has done below.

 

Product Photos on Black Yeti website

 

Tip: When you add photos of your products, don’t forget to fill out the Alt Text. This will boost your SEO and help your products show up in Google Image Searches.


 

 

Day 3: Add recommended products and gift guides to encourage more purchases


In a real-life store, a good salesperson knows how to suggest other products a customer might like, based on what they are already interested in. Your website can do the exact same thing.

 

You can set up recommended products manually by adding a few Photo Elements to a Columns Element at the bottom of each product page, with each Photo Element linking to another product.

 

Or, you can use tags and a Store Catalog Element—give similar items similar tags, like “goldrings”, then add a Store Catalog Element to the bottom of each product page.

 

Since people often search for gifts by price point or audience, a fun approach for the holidays would be to create gift guides with different Store Catalogs. You could create a store catalog of “Gifts Under $25” or “Gifts for Dads” using a tag like giftunder25, then put those gift guides either on your product pages or directly on your homepage. (Remember that you have to tag each Store Item Element individually, and that your tags shouldn’t have spaces in them).

 

Add a store catalog to recommend products

 

 

Days 4-6: Focus on Customer Service


Day 4: Make it easy for customers to get in touch


The holidays are busy for us all, but the more you can make yourself available to answer questions, the more confident your customers will feel. One ideal tool to answer questions is through your social media channels. The best way to encourage people to post questions on social media is to provide a speedy, courteous response, ideally within a few hours. If you think you can quickly answer questions on-the-go with social media, you can tell people that on your product pages and contact page.

 

Another option is to install a Live Chat widget on your website—an increasingly popular option for customers looking for a quick answer without having to get on the phone. Setting up live chat doesn’t mean you’ll be chained to your desk. You can set certain hours that live chat is available or turn it off when you’re busy. A few we recommend are SnapEngage, Userlike, and Olark.

 

Live Chat Black Yeti has added a little Live Chat pop-up to their site (in pink) using the widget PureChat. They can set it to “message mode” when they are not available.

 

 

Day 5: Add an FAQ section


If a customer is on the fence about making a purchase, a good frequently-asked-questions section could be just the nudge they need. FAQs can reassure customers and provide answers to some common questions, so they don’t have to contact you directly and wait for an answer. FAQ pages also help your SEO by adding more content to your site and phrasing what you write in terms of some frequently-searched phrases. It’s also a great way to explain your “fine print” policies in plain English so that people can easily understand your policies and have clear expectations.

 

For example, take a look at the FAQ from Jimdo site Bobsmade. Their answers come across as clear and 100% honest, making it much more likely that customers will be confident pressing that “Buy” button.

 

FAQ from Bobsmade

 

 

Day 6: Send a customer satisfaction survey


The people shopping on your site are more than just customers—they’re also a great resource to find out what you’re doing well and help you improve for next time.

 

There are a ton of survey tools and form builders you can use for this purpose, like SurveyMonkey, Polldaddy, and Wufoo. Many of them are free or very affordable to set up. And you have a few options for how to distribute the form. You can set up a pop-up on your site inviting people to take part, invite people to answer through email or social media, or even add the survey to your store confirmation pages and order confirmation emails.

 

As an added benefit, sending a survey shows your customers that you really care what they think and take their concerns seriously. For more tips on setting up an effective customer survey, check out Survey Says! Benefit from Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

 

Ready for more? Check out Part 2 for the rest of our Holiday Online Store Tips!

 


Maggie

Maggie

Content Editor at Jimdo

 

Maggie joined the team to craft the voice of Jimdo for all products and marketing channels. In her previous work, she edited for organizations covering the environment, cities, and sustainable business. When she's not adding serial commas, you can find her camping with her husband, cooking, and reading New Scientist.