Make Starting an Online Store a Priority This Holiday Season
This article was originally published on the Web.com blog.
Online shopping is projected to greatly increase this holiday season.
A well-organized online store will help you attract more customers and generate greater revenue.
WebsiteBuilder and Web.com has the eCommerce and online resources you need when starting an online store.
Online shopping has been a growing trend for years. Add to this the fact that more people are making purchases at home due to the pandemic and the end result is a projected busy holiday shopping season. The message is clear: to gain your share of this incredible influx of revenue, you need to be prepared – and that means making sure you have an eCommerce site that makes it easy for your visitors to become online customers.
After what has been a challenging time for many businesses, this is your chance to build your revenue stream and create momentum going into the new year. Whether you need to create or enhance your online store, now is the time to make sure you are ready for holiday shoppers. Let’s take a closer look at ways you can build a better online store and cash in on what appears will be a festive and profitable holiday season.
Organize your online store
Website visitors appreciate and are more likely to make purchases from a well-organized online store. Start by making sure your eCommerce site is easy to access and navigate. Click through every phase of the buying process and double-check that all transactional elements are workingproperly and are easy to follow. Review your product descriptions, photos, and videos and give website visitors everything they need to make a buying decision. Once people leave your site without making a purchase, they typically don’t return.
Nearly 90 percent of all online shoppers say having multiple ways to pay heavily factors into a positive buying process. Encourage online purchases by clearly displaying all of the methods of payment you accept. Spotlighting your credit card and other payment options can prompt website visitors to take action. Make it easy for online shoppers by giving them more reasons and more ways to buy from your online store.
Prepare for increased traffic
When starting an online store, you need to be sure you can handle customer traffic all year long. With more people projected to make online purchases than ever, your website needs to be ready for the holiday season. Monitor the speed of your website to ensure it is highly responsive and functional. Online tools like Cloudflare and Speedtest can help you test and improve your site speed. A fast-reacting site is important for desktop, laptop and mobile applications.
While shoppers will be excited to make purchases online, they will also expect a responsive user experience. Over half of all website visitors will leave a site if a page takes longer than three seconds to open. Optimize your photo files and web pages so they load quickly and are fully functional. Review your navigation bar and make sure site visitors have an easy path to find what they are looking for. Site functionality is key to a smooth online experience for your customers.
Secure your customers’ buying experience
Build online buyer confidence and protect your customers’ private data and shopping experience with SSL certificates. From account pages to shopping cart checkout, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates let your customers know their private data is protected and your website is trustworthy. An SSL padlock logo tells customers that they are in a safe and secure environment to make purchases.
SSL certificates use an encryption process to protect sensitive data from online hackers. There are three types of SSL certificates: Extended Validation (EV SSL), Organization Validated (OV SSL) and Domain Validated (DV SSL). While the encryption levels are the same for each certificate, the vetting and verification processes are different. There are also specialty SSL certificates available.
For example, if you have an eCommerce subdomain like "store.yourdomainame.com" then you will want to get a Wildcard SSL to indicate protection on all subdomains. If a customer sees the padlock icon disappear and "Not Secure" when they hit your store page, they probably won't make a purchase from your online store. Securing and maintaining SSL certificates for your site is important for helping online shoppers feel comfortable with your online buying process.
Add a little holiday spirit
Make your website more festive by adding holiday-themed borders and graphics throughout your site. Tweak your site copy to include a few holiday references in your headlines and in your product descriptions. Thank your website visitors on your home page, acknowledging that it’s been a tough year for many and thanking them for their patronage. Send a bounce-back email for every purchase with a thank you message and consider including a bonus seasonal discount offer on future purchases.
Gain more online revenue by starting an online store
Make the most of the holiday season and your eCommerce section with a professional online store from Web.com. This offering makes it easy to list new products and upload details to your online store. It also allows you to accept all popular payment methods, including PayPal, credit cards, Afterpay, Square, phone orders and mobile payments. If you already have a website, Web.com can add a Pro Store to it. To complete the picture, the Pro Store package also includes security features, hosting, a domain name and a professional email address.
Make sure you have a solid shipping plan
Just as you need to be prepared for a potential influx of online store traffic, you also need to be ready to ship products as orders come in. Being able to fulfill your orders in a timely manner is just as important as ensuring a smooth eCommerce experience. Some decisions you'll need to make to ensure you're ready to ship include:
Shipping rates. Will you absorb the cost of shipping or pass it on to your customers? If you plan to offer optional fast shipping options, make sure you understand what your costs will be for each tier, so you can adjust your pricing accordingly.
Packaging. Will you use packaging from a major carrier or your own branded packaging? Will you offer specialty packaging options, such as gift wrapping?
Location. Will you ship your products domestically or internationally?
Returns. What is your policy for returned items and how will you process them?
Nailing down these basics ahead of time will help you avoid frustration down the road. The particular options you choose are up to you; customers mainly just want to see a clear and consistent shipping policy in place.
Make your holidays even happier with a professional website
Following this guidance will help you to make the most of the holiday season and attract more customers and revenue. WebsiteBuilder’s DIY online store builder and Web.com’s customized websites make it easy to create the eCommerce experience your customers deserve.
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