Is your website ready for holiday shoppers?

With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, take a moment to consider the readiness of your website. Is your site in tip-top shape? Is it ready to handle the increased traffic and larger sale volumes? Have you taken the time to consider how your visitors’ interests might have changed to reflect the needs of the season? Are you targeting the holiday shopper in the most efficient way possible? It’s not too late to begin planning for the online holiday shopping season. Here are five tips to consider.

Holiday Spending Ful 2010 Season

1. Continuous site improvements. When expecting high traffic volumes, many retailers might freeze their site out of fear that adding new pieces or tweeking the current site increases the risk of something breaking. Maintaining your current website may be a comfortable place, but this practice will not help you achieve high conversion rates. Ensure that your team is checking web analytics frequently to identify places in which updates will provide the most bang for your buck. Look for ways you can provide these updates in a way that will resonate with your customers.

2. A shift in consumer personalization. During the general calendar year, your site is targeted to the individual. You use social profiles, networking, and purchasing histories to market your product or service. During the holiday season, the consumer encounters a shift in purpose, a change in perspective. He/ she is now shopping for a husband, a wife, a son, a mom, a friend- anyone but themselves. Traditional forms of personalization are going to be considerably less effective during the holidays. Instead, focus on personalization approaches that consider the buyer’s intent. Offer suggestions for the “perfect” gift. Get creative!

3. The perfect gift. Everyone wants to give a gift that brings a smile during the holidays. You can make it easier for your customers to find gifts by offering packages that are relevant to interest, want, and need. This crucial balancing act that can be the catalyst behind moving certain products and serving up the products and services your customers both need and want. The savviest retailers will keep this in mind when crafting their sites for the holiday season.

4. Think social. If you’re not yet incorporating social networking to your business plan, now is a great time to start. Why? Here’s a tidbit that might get you motivated: a recent study on customers’ online experiences during the last holiday shopping season found that 16% of respondents purchased an additional product based on their Facebook friends “liking” or purchasing a product. Are you using this budget- friendly advertising medium? This holiday season, ask yourself how you can make it easier for customers to share your products and their purchases online.

5. Develop a mobile strategy. Like social, mobile is one area that should be interesting you—holiday season or not. How accessible is your website? Do you have a mobile website? The same study that cited social networking sites as important found that 13% of the respondents claim they used mobile phones to make holiday purchases. Eighteen percent of respondents used their mobile device for comparison-shopping. Holiday buying is just a few weeks away, so now is the perfect time to develop or enhance your mobile website. Your more technologically savvy clientele will appreciate it.