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16 tips for ecommerce holiday season success

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Oct. 3, 2013
Ecommerce and online marketing experts share their tips and strategies on how you can prepare your online business for the holiday rush and get holiday shoppers to buy from you.

And to avoid costly downtime, "make sure you have website monitoring tools in place which will alert you of sluggish performance and/or downtime," says Sean O'Brien, director of Marketing, Pagely, a provider of managed WordPress hosting.

"This is a step that often gets missed and is probably the most important. Do not wait for customers to alert you of any issues with your hosting infrastructure," O'Brien says. "You want to identify and fix it before they even realize it occurred, [using] tools [such as] Yottaa, Pingdom, Web Metrics or New Relic."

7. Make products shareable. "Encourage your customers to share favorite products from your site across their social networks by integrating social media [Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+] buttons onto pages," says Geoff Brash, cofounder and vice president of Business Intelligence, SLI Systems, which provides full-service site search, navigation, merchandising and user-generated SEO. In addition, "show the likes, favorites and recommendations of other influencers within search results and help your customers find social mentions quickly by indexing content from various social sites in a separate tab on the search page."

For visual companies, "Pinterest's PinIt button is ecommerce gold," says Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, a marketing and analytics platform for Pinterest and Instagram. "Adding the button can drive substantial traffic directly to your product pages, increasing revenue," he says. "It's easy to do, takes minimal real estate and gets your products in front of an audience of over 70 million users"

8. Make checkout easy. When gearing up for the holidays, "run a few short A/B tests on your cart-to-checkout process," says Linda Bustos, director, Ecommerce Research, Elastic Path Software.

"This should be spearheaded by marketing, not IT, but the CIO should understand the importance and enable marketing to run these tests if they need IT help," Bustos says. "You can get amazing wins with A/B and multivariate testing, and there's lots of tweaks that can be made to prevent leaving money on the screen."

9. Optimize your copy. "Do your listings describe your products or do they sell them?" asks Aaron Wadler, CEO, ShopPad, an ecommerce plugin for the iPad and tablets. "Features rarely make the sale, so you should seek ways to emphasize the benefits," he says.

"If you carry products that aren't unique to your store, use [unique] product descriptions to say something new and enticing. Besides the avoiding the SEO penalty Google puts on duplicated content, this is also a good way to make sure you are not just competing on price," Wadler says.

10. Use video and 360-degree images. "If you're not already utilizing the power of videos and 360-degree photography, you should start, immediately," says Brooks Robinson, CEO, Springbot, an ecommerce software provider.


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