WE love Christmas here at Locally! Any excuse to wear a dodgy looking jumper and extra sparkle for a day. A bright hiatus in an otherwise grey month, we dream of snow and crisp blue skies.
As we bask in the driest September since 1960, you may have noticed that there are the odd reference here and there to Christmas. Yet to take hold, we all know that by the time the clocks change, the retail industry will be in full Christmas swing.
Just take a look at your personal Facebook or other social media site and will see the odd Christmas graphic creeping in, telling you that you have less than ‘x number of Saturday’s’ before the arrival of the festive period. But, before we get there and you once again wear the jumper you will never wear again, let us think about all the things you have to do… and add one more to your list;
Calling all of our online, local businesses who have products and services to sell: check your website.
BUT, before you go plunging ahead with the following suggestions for a spruce up of your website before the Christmas rush, we need to mention a pro and a con of this…
- PRO: the money you make during the Christmas rush will be a large % of your overall turnover
- CON: don’t make rash decisions. Think carefully before you opt to change anything…
That said, we need to talk about your website… its content and the small little tweaks you could make in time for the Christmas rush. But, you won’t have a Christmas rush if you website is a bit squiffy so here goes;
It makes perfect sense to me!
But does it to everyone else?! One sure fire way of getting some honest (brutal) feedback is to get a friend or relative to be a critical shopper. How is it really to find what a customer wants or needs? Is the checkout process clunky?
Real life example – we have seen a local cattery and kennel who give cats and dogs a great holiday while the folks are away and yet their website and marketing material has a picture of rabbits on it. Do they take rabbits for holidays? No. So why have rabbits on your website…? We suspect to fill a space.
In other words, is your website easy to use and easy to buy from?
Does your website ‘say’ what is needs to?
Rather than just looking at your content, look at the overall image that is conveyed by your website and bear in mind your target audience. If you attempting to appeal to parents, does it look like a trusted website? Are the goods and products on offer, offered in a way that says ‘buy me with confidence’?
A longer term project, but what about your descriptions and photos? Good quality or due for a change.
NEVER underestimate the appeal factor your website must have…
This could be a whole separate post in itself but if you design needs tweaking then you need to get someone with a fabulous design eye to take a look. The festive season is not an excuse to go overboard with dancing snowmen and an abundance of snowflakes, flashing away when someone lands on your page.
You have 3 seconds from the moment someone lands on your website to make the right impression… or they simply go away!
‘Buy NOW’/ ‘Click here’/ ‘Add to basket’/Buy 2, get the 3rd free…
What do the four above phrases have in common? They are all calls to action and, even though we know that consumers are not dunces, psychologically they need permission, guidance, direct instructions – call it want you want – to buy your product or services. You may have a lovely description about how your locally made produce is the best, but are you telling them to ‘buy it now before stock run out’?
If not, why not?!
What’s that smell…?
It could be your stale content. Sorry. There is no other way to say it but your content can ‘go off’ after a while. Not only does Google like to see fresh, bountiful content but so do consumers. If they visit a few times and keep seeing the same thing, they’ll start asking if there is anyone at the other end… keep the rolling news bit going, get the blogs happening, update the welcome etc.
A short term solution that could add some sparkle but this is no excuse to blunder on in and change everything.
Be realistic about what you can achieve and do smaller portions of you website well, rather than a whole quick change that is not right.
Figures vary, but 75% of consumers may, at frequent intervals use their mobile to do their shopping online and so if your website is not fit for this, you may be losing a valuable number of potential customers.
Bits don’t work…
… and finally, if you do nothing else this side of Christmas, you simply must check that all the bits and bobs work, like your social media buttons. Not only do broken bits and bobs send a negative message to your potential customer, it also means that they are missing out on the more social aspects of your company or brand – if they can’t like you Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, then you are missing out on a growing audience.
The pre-Christmas summary is this:
Get someone to take an objective look at how easy it to find products and buy through your website
Chivvy up the content but rather than going wholesale, pick the parts that could be improved
Keep blogging and adding content
Check ALL the important bits and bobs work – and keep doing that
You have 3 seconds to make the right impression…