Getting ready for Christmas: How to optimise your Shopify store in time for the peak season

Jon Kennett
19 July 2023

Brands should be preparing to optimise their Shopify store for Christmas now. Yes, you read that right. Now, in the summer, as the sun shines down on us and temperatures are soaring.

Whilst it may seem early to start preparing for the festive season, successful e-retailers understand the importance of timely preparation for the holiday season.

Getting Ready For

The festive season represents a huge portion of online retail sales and there are several proactive steps brands can take to make sure that their websites can keep up with the surge in demand. From making your most attractive offers front and centre, to understanding your customer's onsite behaviour, it's vital that you're set up for success, and providing exceptional customer service during this busy time. Creating a positive experience for new customers will likely see a return visit after the holiday rush - and fostering long-term customer relationships will build advocacy and brand loyalty. 

With the summer months seeing many people taking a much-needed break from the day-to-day, there tends to be a bit of a lull in sales. Instead of taking a step back, take this time to start optimising your Shopify store for the Christmas season surge. 

Optimising Your Shopify Store

Online shopping is the norm on the run up to xmas (apart from those mad dashes into town on Christmas Eve to get a last minute gift for Auntie Debbie). If you haven't updated your website in over 3 years, it's time to reflect and think about whether you need to make any key optimisations. Let’s look at these five key tips on how to work on your Shopify store to get ready for rush early. 

Mobile Optimisation

We know the majority of online shoppers use their smartphones to browse and shop; in fact, statistics show almost three-quarters of all online store visits can be attributed to the mobile channel. Mobile shopping is here to stay, so make sure your Shopify store is optimised for mcommerce! What are some important areas of mobile optimisation to cover? 

  • Mobile performance: Mobile page speed is a crucial core metric that influences a number of factors including user experience and SEO. Most visitors will wait up to 3 seconds for your page to load before they bounce, so your website needs to be lightning quick, especially during peak periods! 
  • Mobile UX: Make sure your menu works well and is easy to navigate on mobile. Are your primary CTA (call to action) buttons easily clickable with a finger tip? Take steps to make your site easy to use on modern devices. 
  • Broken links: Take yourself on your customers journey, make sure all of the important parts of your site are working, and ensure there’s no broken links creating friction in their journey.

Smooth Checkout Process

Nobody likes a clunky checkout process, so simplify yours by getting rid of unnecessary steps to get those conversions! Give your customers multiple payment options, like credit cards, PayPal, or Apple Pay. Include a guest checkout feature to make life easier for first-time buyers. And hey, during the holiday season, throw in some free shipping or promotional discounts to make their checkout experience even sweeter.

Improve SEO to Drive Traffic

Getting search engines to notice you is not an easy task, but with a well laid out plan of action, you'll be driving organic traffic to your Shopify store in no time. There's a plethora of handy SEO apps available that integrate seamlessly with Shopify such as Yoast. Start by optimising product pages, category pages, and blog posts with keywords and meta tags. Make sure to do your research to find popular, holiday-related search terms and cleverly sprinkle them throughout your content. Craft compelling meta descriptions and make those page titles click-worthy. 

SEO is always a work in progress and takes a while to start showing real results, so why not start ASAP! This will help you stand a better chance of improving organic visibility in time for the peak season.

Increase Sales with A/B Testing

A/B testing is a powerful technique to find out what really works for your store, whether it's different versions of your web pages or marketing campaigns. Shopify has some built-in A/B testing capabilities to make this even easier for you. 

Test different elements like product images, call-to-action buttons, and component layouts. Dive into the results, analyse the data, and make smart decisions to optimise your store for maximum conversions!

Implement Chatbots for Basic Queries

Brace yourself, the holiday season means more traffic, but that also means customer inquiries and support requests will flood in. You can ease the load on your customer service team by adding chatbots to your Shopify store. These chatbots can tackle frequently asked questions, recommend products, and even process simple orders. By automating these tasks, you'll improve response times and give your customers a delightful experience that'll keep them coming back for more.

More Tips and Tricks

  • Range Planning: What products are you going to present to consumers as their must haves? Make sure you have a wide enough range of products for different consumer tastes and budgets. 
  • Site Refresh: Does your product imagery need updating? You can do a seasonal range shoot to present your Christmas range, and I don’t just mean adding snowflakes to your logo!
  • Gifting Options: Christmas is the season of giving and your website needs to support that! Add things like gift vouchers, optional gift wrap, gift cards, and gift messages.
  • Optimise Shipping Options: How about setting up a basket option to add multiple items, each of which can be shipped to a separate address! 
  • Menu Navigation: Add some options specifically for a 'Christmas' collection or landing page. Here you can get creative with your sub-menu navigation options, such as 'Gifts Under £20', 'Gifts for Him/Her', or 'Gifts for Fashionistas'.
  • Buy enough stock, you don’t want to be your own downfall!

So there you have it! Get ready for Christmas early by following these tips to optimise your Shopify store. Implement these ecommerce strategies well in advance, and you'll stay ahead of the competition while raking in those holiday sales. 

Looking to learn more about how you can optimise your Shopify store? Check out what we can do for you

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