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With the holidays rapidly approaching, you may already be starting to set out a plan to boost your holiday sales. Ecommerce is going to lead the way this year, as the pandemic continues to drive a boost in online shopping.In fact, ecommerce sales from April to May have already exceeded sales during the 2019 holiday season by 7%.

With a record-breaking online holiday season expected in 2020, take advantage of these ecommerce holiday preparedness tips to boost your sales.

1. Create a visually compelling store experience

Consumers tend to decide whether they want to buy at the store within the first few seconds of browsing. For this reason, it’s important to provide great visuals, make the information as easy and accessible to digest, and provide consumers with the right “proof” to make the purchase decision.

Here are some helpful tips on how to design your store to pack a visual punch:

Include a variety of in-context and product-only images

Images are essential in helping customers make purchasing decisions. When you’re creating images for your products, make sure to include the following:

In-context shots that show products in use

These create an emotional bond and tell a story. It’s also the perfect way to show your products in action or suggest a particular use for your product.

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Product only shots

High-quality images of all your product angles, ideally with a white background for greater appeal.

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Customize your product images

Using the Build it yourself online store, or The Net Patriot’s Ecommerce WordPress site you also have a lot of flexibility on how to best showcase images throughout your store. Here are a few options for your store:

If you have a featured product section and product images that have a square orientation, use the Spotlight layout to make them stand out. From the Websites + Marketing editor, select the Featured Product section, and choose the Layout option.

Layout Option In The Featured Products Section

You may also sell products that have a certain size or shape, so the product images will likely look better in a specific orientation. To customize the shape in which those product images appear on your store, go to the store page, choose the Product Gallery tab and then click Image Options.

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Product detail pages

You can also make your product images stand out further on product detail pages by selecting the Hero Image layout. This is great for showcasing beautiful product shots as the main focus of your product detail page.

To choose this layout, go to your store page, choose the Product Page tab, then select the Layout option.

Hero Image Options On Product Page

Create a stunning first-impression and urgency to buy with a header

Provide a powerful visual image (an in-context shot or aspirational image of your product being used) and pair it with an action button to shop.

Go to the Website editor, click Header, and select the Cover Media to use.

Cover Media Options

You can also add an Action Button and specify the message. For an added touch, the message should emphasize an urgency to buy.

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You can also take advantage of merchandising beautiful product images through the photo gallery feature in Websites + Marketing.

From your website editor, simply select Add a Section and choose Photo Gallery.

Photo Gallery Selection And Layout Options

You’ll see various options on layouts to choose from and how your images are displayed. This is a great opportunity to show photos of customers using your product or in-context product shots, to create an appealing connection to your potential customer.

Product Photo Gallery Example

Enable a promotional banner with limited time only messaging

Let your customers know that you’re having a sale or special offer so that they have a strong reason to purchase right then and there.You can have multiple sales happening throughout the year, but run one sale at a time so there is more urgency to purchase during those specific timeframes.

Your message should include content that mentions perks customers get for buying (for example, free shipping, sale pricing, free gift wrapping, etc.).

Banner Messaging Example On Home Page

Draw immediate attention to your promotions using the announcement pop-up add-on

This will help let customers know immediately what promotions you are running and can also guide them to specific areas of your store they may be likelier to buy (such as sale or clearance items).

To increase urgency, make sure to include a reason to buy now (for example, sale ends soon, limited time only, etc.) and an action button that directs users to the store products that are on sale.

Feature store categories in a compelling, visual way

Product images aren’t the only visual that needs to look great. Ensure your categories stand out.

Create a holiday sale category

Creating a category specifically for the holidays helps your customers easily find products you have on sale during the holiday season. You can create a category for items that are specifically on sale and then rearrange the order of that category so it shows up at the top of the list.

Enhance a category’s appeal with beautiful images

Add a beautiful image for each category as well as a description so that it stands out to consumers and is instantly recognizable when they are browsing through your store.

The category image that you select will display as a banner for your customers.

Category Page On Live Site

You can also feature select categories (including any holiday categories you’ve added)  with beautiful imagery throughout your store. Go to the Websites + Marketing editor, select Add a section and then choose Featured Categories.

By selecting add an image, you can also specify where the image links to and point to a specific category.

Featured Category Options In Websites + Marketing

Create and showcase categories that help consumers narrow down what to buy

Guide customers on what products they should be looking at if they’re not sure where to start.

Consider creating “new arrivals,” “best sellers,” “holiday sales” and any “limited availability” categories at the top of the category list to immediately draw in consumers.Having too many categories can distract customers.

Focus on creating distinct groups of products and a narrowed down list of categories so customers aren’t bogged down with too many details and have trouble finding or understanding what they’re looking for.

Showcase product reviews

Your customers will feel confident in their purchase decisions if they know others have purchased products from you and gave that purchase a thumbs up.

Enable product reviews Store Settings Options For Enabling Social Reviews

For each of the products you sell, allow customers to provide a review that’s visible to other potential consumers. This is an excellent way to communicate your company’s social media standing.

Showcase customer testimonials

While product reviews allow your customers to rate your products specifically, you also have the option to add a more general testimonials section as well.

Adding a testimonials section in addition to your product reviews allows you to drive home what customers think about your store and your customer service.

Customer Review Section On Website

Showcase your Facebook and Instagram presence on your store

You can highlight your social presence for added legitimacy as well as a broader connection to your customers.

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2. Capture more customers

Once customers have found a product they’re interested in, here are a few tips to increase the likelihood they’ll purchase it.

