Black Friday was the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season, but today the shopping season includes online sales that start Cyber Monday, the first Monday after US Thanksgiving, and include Green Monday, usually the second Monday in December. For online shoppers, its Cyber Monday, not Black Friday, that reigns supreme. Consumers spend the weekend looking for the items they didn't buy in stores over the weekend. In 2015, online shopping is expected to hit record numbers with $3 billion in sales – a 12 percent increase over 2014.
Is your website ready for online shoppers this holiday season?
3 Things to Check on Your Website before the Holidays
1. Is your website mobile friendly?
Mobile commerce made up 23% of all online shopping in November and December 2014. Responsive, or mobile-friendly, websites are a must for mobile shopping. Most consumers who simple leave a website that doesn't load quickly and is easy to navigate.
- Are your visitors able to easily see your products and services on a desktop, a laptop and a smartphone?
- Is your shopping cart easy to maneuver on a mobile device?
- Are items in a consumer's online shopping cart also shown on a mobile device?
According to TechCrunch, mobile will drive 51% of online shopping on US Thanksgiving Day, with 29% of all sales – up 12% over last year. Mobile shopping will replace desktop shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
2. Holiday return, shipping and delivery policies
Customers have clear preferences and expectations for online holiday shopping, and convenience and options are two of the most critical factors for online shopping. To avoid abandoned shopping carts, audit your website to be sure:
- Shipping and return policies must be clear and easily found.
- Delivery and returns must be convenient.
- Shipping must be affordable. Many online retailers offer free holiday shipping, and consumers expect free or low cost shipping.
3. Optimized product images and descriptions
Online customers can't touch and feel the product, so they rely heavily on images and product descriptions. Do your product images meet these criteria:
- Can images enhance to a larger size?
- Do your images show all angles of the product, and details of the item features?
- Are product descriptions accurate and complete?
- Are customer reviews easy to find?
- Can you easily filter and sort products?
A lot is at stake for small businesses during the holiday shopping season. Make sure your website meets the basic needs your target audience wants.