How to Get Your Magento Store Ready for Christmas Holidays 2016 ?

prepare Magento store for Christmas holidays

Today is 16th of November. It means that you have more than a month to prepare your Magento store for Christmas holidays. However, if it is your first experience, it may become a challenge for you. This article includes all necessary information that can help you have high sales during the Christmas holidays 2016.

Everyone associates Christmas holidays with the hustle and bustle. Some people start looking for Christmas gifts, others begin hunting for big sales in order to buy things they have not been able to afford during the year due to high prices. For you as a merchant, it means higher sales on the condition that you are able to cope with heavy traffic on your Magento website and manage to send all Christmas gifts in time.

Magento and eCommerce Trends 2016

trends statistics

First of all, you need to study this year industry trends. It will help you understand what you should enhance in your business and what gaps you need to fill before Christmas holidays. Here, we will indicate just some of eCommerce trends, you can find more of them on website such as statista.com

More People Prefer to Buy Online

The number of people who go online to make a purchase is growing year after year. Now, shoppers make 51% of their purchases online, compared to 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014, according to the survey made by analytics firm comScore. These changes mean that online merchants have to make even more efforts to satisfy customers, meet their expectations and lead them to come back to their stores after Christmas holidays.

Early Christmas Campaigns

With Christmas holidays we have the same situation as with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Merchants start the preparation long before the Christmas holiday time. If you do not want to trail behind others, we recommend that you follow this trend and start planning in advance. Why does this happen? Because people start looking for Christmas gifts earlier hoping to save time and money. And as we know, Christmas holiday period is very busy, so they simply may not have time to do this in December.

Brand Loyalty Is No More a Trend

Sounds absurdly?- Maybe a little bit. Of course, there are a lot of customers who are loyal to only one brand selling apparel, jewellery or electronics. But last year showed that customers were open to change their habits. More than half of shoppers were looking for new stores and brands for their Christmas holiday purchases, and more than 40% bought items from new retailers. 

Mobile Devices Popularity

More and more shoppers prefer to use mobile devices for making purchases. During last year's Christmas holiday shopping, a third part of all online purchases were made from smartphones. To shop via mobile devices is very convenient because you can do it anywhere and whenever you want or can. More than 50% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Therefore, it is very important to make sure your website is ready for mobile viewing. 

In today’s article, we are going to advise you on how to prepare your Magento store for Christmas holidays and to do everything in time. Below, you can find the most important things to do, which can help improve your Magento website’s performance and increase customer engagement:

General Magento Website Check

road zoom

During Christmas holiday shopping time, an amount of traffic coming to web stores is significantly higher. And this additional traffic may show up the weak points of websites. That is why, it is of vital importance to carry out a thorough website check. If your store runs with some problems, then it would be unreasonably and useless to spend your time on making additional upgrades. You won’t get any result due to the existing gaps. Let’s analyze each of the aspects more closely: 

Make sure your Magento Website Can Handle an Additional Holiday Traffic

Recent years, online stores have become the preferred places for Christmas holiday shopping. Therefore, the website performance is one of the most important aspects you have to pay attention to. Firstly, you need to test the responsiveness for any given location, ensure optimization, and confirm the website performs well across all platforms and devices. After that, you have to ask your hosting providers to prepare your Magento website for increased traffic. They must check - can your current hosting cope with it or you need to use some additional resources, solid-state drive (SSD) hosting and content delivery networks (CDN). You need to do everything possible to avoid your Magento website slowdown or crash. 

Check Out the Page Loading Speed

Verify that all pages of your Magento store load quickly. The Christmas holidays are very busy, so do not make your shoppers wait. Otherwise, they can simply leave your Magento store without making a purchase. Moreover, the biggest part of them will never come back. So, do everything possible to improve Magento website speed. Below, you can find some good recommendations from gomage.com:

  • Enable Flat Categories and Products. In Magento admin go to System > Configuration, Catalog > Catalog, (main page) Frontend. Then you need to set “Use Flat Catalog Category” and “Use Flat Catalog Product” to “Yes“. According to the type of data all attributes that refer to Products and Categories are stored in different database tables. The settings described above will organize all attributes in one table which will have a positive effect on Magento website speed.
  • Merge JavaScript Files and CSS. You need to set “Merge CSS” Files and “Merge JavaScript” Files to “Yes”. For this, go to Magento admin, (top menu) System > Configuration, Advanced > Developer, (main page) JavaScript Settings, CSS Settings. The Magento online store can have a lot of CSS and JavaScript files. Some of them appear because of implemented extensions and website customization. This step will merge all CSS and JavaScript into one file and this should make pages loading faster.
  • Enable Compilation. In Magento admin, (top menu) System > Tools > Compilation, set to Enable. This option takes all the active scripts in Magento core structure and brings them to the front. Remember that compilation must be disabled before upgrading the system, making code modifications or programming changes, installation of any extensions. Otherwise, there will be errors.

