It’s that time of year again – time to optimise your ecommerce site and make sure this Christmas is your best festive shopping season yet!

Is your site ready for the traffic spikes, as shoppers go all-in on your festive offers? For the seasonal SEO trends? For last-minute delivery and click-and-collect?

Remember, this season accounts for 20% of the retail industry’s annual sales. And when 42% of all those purchases are online, having a well optimised site can be the difference between triumph and failure.

Here are four steps to help you prepare your site for the frenzy to come, and ensure Christmas 2019 is an absolute blockbuster…


1. Optimise SEO for the holiday season

94% of all organic traffic comes from search engines, meaning you can’t afford to cut any SEO corners at such a crucial time of year.

Launching Christmas shopping landing pages can be a great idea. It lets you group festive items and offers together and hit seasonal search terms – all without having to re-optimise your existing product pages.

Not sure what products to push? Dig out last year’s data, cross-reference with current trends, and you’ll quickly draw up a robust list.

Create your Christmas gift guides early, building shopper excitement while boosting your search rankings.


With a tool like Commerce Cloud Page Designer, developing and managing seasonal landing pages is easy – no HTML required, just click, drag and drop.


2. Master the art of seasonal site searches

When a mobile shopper uses an on-site search tool, they’re 2.6x more likely to make a purchase.

So, be sure to keep yours front and centre. A persistent search bar will reduce shopper confusion and page – and cart – abandonment. 

And remember, some of us are brilliant at spelling. Some of us aren’t. And all of us make typos from time to time. Review your existing search data to identify common misspellings, and ensure your tool is prepped to return the items customers are looking for, however garbled their request. You’ll also need to map your product dictionaries to your seasonal products, and if relevant, your seasonal campaign tags. 

If you haven’t already, this is an ideal opportunity to embed artificial intelligence (AI) into site search. Not only does AI help to serve up product recommendations as shoppers begin typing a query, it can even optimise your product sort based on their behavioural patterns. It’s smart, simple and unobtrusive.


Get visual this season. Visual search is on the up. In fact, 62% of millennials want this feature more than any other search technology. By uploading a screenshot from their mobile device into your search bar, an embedded AI can search your catalogue and match the image to the most relevant products. Why not trial it for Christmas 2019?


3. Give customers real choice over fulfilment

Research indicates two thirds of customers have chosen a retailer based on the number of delivery options they offer. To make the most of the holiday season, you need to be ready to meet their order fulfilment expectations – whether it’s offering the chance to click-and-collect or providing greater control over the time and date of delivery.

It you do offer click-and-collect, it’s crucial to ensure your stores are prepared for order pick-ups, and that the process of collection is communicated to customers before they arrive. A dedicated area for online pick-ups with clear signposting or a self-service kiosk can also help simplify the process. 

Offering customers a choice of payment options is also increasingly important. Many shoppers are switching to digital and mobile payments, and retailers who are following them are seeing real benefits: on average, retailers that implement a mobile wallet option see orders increase by 14% and conversion rates grow at twice the speed of their non-mobile wallet competition.


Flexibility matters.  65% of shoppers want greater flexibility for deliveries, while 76% say having multiple fulfilment options influences their purchasing decision.


4. Be ready to deliver peak performance

We’ve all heard about the damage caused when high profile retailers suffer site outages on peak shopping days.

Now is the time to get your site ready for all the seasonal traffic you’re about to generate, and make sure you don’t suffer a similar fate.

Here’s a simple but essential to-do list:

  • Perform regular performance tests during peak times
  • Create and align your ecommerce teams to a risk mitigation plan
  • Establish a realistic seasonal sales and traffic forecast


Don’t get left behind. 40% of shoppers will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.


What else do I need to do?

You can never be too prepared for Christmas. In fact, what we’ve covered in this blog post is only the tip of the iceberg.

In our 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide, you’ll find everything you need to prepare for the months ahead, including more advice on getting your website in the best shape possible.