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Seven actionable ideas to optimize e-Commerce website conversions for the holiday season

Holidays are near. I hear you say: yay! Holidays have always been a very happy period for marketers, businesses and customers alike. Businesses want to cheerfully sell stuff and customers want to gladly buy stuff. What a perfect setting!

Even though eCommerce sales and conversions generally increase in this season, they can be optimized even more. If you are looking for ideas to increase conversion rate specifically for holiday season, the following list will serve exact that purpose. How to optimize ecommerce conversions for holidays? Here’s how:

  1. Split test a holiday themed website – too afraid to overhaul the website for holidays? Split test by including a fraction of visitors and see if it increases conversions. As our past experience says, it should.
  2. Target visitors from other countries with the non-holiday themed website - even if you theme your website, don’t loose visitors from countries other than where holiday season is on. Visitors come to your website from all parts of the world; some of them will be from regions/countries where they don’t have this holiday season. Don’t confuse them, just serve them with a different website template.
  3. Segment the visitors on week of the day and time of the day – during holidays, clear patterns in different types of visitors emerge because their is frantic online shopping. See how buying behavior changes with the time or day; leverage that information to better target your offers and achieve even more conversions
  4. Split test gifts v/s direct purchases – in holiday season, having calls to action which let visitors gift items instead of purchasing may indeed increase total revenues
  5. Send targeted holiday offers through email based on visitor profile – segment your previous customers on city, country, past purchases, kids and other parameters and send targeted offers to them
  6. Leverage holiday sentiment effectively – for example, a perfect ad copy that plays on holiday sentiments: What are you gifting your child this Christmas? In last two hours, 52 moms already gifted this super-fast toy-car for their kids this holiday season.
  7. Create a sense of hurry – have offers like ‘Flat 25% discount only till Christmas. Buy Now!‘, or ‘Buy at old price. Prices increasing 30% in the New Year

Use all of the above ideas for increase sales for your business but keep a general tip in mind: run lots of split tests to test different ideas but at a time include only 10-15% of all website visitors because you wouldn’t want too many lost sales opportunities if different versions/ideas perform poorly. But, of course, this depends on the total traffic. If you are a small e-Commerce store, you may not have luxury to get test results with just 10-15% of visitors.

What are your favorite strategies for holiday-specific conversion optimization? Tried any of the strategies described here? Would love to hear your experiences and viewpoints.


  1. Hi there,
    I ran into this post while doing research for a similar list dedicated to optimizing ecommerce and product videos for the holiday season.

    I think it’s important that etailers make the most of the opportunity the holidays offer especially since according to Forrester Research, this holiday season American online retail sales are expected to reach $45 billion – an 8% increase from last year.

    My list of tips is here:

    You’re welcome to comment and add your own tips


    Comment by Mike Darnell — December 8, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

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