Monday, 15 November 2010

Five Things to do to your Website This Week

In all the frantic rush of getting ready for Christmas – getting Christmas products up (if they’re not up already) and sorting the logistics of coping with what will undoubtedly be a busier Christmas online this year than last (IMRG/Capgemini forecast that £6.4 billion will be spent online this December, as against £5.5 billion last year) it’s very easy to forget that there are simple things you should be doing to your website to make sure that you reap the benefit of the huge numbers of people who are going to be flocking online in 2010 to do their Christmas shopping.

restoration hardware screen shot

Make your home page look inviting and festive.  Even though it may be early, the excitement about Christmas is gearing up and you only have to look at www.restorationhardware.com and www.netaporter.com to see how a subtle move towards the Christmas gift and party spirit will help to build anticipation.  The full blown season is only a couple of weeks away with the peak online shopping week predicted to start on November 29th.  Make sure you’re ready for it. 

netaporter screen shot

It’s too easy to make festive look tacky, by the way if you haven’t got the resources of these two great online retailers.  Subtle has to be the name of the game.

Be absolutely clear about your Christmas delivery policy and shout about it from your home page.  Don’t even think of hiding Delivery within T & C’s.  People need to know very quickly what your last delivery dates will be for Christmas, so start telling them now and they’ll bookmark your site into their emergency list for that last minute guest they may have forgotten about. 

Make them search for the info?  Forget it.  They won’t bother.  And if you’re not already offering next day delivery with a reliable courier I suggest you consider it now, even if it costs.  You’ll be amazed at how many are willing to pay the extra.

Offer Gift Wrap if you’re not already doing so.  I know, it may be a bore, but you want that person who’s looking for a gift to be sent on their behalf up to Birmingham from Devizes to come to you, don’t you, rather than to someone who’ll wrap, write the tag with a personalised message and send out on their behalf?  If you don’t you will lose sales.  If necessary bring in the extra help - you will get the extra orders.  And shout about that from your home page as well.

Email your customer/subscriber base NOW with information about your new services and remind them of your best sellers by featuring them with a short lifespan special offer.  Use pictures and content links of your best sellers.  These are the most likely to get them to come back to you. 

When I am writing dedicated newsletters for retailers I always ask them for their six to eight top sellers.  There’s always a temptation to feature items that you want to get rid of.  Don’t do that at this time of year.  What you want is as much relevant traffic as possible to your website to remind them of what’s there now and how you’ll be helping them over Christmas.

Make sure your visitors know you are to be trusted.  Never take this for granted.  You know you’re honest, efficient and reliable but how are the casual browsers that arrive on your site through search or your Adwords campaign going to know?  There are frankly just too many websites out there.

Display the ISIS logo if you are a member prominently on your home page, and if possible offer independent customer reviews by a company such as www.feefo.com  – in this viral marketplace news travels exceptionally fast.  Make sure that all the news, good or bad, comes to you so that you can respond, and show your visitors that you care about what your customers think about you and are not afraid to show it. 

Showing that you are a member of an accreditation scheme and offering customer reviews are two excellent ways of establishing trust and loyalty with your visitors and customers.

There are two retailer offers, for ISIS and for Customer Reviews which you can click through to in the retailers section at thesiteguide.com

Clearly display your Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode logos on your home page if these are applicable to you as well and any other accreditation schemes or awards.  Do not keep these for your payment page or About us Page, and do not hide them for the sake of a ‘clean home page’ which is something I so often hear.  Shout about them.  Your visitors need to know. 

Take a look at these home pages and you’ll see what I mean - http://www.coast-stores.com/  http://www.my-wardrobe.com/  http://www.sogifted.co.uk/ – whether it’s secure payment methods, Feefo customer reviews or ISIS – they all display them loud and clear.

If this sounds a lot to do it really isn’t and everything here will help you be prepared with the Christmas rush, when there’s barely time to grab that cup of coffee, let alone make changes to your website.  Start now and this Christmas will be better than ever – and online.

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