With exactly four weeks to Christmas Eve, the end of another year is in sight, and most South Africans will be getting ready to take their annual holiday and get their gift shopping sorted.  For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales with hobby, toy and game stores reporting the highest percentage. However, with the current dip in our economy, customers will be more selective than ever about where they spend their hard earned cash. Here are a few tips for optimising your site to attract more eyeballs this festive season.

Beyond ensuring fast, efficient website performance, there are a few other things you should keep in mind when prepping your e-commerce website for increased holiday traffic.

Display, display, display – Physical retail stores often set up special holiday displays during the shopping season. You can take a similar approach to your website. Dress up your digital channel just like you do your brick and mortar. But this doesn’t necessarily mean adding Christmas trees and flashing lights to your homepage. Update your content to be more upbeat, and tie offers of your products to festive dates like Christmas, New Years, Black Friday etc. and highlight why this product or offer will delight the customer.

Check your site speed –  Large photos and interactive elements could slow your site down significantly, meaning all your effort to make a gorgeous website could get wasted because the page doesn’t load in time for the consumer. Make sure your Web hosting solution has the necessary bandwidth and speed to support higher holiday traffic.

Customer support – Holiday shoppers want a positive customer experience, so make your contact details easy to find on all pages of your website in case customers have questions about their orders. You may even want to consider adding temporary help to answer the additional calls, if you think you will need it.

Security – With the increase in online activity, hackers are sitting ready to make the most of this opportunity. Educate your time on recognising cyber attacks and ensure you have a solution in place to deal with such an attack, should it occur.

Make them laugh –  the use of humor is a good way to stand out during a very competitive shopping season. JibJab allows visitors to personalize hilarious videos and send them to friends and family.

Special offers & discounts – Make sure that your holiday offers are featured prominently on your home page and post post your special offers to your top social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Email marketing – It’s easy to get caught up in making sure your website is perfectly festive. However, remember that many customers won’t see it — unless you email them with a link and a good reason to return to your homepage.  After all, your subscribers opted into your email list for a reason.

Give back – remember that although your thoughts will be on the bottom line, this is the season of giving so give back to your customers.  For instance, you could make a donation to a charitable organization or sponsor a company-wide day of service.

Hope you find these ideas useful, and remember the AdMarula Team is here to assist if you get stuck.

Happy selling!

The Publisher Team.