The holiday season is well-known for flooding retail stores with a frenzy of shoppers, so it’s no surprise that each year, e-commerce websites prepare themselves for an influx of visitors.
However, e-commerce stores are now facing more competition than ever, with online giants holding the market in a stranglehold – Amazon alone commands nearly half (49%) of the US market. In fact, even the humble Christmas tree seller is feeling Amazon's competitive pinch, highlighting the increasing struggle against huge online companies.
The good news is e-commerce sales are expected to grow this holiday period by 17%, so it's the perfect time of year to optimise conversion rates on your website and give yourself a competitive advantage.
Here are a few ways your business can improve product discovery during the holiday season, and thrive during the busiest retail period of the year.
1. Boost Your Site Search
First and foremost, ensure your website has a powerful search tool. Visitors who perform a site search are likely to be considerably further along the journey to purchase than those who are directed through standard navigation. For best results, your site search function should provide contextually relevant results - whatever the user types. It should be simple to understand and use across devices, and ideally offer faceted search.
Conversions and sales depend upon the speed and ease of journey from search to purchase. Consumers can easily be put off when there are barriers to finding their desired product, so it’s important to streamline your search process as much as possible.
2. Holiday Focused Categories
In the festive period, categorising your products with holiday-themed tags/labels can be beneficial. For example, a clothing retailer might see great results from tagging their products as ‘Christmas party dresses’, ‘festive jumpers’, or ‘gifts’. It can provide more specific findability, especially when visitors might not know what they're searching for. This could also be made into a feature of your on-site navigation tool, to further improve product discovery.
Not only can categorisation help your website visitors locate items faster
3. Bespoke Holiday Imagery
Maybe it goes without saying, but you should make it clear on your website that you’re ready to offer relevant products for the holiday season. Many e-commerce sites adorn their website with festive imagery during the peak trading period and use it to advertise exclusive seasonal deals or discounts.
This technique can help your business nab
4. Seasonal SEO
By tweaking your search engine optimisation practices for the holidays, you can enhance product discovery by linking seasonal keywords with your products, allowing your website to match the high ranking searches of the holiday period.
For e-commerce retailers, seasonal searches are likely to impact web traffic due to the high amount of people searching for products– use this to your advantage. Additionally, your SEO efforts from this year can roll over to the next, as you can build on previous seasons, year on year, to improve your SEO ranking.
5. Cross-selling Opportunities
None of your visitors will innately know the perfect search term for their desired product, and not every customer knows exactly what they’re searching for – especially during the holiday season! With smart site search, they don't need to – by displaying related product results and recommendations in your search results, you can assist customers better, and open up cross-selling opportunities, while improving product discovery on your site.
If a visitor’s initial search doesn’t return their exact desired results, they can easily identify similar items which may win them over to take that coveted spot in their basket. Product recommendations can make up between 10-30% of sales for an e-commerce website, so it's important to grab every opportunity.
6. Easy to Navigate, Easy to find
Among the excitement of the holiday season and peak sales period, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the flashy deals, discounts, and festive-themed products. Don’t make your website hard to navigate or overly cluttered by the holiday spirit.
Remember to emphasise your site search, create clear and easy to digest holiday categories or groups, and most importantly – get out of your customers' way. Avoid crowding your website with too many popups, and instead place an emphasis on making your visitor's journey quick from search to purchase, while focusing on improving product discovery.
Did you know, 72% of consumers are more likely to shop at retailers who are digitally innovative? To that end, utilise smart site search technology to help improve product discovery and design your website with customer usability and conversion in mind. If you'd like to learn more, read our guide to great site search and navigation, here.