Boost your online success this holiday season
This year has brought many challenges for businesses, (both big and small) but the recent holiday spending boom promises to end 2021 on a high. This is mostly due to a massive uptick in online shopping. Is your business well prepared to meet the seasonal demand for online goods and services? It is best to assess your position now before people dive into post-holiday and Boxing Day sales.
We’ve compiled some tips and advice to ensure you exceed your customer’s expectations before and after Christmas.
Provide a seamless and secure online experience
Good customer service is critical at this time of year and applies more than ever to the online experience. Making it easy for your customers to connect with you and to find what they need will create better brand loyalty and therefore repeat visits.
Make it easy for customers to get in touch
Help your customers fly through their Christmas shopping by making it easy for them to contact you with questions. Be sure that you have adequate staffing and support to be on hand to answer them promptly!
Best practice is to have a contact form on your website that it’s in an intuitive place your customers would expect. We recommend either in the footer of every page or on a separate ‘contact us’ page. If you haven’t already, then put a direct dial link onto your mobile site so customers can phone you with the touch of a button. It can be tempting to bury contact information within your site to lessen the volume of enquiries when you have so much else to do. However, with so much competition for business during this season, people may move on if they can’t get their questions answered.
It also pays to update your contact across all your online accounts such as social media, Google My Business and any business directories you’re listed on.
Pro tip: Create a question and answer (F & Q’s) section of common questions to improve your website experience. By creating this, you’ll be answering your customer’s questions before they even have to ask and you will lessen contact volumes!
Include Christmas post cut-off dates
Avoid disappointed customers by clearly displaying Christmas postage deadlines. This is made trickier this year with delays caused by COVID-19 and chain supply issues. Keep your eye on the NZ Post website as they aim to keep their dates updated. You should also follow all of your courier services on social media for updates in real time.
Offer several ways to pay
Provide a smooth check-out experience by offering your customers a choice of payment methods. Most online shoppers come armed with a credit card, but don’t assume that everyone has, or will trust this option. Some customers may want to stick with a bank transfer while others are happiest to order online and pick-up and pay in store. There are also many ‘pay over time’ platforms such as Zip and Laybuy that consumers are leveraging now to lessen the blow of mass spending this time of year.
Optimise for mobile
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is no longer optional. In short, it's nothing less than essential! According to statistics, over half of your visitors will be accessing your site from their mobiles this Christmas. Yet 43% of New Zealanders state that if they run into issues when trying to access certain websites via a smartphone they will move to a different site. Further, 29% say they won’t try to load a difficult page again. Talk about some lost opportunities for retailers!
This represents a huge loss in potential business if your mobile site is not up to scratch. Test to ensure it’s quick to load and easy to browse. If you’re not sure whether you make the grade, then check out Google’s free mobile-friendly test tool. Asking a couple of friends and family to critique the ease of your site can help detect glitches before the public experiences them.
Secure your website with https
It’s important that your customers can trust the security of your website when they do their holiday shopping. If their web browser (such as Google) flags your site as ‘Not Secure’ this will erode their trust in you and your brand.
Why does Google do this? Web browsers ensure any information your website may send, like credit card details, is encrypted (or scrambled) and therefore harder to hack or steal. They do this by checking your website’s SSL certificate. If it’s up-to-date and installed properly then your web address will start with ‘https’. Some browsers will display a padlock symbol—and if it’s not there then a site security warning message may appear.
Check your web address in the top browser bar. If it has been branded as ‘Not Secure’, fear not, fixing it is not complicated. Contact your website manager or hosting provider and they will be able to advise on your best course of action.
Finally, make sure your connectivity is up to speed. Whether you're enhancing your existing website or rolling out a completely new e-commerce platform, having a solid and secure internet connection is essential.
A business grade fibre broadband connection has a range of benefits you won’t typically get with broadband tailored more for residential use. So, it’s worth checking in with your internet service provider that your broadband has all the bells and whistles your business needs.