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Top Ten Tips to Optimize Websites for a Successful Holiday Shopping Season

Conversion Management Leader Maxymiser Explains How Retailers Can Drive More Online Revenue

Online conversion management leader Maxymiser, Inc. today announced the top ten ways that internet retailers can drive online shopping revenue as consumers continue to increase their online shopping frequency — specifically during the holiday season.

Recently, Channel Advisor’s 2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey found that more consumers are very likely to purchase their holiday gifts online (58 percent) than at brick-and-mortar stores (41 percent) this year, and more than 46 percent of North American retailers expect double-digit online revenue growth this holiday season according to eMarketer.

“While retailers’ e-commerce strategies are now business-critical, getting shoppers to visit an online store is only the beginning,” said Mark Simpson, Founder and President of Maxymiser. “Many retailers aren’t focusing on how to make the sale once customers are in the virtual door and are missing out on tremendous revenue growth. Retailers must create a more relevant, personal and fulfilling online shopping experience for their consumers or risk losing revenue to their competitors.”

Simpson offers 10 methods to boost e-commerce sales this holiday season and beyond:
1. Keep it fresh. Static websites don’t perform as well as dynamic ones, especially during the holiday shopping season, so keep updating content and presentation to entice shoppers to spend more.
2. Test, test and test again. Live testing and iterative tweaking drive higher conversion rates. Even subtle changes such as font size, color and language can have a huge impact on revenues, so keep testing different variations to see what yields the best results.
3. Get in the holiday spirit. Customize websites with a festive look and feel, clearly displaying the items most likely to sell during the holiday season on the most popular pages.
4. Personalize promotional messaging. Prominently display product offers, discounts and promotions personalized to match customers’ individual needs. Give them a personalized experience by making sure everything they want to buy is easily located in a single virtual aisle.
5. Up-sell and cross-sell. Make the right recommendations to consumers at the right stage of the buying process to maximize revenues. Go beyond the “people who bought this, also bought this” suggestions by making it relevant to the individual shopper and adding wish list options.
6. Make it easy to buy. If the registration, login and checkout processes are too cumbersome, shoppers will simply give up and buy from a competitor, so thoroughly test and improve all forms.
7. Monitor customer behavior. A one-size-fits-all website won’t deliver a best performing visitor experience. Use visitor information to show targeted pages in session for different audiences, and personalize these pages by adapting the content and items on display according to visitors’ known preferences.
8. Make navigation easy. If shoppers are bounced around a poorly designed website, they won’t fill up their shopping cart or get anywhere near the checkout line. Get the navigation basics right — include a search facility, make the checkout page prominent, and make it easy for customers to jump between pages without wiping forms clean every time.
9. Get ready for the January sales. Many consumers are now spending just as much money in the New Year as they are in the pre-holiday rush. Hit the ground running in January with fresh content and product offers to stand out from the crowd.
10. Keep them coming back for more. Incentivize shoppers to keep returning for more with Direct-to-Consumer offers and relevant products based on their buying history, and remember to use live testing to help determine which offers have the most positive impact on sales.

“Retailers need to monitor and learn from customers’ online activity and preferences. Multivariate technology now allows brands to test out thousands of slightly different variations in a live environment to see which speaks to their consumers and yields the best results,” added Simpson. “By taking this approach, retailers can deliver a better online experience, offering customers page layouts, sequences, content and offers that have been dynamically put together based on users’ demonstrated preferences.”

Using advanced statistical and machine-learning algorithms, Maxymiser drives higher revenue conversion rates for its retail customers — typically upwards of 30 percent — by eliminating content subjectivity and guesswork with one simple line of website code.