Love it or hate it, the approach of November means it’s about time for businesses to buckle down and optimize for the holidays. Whether you already feel the holiday season fatigue or you can’t wait for it to start, the fact remains that this time of year means an increase of business — especially in retail. While for the most part this is a boon, you’ll want to avoid falling into some common traps when working on seasonal conversion rate optimization.
Don’t make these five common mistakes!
1. Rely on user experience data from the holidays alone.
Of course, the increased traffic during November and December is a great opportunity for A/B testing on your sites. But, this traffic is probably not representative of your year-round visitors. People are often shopping for others and buying much more than usual. You should certainly A/B test any UX changes during the holidays, but make sure you also get non-holiday data once January rolls around.
2. Wait until December to run holiday promotions.
December is going to be prime time to run holiday promotions, but that’s not the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Instead, use earlier holidays (like Columbus Day) to try out some promotional messaging. You can use that data to inform your bigger promotions.
3. Focus on item price and forget about shipping.
Shipping is always important, but it plays an even bigger role when there is a popular deadline. If a holiday comes up, make sure your customers know when they will get their items. If you can offer deals on fast shipping, even better. If you can’t, then make sure your information is clear so that customers choose the right shipping option for them.
4. Stick with your regular product recommendations algorithm.
Most of the year, personalized product recommendations perform really well. Between November and December that all changes. If you’re shopping for a family member, your past purchases may not be helpful at all. Instead, consider implementing multiple product recommendation algorithms — for instance one personalized list and one based on popular items.
5. Only focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge for retail, and you’ll want to make sure your site is optimized. But, it’s a mistake to focus too much on these days and not on the season as a whole. Get through this weekend, but then keep going with your A/B testing and optimization until the season ends.
If you follow these best practices, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your holiday season!
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