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Preparing Your Website for Holiday Shopping

When it comes to optimizing your website for the holiday season, it’s important to get started early. Here are a few tips designed to help you get your store ready for your customers. For more information, check out our complete Holiday Selling Guide.

Get your store up early

Plenty of people wait until the last minute to get their holiday shopping done — and plenty of them end up having their gifts arrive a little too late. Similarly, store owners should complete their own tasks earlier rather than later. Whether you're planning to get your store online for the first time, revamping your site, or adding new products, there’s one big reason you should get your work done well ahead of Black Friday: placement in search results.

It takes search engines time to index your pages so it can display them in search results. So the further in advance of the holidays you get your online store set up, the better your site will rank. Fortunately, Squarespace has a simple and intuitive process so you can build your website and get it online, even if you’re not a web design expert. Plus, every online store comes with tools for search engine optimization built in. Squarespace automatically handles indexing, so everything you have on your site will appear in a search result.

To make it easy for your customers to see everything that you're selling online, if you have an existing store on Etsy, import all your goods over so users don’t have to search through multiple platforms to give you money. Not only will visitors to your site be able to browse through all your product pages in one place, but the SEO tools will index those products so that online shoppers who don’t know you yet can find them. If you have a store on another marketplace platform, you can link out to it from your Squarespace website.

Think beyond standard merchandise

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average shopper spent over 17.6% more on gift cards in 2020 than the year before. You don’t want to miss out on this growing market, and fortunately it’s fast and easy to offer digital gift cards through your online store that you can email directly to a customer or gift recipient.

When thinking about your offerings, consider non-physical products as well. For instance, you can embed videos in your store; if you have clips of you teaching a class or giving a demonstration, it’s easy to monetize them and create a passive income stream for your business. After all, plenty of people begin thinking about self-improvement in the New Year. You can put exclusive content in a private Members Area, and people can either pay a one-time fee to get behind the paywall or sign up for a monthly subscription — for themselves or as a gift. 

If you offer services, integrate with Squarespace Scheduling to sell gift certificates. Gift recipients could use those to book appointment packages of live programming or services, such as fitness classes or massages. 

Speaking of subscriptions, many stores offer users monthly options for food, beverages, cosmetics, and other products. If you're considering offering a monthly package to your loyal customers, Squarespace makes it easy to set that up. Not only are subscriptions popular gifts, but getting your product into someone’s home every month is a great way to build customer loyalty.

If you have a physical location and nearby customers want to get a product quickly or save money on shipping, you can offer local pickup and sync up all your inventory, online and offline, in one place. You can connect a payment processor to your Squarespace account to let you handle credit cards, mobile payments, and cash payments in person, using a mobile-device credit-card reader. Offer in-store or in-person discounts to encourage offline purchases. 

Stress-test your site

The two biggest shopping days of the year are the Friday after Thanksgiving and the following Monday. You can expect your traffic to increase on these days, so make sure your online store is functioning properly with this easy to-do list: 

  • Double check your product imagery and descriptions to make sure everything looks correct. 

  • Walk through your checkout process to make sure everything is intuitive for your potential customers. 

  • Prepare your blog and/or holiday newsletter to communicate with existing customers and remind them of the latest additions to your store. 

Expecting an uptick in orders this season? Read tips for optimizing selling, shipping, and fulfillment on your online store.

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