It’s Never Too Early To Start Preparing For The Holidays

September is here, fall is on its way, and it’s the time for pumpkin spice everything, but it’s also a great time to spend some time preparing your online store for the holiday season.

1. Mobile & Responsive Design

Online store purchases made with phones or tablets account for over 11% of sales on average, and it’s increasing every year.  If you are working on a new design for your site, or thinking about doing it soon, Responsive Design is the way to go.  If you’re not ready for a new design yet, ShopSite 11SP1 and newer has a mobile feature you can enable.  While not a responsive method, it still provides mobile friendly pages to your customers.

2. Speed: Google & Customers Like It

A fast loading website will not only improve your search engine ranking, but your customers will like it too.  Don’t let your competitors have more sales due to your site loading slowly.  For example, do you have a slide show with 20 images pre-loading?  Cut that down to 5 or work with your developer to have it load 1 first and the load the remaining images after the rest of the pages loads for the user.

3. Target Google Shopping Campaigns

Review your Google Shopping Campaign settings and target your most profitable and popular products.  You want to make sure you’re spending your advertising budget in the best possible way.

4. Your Checkout Page Is Secure, Right?

Place a test order and make sure your checkout and thank you pages display their SSL lock symbols correctly and there are no warnings about insecure items loading.  If there are, review the issue with your developer and they can check the code for insecure images or other items that may be breaking it.  We have a great tool to help find insecure items called Why No Padlock?

5. Sales & Coupons – What Options Are There?

When you set up your sales, coupons, or other discounts – be sure to test everything ahead of time.  Don’t send out a mailing to thousands of customers and find out from a customer that the coupon code doesn’t work!

Here’s a blog post we published last year with a variety of tips and options for promotions you can do in ShopSite:

For Magento stores, this tutorial will show you how to configure coupons:

6. Saving Shopping Carts Can Save A Sale

A customer may not finish their purchase on their first visit to your site, but if they return to complete it and find their cart empty they may not bother to find the products on the store and buy them again.  Don’t let that happen!

ShopSite defaults to saving the cart contents for 7 days so  when the customer returns the products will still be in their cart.  If you have ShopSite Pro you can adjust the value if you would like with the “Keep unfinished shopping carts” field on the Commerce Setup > Order System > Shopping Cart screen.  ShopSite Starter & Manager are hard-coded to 7 days.

For Magento, this feature is called the “Persistent Shopping Cart” and here are the steps to set it to 7 days (604800 seconds):

In the admin panel, go to:
System -> Customers -> Persistent Shopping Cart

Set the following parameters:
Enable Persistence: Yes
Persistence Lifetime (seconds): 604800
Enable “Remember Me”: No
“Remember Me” Default Value: Yes
Clear Persistence on Log Out: No
Persist Shopping Cart: Yes

7. Shipping API Backup Plans

While real-time shipping APIs allow you to provide multiple and accurate shipping rates to your customers, once in a while a carrier’s API servers go offline or have delays reporting rates.  We have a website at which you can use anytime to check to see if an API is online and returning rates.  If your store is reporting shipping errors you can go there to see if it’s an outage.

If the API you use is offline or having connections problems, and you don’t run any others, you could put an extra shipping option in place temporarily so your customers can still place orders.  Maybe you setup a flat rate Ground Shipping options, or enable another carrier, but it can be very helpful to have a backup plan available in case your carrier’s API is ever offline.

More Suggestions…

Would you like some more ideas and tips for holiday preparation?  Check out the links below for more suggestions:


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