Provide a sales price for each product

Entering a sale price for your product will show both the original and sales pricing. You can do this by going into Store Products Add/Edit Product > and filing in the Sales Price field.

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Offer free shipping, local pickup or delivery

Offer customers an extra nudge to purchase by providing free shipping and showcasing it on your store. This is also a great way to prevent users from abandoning their shopping cart if they are surprised by the cost of shipping.

To offer free shipping on select products, go to Shipping under your product details page, and select the option for This item always ships free. It will display a free shipping badge on your store.

Free Shipping Display On Online Store

If your customers are local to the area, it’s becoming more common to offer local pickup and/or delivery, especially in response to the ongoing pandemic.

You can add local pickup and delivery options by going to the shipping options page.

Online Store Shipping Options]

Recognize gifts and offer free gift wrapping

Many purchases, especially during a holiday season are meant to be gifts. Allow your customers to specify this in the check-out so you can prepare the order appropriately.

To enable this, go to your Store Settings and under General, select Check-out, and then select Allow customers to include special instructions during check-out.

Special Instructions Option In Store Settings

You can ask your customers to provide the recipient’s name, as well as describe what you’ll do if the order is a gift (e.g. include a gift note so we can place this in the package).

Also, as a way to stand out from competitors during the holiday season, you can also offer free gift wrapping. You can provide this for all products and specify this in the check-out instructions mentioned above.

Or if you’d like to enable this for only specific products, you can include gift-wrapping as an add-on for each product.

Offer gift cards

Gift cards offer a perfect gift option for your customers during the holiday season.

Highlight your limited edition seasonal items

Did you create special holiday gift bundles? Are you selling seasonal gift items? Showcase those products through the new limited edition option. You can find this option in the Inventory section for each of your products:

How to boost holiday sales

Keep in mind that you’ll need to publish your site after enabling this option the first time. Here’s how it’ll appear on the live site:

limited edition products on live store

Create and share coupons

Coupons are another great way to incentivize users to buy now.

To showcase the coupon, you can also highlight it in the promotional banner on your site.

Add an email subscription form coupled with a coupon incentive

A newsletter is a great way to connect with your consumers and provide them email promotions on new products, on-going sales, and any new worth noting. Websites + Marketing makes it easy to add new subscribers to your company newsletter.

How to boost holiday sales

To enable a coupon, simply turn on the option to enable coupons for sign-ups and customize the discount amount and message content.

Subscription Section As It Appears On Live Site

3. Expand your sales by selling everywhere

Besides selling on your online stores, you may want to consider selling popular marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. and social networks like Facebook, Instagram that draw billions of users every day.

Websites + Marketing makes it easy for you to sell your products on all of the major marketplaces, as well as on Facebook and Instagram

Editor’s note: Social media ecommerce integration and marketplace features are available only for audiences within the United States at this time.

Sell on Facebook and Instagram so you can boost sales on social media!

The use of mobile devices around the world is increasing and more people are turning to social media for finding new products to purchase.

You’ll be able to capture even more sales during the holidays by selling on these fast-growing and active social networks

With the Websites + Marketing Facebook Commerce integration, you can upload your Online Store product catalog to Facebook and keep your inventory synced up all the time.

Once the products are on Facebook, you can create shoppable posts on Facebook and Instagram, promote a product or a collection on a Facebook Shop page or create dynamic product ad campaigns, all with a nominal budget to drive sales.

For a detailed rundown on selling your products on social media, check out our post on selling products via Facebook and Instagram.

Sell on marketplaces

In addition to selling on your online store, it’s also a good idea to sell where your shoppers will likely be browsing during the holidays. With our Build it yourself online store, you’re able to easily sell your products on multiple marketplaces at the same time. This includes sellers such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Google and Walmart.

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These popular marketplaces attract high volumes of online shoppers, especially during the holidays. Having your products where the traffic is high can be a major boost to your holiday sales.

Build it yourself websites also keep your inventory synchronized across the various marketplaces, so you don’t have to worry about keeping separate sites up to date.

4. Engage your audience with email and social posts

The key to retaining customer interest leading up to and throughout the holiday season is through active engagement with your customers. Two ways to engage with your customers are through email newsletters and social media.

Email campaigns

Build it yourself websites offers seamless integration with Email Marketing to help you to easily keep in touch.

With the holidays quickly approaching, planning your email strategy should be started as soon as possible. As part of that, an editorial calendar can be immensely helpful when planning what you’d like to send and when.

Social media campaigns

With a pandemic keeping people isolated, social media has increasingly become a lifeline for people wanting to stay in touch.

With Social Media Management by The Net Patriot, creating a stunning social media campaign for your business is simple and allows you to make and maintain connections with your customers.

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5. Create a winning customer experience wherever you are

Having the ability to be flexible as a business owner is invaluable. And, despite the pandemic keeping people closer to home than normal, there are times where you need to be able to manage your business on the fly.

Here are a couple of features to help you do just that.

Support your customers via chat

With Build it Yourself Websites, you have access to a built-in chat feature for your website. This allows you to provide instant customer service and is the perfect way to respond to any questions or concerns a customer has that may hinder them from completing their purchase.

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To use this feature, you’ll need to enable the Website Messaging service inside of your website dashboard.

Boost your sales this holiday season and beyond

While these tips are aimed at preparing for the upcoming holiday season, the same steps can be successful even after the holidays are over.

No one can fully predict what the new normal will look like for retail businesses, but it’s safe to say that ecommerce will continue to be an important feature for businesses into the future.