Also, you can check our guide: How To Speed Up A Magento Website?

Check Your Stock Levels

Nobody likes a late delivery. For customers it is important to be sure that ordered items will arrive in time. So, if you want your clients are satisfied with your services, you need to make sure that all your items are in stock. It is a proven way to build good relationships with your customers.

Moreover, you can display your inventory quantity. It enables customers to see how many items you have in stock. It is also a good way to make customers purchase on your Magento store and not to go to another merchant during Christmas holidays. 

How To Make Your Magento Store Bring More Profit During Christmas Holidays? 

Christmas responsive mobile themes for stores

Customize Magento Store Pages for Christmas Holidays

Magento website design is one of the most important tools for attracting customers. That is why, our next tip will be to add a Christmas holiday spirit to your store. You can implement holiday-related themes, rethink the product ranges that you display on your home page. A good way to apply the second tip is choosing the items that will most appeal to shoppers looking for Christmas gifts. As alternative, you can add a ‘Christmas Gifts’ category in your menu bar. It will help you attract more customers during the holidays as well as keep them on your store for a longer time.

Use special Magento extensions to add Christmas effects to your store. One of the most popular solutions is Holiday Season Effects. You can find it on Magento Connect. It can help you decorate your Magento store with Snow Fall Effect, Moving Santa Claus, Header/Footer Decoration. This plugin offers easy-to-manage configurations, so you won’t need a help from third-party developers. The module does not affect any default features. You can purchase it for only $9. The price includes the installation support as well.

But the most common mistake is to focus only on the home page. Do not repeat it. Update your product pages, email graphics, advertisements and social media sites in order to show that your Magento store is the perfect destination for Christmas holiday shopping. 

Offer a Gift-Wrapping Service

This service will enable your customers to save time! They won’t need to go somewhere else to wrap their Christmas gifts. Offer different kinds of wrapping: for friends, parents, boyfriend/girlfriend, colleague and others. Design a special section on your home page or add a tab in the header of your Magento website. It will make easier for your visitors to find the service.

Make Sure Your Magento Store is Mobile Friendly

According to the previous year’s statistics, a large number of online orders are made via mobile devices. People prefer to shop in different places: at home, in a car, in a cafe or even at work. And each time they use different devices. Below you can see the numbers provided by statista.com:

amount of mobile buyers 2016

In order to have high sales, you need to keep with the current trends. Therefore, our next tip is to make your Magento store mobile responsive. We recommend that you should use mobile friendly templates that can cater for mobile screen with different resolutions. Your website has both to work well and look good on everything from a large monitor to a small phone. Don't limit any functionality of your mobile version. It is usually irritating when you want to try something and to be able to do it you have to switch to the full version. 

Use Special Marketing Strategies for Your Magento Store

The main thing you should understand is that you have to plan your marketing actions too far ahead of the game. The strategy that you used last year could be not enough successful in 2016. That is why, you should think twice before to use it this year. We recommend that you create special campaigns for your existing customers. Taking into account that they are familiar with your brand and product catalog, it will be easier to attract their attention during Christmas holidays. 

Personalized content is one of the key instruments for attracting customers and keeping them on your web store. Address your existing customers by name, remember what they usually buy and offer only right items. Use all available Magento options to create personal approach for each customer. 

Another strategy is preparing your email activity. People are happy to receive about 2-3 emails per month, not more. If you swamp your customers with emails, you can irritate them. So, the amount is essential here. No less important is the content of these emails. Make it eye catching and inviting people to visit your Magento website. It can significantly increase your store sales. Our clients usually use MailChimp service. It is reliable and save your emails from getting into spam. Also, they both have several responsive templates you can customize in accordance with your brand. Or you can choose another service you trust. 

Start Blogging About Christmas Holidays

There is one more great way to attract people to your Magento website. Start blogging and do it ahead! You can post a lot of useful information for shoppers and your existing customers. For example, you can make a gift list to advice people what they can present their family and friends. You can add links to some items on your stores. As a result, you will have more internal links and more visitors reached your products. Also, you will drive more traffic and have higher sales.

Don’t Make Any Significant Changes

As we see from last year statistics, many customers start looking for Christmas gifts long before the holidays, but not all of them buy the items right over. They save the pages with favourite items, come back to your store and compare your products with others before making a purchase. That’s why it would be better to avoid any significant navigation changes on your Magento website during the holiday time. It can cause bad user experience, confuse shoppers and lead to abandonment. Consequently, you may lose your customers and have low sales during the Christmas holidays.

In conclusion, we would like to highlight that preparing your Magento store for Christmas holidays is a complex process that requires a lot of time and efforts. We have tried to show you how important it is to do everything in advance. We hope that our guide will help you make this year Christmas holidays beneficial for your business and take out the most of it. If you have additional questions, our Magento marketing and development team will be happy to answer them. 

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