paying online with credit cardThe holiday shopping season is fast approaching and, as with previous years, online shopping has become the great equalizer to long lines, freezing temperatures and door buster brawls. There is even a day reserved for online shopping filled with much anticipated deals and discounts - Cyber Monday.

Now is the time to assess and see if your e-commerce business is in a position to score big this holiday season, both on and offline. With these suggestions from Humboldt Merchant Services, you could make this one of the most profitable holiday seasons yet.

Be timely. It may seem like a simple thing, but updating your website’s main image to something holiday themed will go a long way with your customers, and it could put them in the buying spirit!

Run a contest. Sometimes the best stuff is free stuff! Run a fun holiday contest where you give away gift cards to your store for future use — a win-win because you build excitement around the holidays and have the potential for future sales in the New Year.

Flex your creative muscle. Edit your product descriptions to give them a holiday spin. It may seem like busy work, but it could help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) traffic during this time of year. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling this job, this may be something you want to outsource to a freelance writer.

Don’t count out discounts. Margins may be tight, but giving out discount codes can bring a lot of people — and their money — to your site. Email the special codes to loyal customers and offer a “refer a friend” feature on every communication, so you can reward both the loyal customer and a potential new customer. E-mail communications should also mirror the holiday theme you are going to create on your website.

Serve up the best server. You’ve developed a nice holiday feel, and your customers are ready to check out, but it’s taking forever for them to complete their transaction. In a recent Harris Poll, 67% of e-Commerce shoppers have left a transaction because of performance problems at checkout. Make sure your server can handle the level of traffic you may require at peak times and if need be, make the necessary enhancements to ensure your customers have a smooth checkout.

A happy shopper is a returning shopper. No business owner wants a bad online review because a customer didn’t get his or her merchandise delivered in time - especially for holidays. Consider adding staff and keep a closer eye on inventory so you know that the orders will get where they need to be promptly.

Be sure to be mobile. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This should be a given for any business operating in 2015, but if you need a reason to check your mobile status, read this statistic: More than 50% of ALL internet traffic originates from a mobile device.

With a bit of planning your e-Commerce website will be a standout this holiday season and you’ll be in for a prosperous New Year!

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