Getting an ecommerce website ready for holiday sales take more than changing to a more festive theme and colours. It’s about making sure your website is ready to take orders and optimized for social commerce across many platforms.
In 2014, holiday sales rose 4.0% to finally reach $616.1 billion. This year, US retail ecommerce holiday season sales growth will dip slightly this year to 13.9%, vs. 14.4% in 2014, while US retail mcommerce sales are projected to rise 32.2% in full-year 2015. By the end of 2016, 25.0% of all retail ecommerce sales in the US will take place via mobile devices.
According to eMarketer, this year will also be a real test of a new wave of social commerce. Over the past year, all the major social networks – Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube – have introduced “buy” or “shop now” buttons that make it easier to buy from ecommerce sites, especially on mobile devices.
Facebook and Pinterest are the social networks responsible for the most referrals to retailer websites, which means retailers are most interested in their buy button offerings. There are a number of options that social networks offer ecommerce sites to boost their visibility and sales this holiday season.
Is Your Ecommerce Website Prepared For Holiday Season?
Facebook’s Ecommerce Options
Facebook has some great tips to help ecommerce sites boost their holiday sales. They recommend that you start by segmenting your audience into loyal customers, recent purchasers or past holiday purchasers, and then align them with offers and promotions that make sense to them.
Facebook also recommends using Custom Audiences to target people on your mailing list. These are warm leads that are already familiar with your products and are more likely to convert.
They recommend having an “always-on” retargeting strategy for the holidays. This allows you to retarget visitors who have visited your websites but not purchased. You can retarget that person with an ad that includes the product they viewed but didn’t purchase. Facebook’s Link ads and Carousel ads are also good options for targeting holiday visitors, as long as you have great creative options for each.
Facebook’s ad options for local and ecommerce retailers include Buy buttons to help businesses drive sales through Facebook in News Feed and on Pages. Their Call-to-Action buttons have 5 actions: Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now or Download.
To make sure you can track all traffic and conversions from Facebook, you can create a conversion pixel to put on your website that tracks check-outs, registrations and leads. The Facebook pixel can help you track your ad’s performance, calculate ROI as well as create Lookalike Audiences based on people who have already converted.
If your ecommerce site is built on WordPress, you can use the Facebook Conversion Pixel plugin to implement this easily.
Facebook’s Local Awareness ads also offer local retailers these four call-to-action buttons that let them connect with a local audience and drive offline sales.
• Send Message. Get private messages directly from your advert in News Feed.
• Call Now. Get calls from your advert in News Feed and speak directly to potential customers.
• Get Directions. Let people be guided directly to your location from their phones.
• Learn More. Send people to any page on your website to give them information.
Pinterest’s Ecommerce Options
Pinterest has a lot of options for ecommerce retailers. The article here offers four tips to integrate Pinterest for ecommerce sites, so that you get more sales via Pinterest. They include:
• Adding a Prominent Pin It Button To Your Site
When you add the Pin It button to your site’s pages, you let your customers save things they like onto Pinterest, where they can create their own wishlists for purchase later.
• Configuring Your Pinterest Open Graph Meta Tags
Product Pins (one type of Rich Pin) offer additional information, such as price and availability of the product, that’s linked back to information from your website. Pinterest offers instructions to implement Rich Pins for your ecommerce site, including Schema.org.
Schema.org supports multiple products and offers on your page. However, it doesn’t support a site name field. Pinterest suggests that you also include your site name using an Open Graph og:site_name tag.
To implement Rich Pins on your WordPress ecommerce site, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin and the WPSEO Pinterest Rich Pins for WooCommerce. This plugin adds Pinterest Rich Pin data to WooCommerce product pages. Also ensure that your Facebook Open graph information is added to the pages.
Once you’ve implemented the Rich Pins metadata across your website, you need to validate your Rich Pins using the Rich Pin Validator. Validating one link enables Rich Pins across your site without needing to enter in each URL.
You can use Pinterest’s Promoted Pins option to sell your products on Pinterest. These native ad units perform just as well, if not better, than organic Pins, helping people discover and save ideas for their future.
Retailers in the US, can use Buyable Pins (pins with a blue price), to let visitors on iPhone and iPad buy things without ever leaving the Pinterest app. Buyable Pins work seamlessly on mobile, too.
Recently, Pinterest launched its own option for local retailers, allowing users of the Pinterest iOS app to be able to make phone calls and get directions to brick-and-mortar locations from within the app. They will also be able to see store hours and tips left by previous visitors.
The new feature is an extension of Pinterest Place Pins. Pinterest pulls in the location data via the public Foursquare API, so local businesses that want to use this option should make sure their info on Foursquare is accurate.
Google Adwords has been a staple for ecommerce sellers even before social networks started offering buying options.
Search Engine Journal recommends you link your Adwords with your analytics account and import your conversion data. For the 2015 holiday season, it helps if you make sure your Universal Analytics is prepped to capture information about ecommerce transactions. You can use the Google Universal Analytics plugin to implement the code on your ecommerce site.
Search Engine Journal also recommends using Product Listing Ads and splitting your best-selling products into separate ad groups, so you’re able to control the bidding more efficiently and ensure maximum exposure according to the ROI of that individual product.
You should also create separate Adwords campaigns and landing pages for mobile customers, and conduct A/B testing to find your best performing landing pages and offers.
Holiday Specials and Content
Another way to get your ecommerce website ready for holiday season is to create special offers and content for your holiday shoppers. Ideally this content should be created and published a few weeks before shopping season begins because it takes a while for it to show up in the search engine results pages.
You can use a WordPress plugin like WP Exit Popup to advertise special offers, coupons and discounts using exit popups, especially when a shopper is about to abandon your cart. Use it to prompt and encourage them to go back to the shopping cart page, so they can continue where they left off.
I hope you found these tips useful in helping to prepare your ecommerce site for the holiday season. If you have any suggestions of your own to share, do post them in the comments below.