10 holiday shopping changes to make right now to your ecommerce site

By Vangie Beal, CIO |  IT Management, ecommerce

7. Improve Access to Customer Support

During the holidays, providing customer service that exceeds expectations is priority No. 1 for online retailers. Harper, of Bigcommerce, suggests giving customers easy-to-locate and easy-to-use customer support tips and contact information. Audit your site to make sure this is the case. "Businesses also need to make sure measures and staff are in place to respond to customer questions and comments at a moment's notice," he says.

Gagliardi, meanwhile, recommends offering a toll-free customer service number and putting that on your website. "When we do this for clients, we don't actually see a real uptick in customer calls-but we do see an increase in close ratios because customers have more buying confidence."

8. Offer Flash Sales, Coupon Codes and Daily Deals

A popular type of online sale to offer this year is a flash sale, in which you set a really good deal for a short period of time-a few hours, usually-and promote the sale heavily on your website, in email and on social media. (To do these types of sales you need to prepare in advance and make sure servers can handle the upswing in traffic.)

"It's similar to door busters that you find in brick and mortar stores," Gagliardi says, adding that this type of sale proved successful for Digital River's clients last year and is expected to drive sales again this year.

How-To: Use Groupon to Boost Your Ecommerce Business

Vendio's Effle also recommends promoting daily deals on your website to keep shoppers coming back throughout the season. This encourages shoppers to visit your site every day to see the "Offer of the Day." He also recommends that you make your daily deals and free shipping promotions available through coupon codes.

"You can then go to all the coupon sites and add your listing," Effle says. "This gives you even more exposure (and potential sales) than just including it for buyers who are already looking at your site."

9. Be Special-and Show It on Your Main Page

In order to stand out, experts recommend posting specials and bundle offers on your main website pages. Alibaba.com's Lee says giving buyers something special is one of the main secrets of a successful ecommerce business.

"Spend time developing something that your customers wont find anywhere except at your store," he says. "For example, you can offer some services for free or provide coupons for future visits with each purchase."

Gagliardi recommends using product bundles to spice up your holiday promotion on-site and to give customers something unique. These could include bundling paper and ink with printer purchases or offering immediate discounts on the purchase of two video game titles.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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