The holidays are known as peak season for a reason - many brands see their revenue double during the months of November and December. Before you start counting your sales before they happen, however, recognize that even though this is the busiest time of year for retail sales, it's also the most competitive.
Preparing your site for the holiday season is key to driving those gift sales (and wish list wants!) - and it all starts with the home page.
Think of your website's home page as the equivalent of the elaborately decorated department store window displays that used to be the standard way to draw people into a store. Only multiply that by the millions - you've got seconds to grab someone's attention, pique their interest, and drive them to get inspired for either gift-giving or receiving.
We've outlined six strategies, both basic and advanced, to prep your home page for the busy holiday shopping season.
Basic home page customization strategies for the holidays
If you're looking for some easy solutions to tailor your home page for gift-giving, look no further. All of these strategies take minimal time, effort, or development resources.
1. Spotlight your bestsellers
The holidays are the peak season for people to visit your site that have possibly never been there before - likely because they're shopping for someone on their list. If they know someone on their list is a fan of your brand or store, they're probably going to check you out, but will they know where to start?
Make sure your home page highlights your bestsellers to give shoppers unfamiliar with your brand a jumping off point to learn more. With LimeSpot, you can do this in one of two ways.
First, you can use our Most Popular boxes to highlight your bestselling products of all time from when you installed LimeSpot. This strategy works best for brands that have a more limited product catalog and perennial favorites.
The second option is to use our Trending boxes, which highlight what products are seeing an uptick in interest through browsing, buying, or social behavior from recent traffic. The more traffic you have, the more frequently these items update - anywhere from reflecting the past 3 hours to the past 24 hours. This type of box works best for brands that have a bigger product catalog that's regularly being added to, so potential gift shoppers can see what's new and going viral on your store.
2. Remind customers where they left off
The likelihood of someone visiting your site, finding a gift they want to buy, and immediately purchasing it are pretty low. Typical customer behavior dictates they'll leave the site to think things over, search for coupon codes, compare prices, or research other items before deciding your item is 'the one' they want to buy.
That's why Recently Viewed boxes are so important. Save shoppers - even ones who aren't logged in - the hassle of trying to remember a product name by simply displaying what they looked at most recently.
We typically recommend placing your Recently Viewed boxes at the bottom of every page, but during the holiday season, it might be time to try something different. As the video above shows, you might even want to place your boxes front and center for returning visitors to drive more revenue.
3. Create a featured collection
LimeSpot's AI is designed to automatically serve up whatever products are most likely to drive conversions on a 1:1 basis, but you can also control what appears in your recommendation boxes. One of the easiest ways to do this is with our Featured Collection boxes. Using these boxes can be as simple as selecting a gift guide collection you've created elsewhere on your site, and titling it accordingly - like 'Our top gift ideas' or 'Great gift ideas under $20'.
You can also manually set what products are featured from any collection, or even A/B test which products you feature (select plans only).
The great thing about featured collections is they give your customers an immediate chance to preview what gift ideas you've got in store from the home page, rather than having to find a gift guide that they think 'might' have what they're looking for. And since customers can add products to their cart right from your recommendation boxes, this can also speed up your time to checkout.
Advanced home page customization strategies for the holidays
Ready to take things up a notch? Here are some advanced ways you can level up your home page shopping experience for the holidays.
4. Promote region-specific offers and policies
Whether you ship locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally, chances are you have different fulfillment options for different geolocations. LimeSpot's Segmented Experiences allows you to serve up different content based on a customer's location. You could use this to promote:
- BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store) availability when a shopper is near a retail location
- Free in-store pickup
- Discounted local delivery
- Shipping timelines / cutoff dates for guaranteed holiday delivery
- Different free shipping thresholds
- Product collections suited to a specific region's climate
5. Spotlight different gift guides to different audiences
Chances are you've got more than one gift guide this holiday season, likely based on budget, gender, age, interests, or some other factor. The challenge becomes how do you spotlight them all without overwhelming your shoppers?
LimeSpot's Segmented Experiences lets you change any HTML element on your site, including your home page hero image and featured collections in your navigation. You can use a customer's browsing or purchasing behavior to promote a specific gift guide over the others.
For example, a customer that has made multiple purchases from a store's high-end cashmere sweater line over the last six months may see a 'Luxe Gift Guide' featured on the home page and in the navigation. Another customer that has browsed the men's department may see 'Gifts for Him' instead.
Want to learn more about custom segments? Check out our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Personalizing Buying Experiences.
Or check out this video we have on creating custom segments and tailoring the home page experience for them.
6. A/B/n test your personalization strategy
Imagine you've got a great big holiday campaign planned - only to find it's not converting. We've all been there (or seen it). It's all too easy to get wrapped up in an idea you love, but putting all your merchandizing and personalization eggs in one basket is a risky proposition.
A/B/n testing often and early in your holiday campaign is essential to ensure you've got the ideal promotion, message, and imagery served up to your customers when the apex of peak shopping season hits. We recommend kicking off your A/B/n testing at least three weeks before Black Friday.
These are some of the most common things you may want to test, using LimeSpot's 1:1 Personalized Recommendations or Segmented Experiences modules.
- Hero image: Does one drive lower bounce rates and more clicks?
- Headline: Do you have the right message? What experience is driving the most time on site?
- Call-to-action: Are you sending customers to the right 'first place' or are they going through your navigation? Should you have more than one CTA?
- Box placement: How high up on the page should you place your recommendations? How many types of recommendation boxes should you offer? What box types are driving the most revenue, and in what place?
- Navigation: Does it make sense to rearrange your navigation for the holidays? Where are your heat maps showing the most interest?
- Promotions: What featured promotion in your hello bar is driving the most sales? A discount code? Free shipping? Promoting a sale?
You can test an unlimited number of scenarios through LimeSpot. Want to get started with A/B/n testing? Contact our support team or your LimeSpot Customer Success Manager.
Is your home page ready for the 2021 holiday shopping season?
There you have it! Remember these golden rules for optimizing your home page for the holidays:
- Test different experiences in advance of Black Friday to find the highest-converting options
- Give customers an enticing 'first click' whether they're familiar with your site or not
- Remove friction from the buying experience by serving up relevant information and products to the right audiences, right off the bat