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Nov 15, 2011 | 3 minute read

6 Last Minute Ideas for Improving Holiday Conversions

written by Linda Bustos

Your holiday merchandising is set, your developers are in a deep code freeze and all your marketing campaign creative is in. Your sales are already picking up, is it too late to tweak your website for maximum conversions this season? No!

Here are 7 eleventh hour tactics you can use to squeeze the most dollars out of your holiday traffic this year.

1. Optimize for speed

Site performance matters. Fix the little things. Google has a new tool that will give you an itemized, quantified and prioritized to-do list that can help you speed up your page loads. This is especially important when your servers are hit hard by traffic spikes, and can reduce your bounce rates (which ultimately impacts conversion rate) and improve customer experience.

2. Check your calls to action

Review your email campaigns, make sure each creative has a clear call to action. Yes, I blogged about this last week. Have you started?

3. Run a quick A/B test

Quick means 2 things: the test does not require heavy development or design resources, (and layers of approvals), and can be completed quickly (uncomplicated A/B test with no more than 3 or 4 test versions).

You may have heard advice against testing when external bias (such as the holiday shopping season) can be introduced mid-test, which is why I suggest testing at the beginning of your traffic spike. This may be Black Friday or even earlier. You know it's holiday traffic, so there is no bias if you start at the beginning of the rush. The volume will also help your test reach statistical significance faster than in the off-season.

What should you test? Why not the call to action button? It requires very little design and development help. Here are 3 ideas:

If your button matches your site theme, try a contrasting color to make it stand out. (Remember your color wheel: red/green, yellow/purple, blue/orange).

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Or, try an unusual shape.

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How about doing double duty with your call to action? Include it at the top and bottom of your cart summary box.

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4. Overcommunicate shipping offers

Time and time again, consumer surveys show customers crave free shipping. If you offer it, flaunt it. Everywhere. But especially in your header area.

Too discreet?

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5. Show alternative payment options on your product page

Is it enough to plaster PayPal icons on shopping cart pages? Knowing if you accept PayPal, Bill Me Later or Google Checkout on product pages could push more shoppers to click that shiny Add to Cart button.

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6. Participate in Google Adwords Remarketing

Last week we looked at email remarketing programs. Remarketing with Google Adwords is slightly different -- rather than send a follow up email, you follow your site abandoner to websites that participate in Google's display advertising program.

Sure, it's a bit creepy. But behavioral targeting is the wave of the future, and you can't get any more relevant advertising than targeting someone who's already visited your site and taken some action. This topic deserves its own post, so stay tuned, next post we'll dive deeper into remarketing strategies. (Don't worry, we won't follow you to Facebook).