How to Update Your Site Design for The Holidays

Man and woman looking at laptop with lights in the background

While plenty of Americans still wait in long lines to get into their favorite retail stores on Black Friday and Christmas Eve, online shopping is bigger than ever, and you don’t want your company to miss out. For the smallest local companies and the largest global corporations alike, the annual end-of-the-year holiday season is coming, and with it, an enormous opportunity for profit and success. Follow our guide for how to update your site for the holidays to make sure your website and business don’t get left behind this year.

coffee holiday gift guide

Source: Joe Coffee Company 

The Importance of Seasonal Updates

While of course companies ideally want to maximize their revenue consistently throughout the year, it’s not really a discounted fact that retail sales happen in distinctly seasonal cycles. The most important time for companies to succeed, the time they depend on getting the majority of their income is the holiday season at the end of the year. It’s worth considering that while individual circumstances obviously vary, most sites place average American spending on holiday gifts over $1000, with November being the month in which people by far spend the most. And it isn’t just Black Friday that your site needs to be ready for; people start buying Christmas presents earlier every year.

In examining holiday shopping numbers, it’s clear that retail is going to be more vital than ever this year. Some polls are reporting a 2021 holiday season for the record books, with 36% of polled holiday shoppers indicating that they plan to spend even more on their gifts this year than they did last year. This comes after the numbers grew significantly in 2020, even with the pandemic, with retail holiday shopping costing Americans over 8% more than in 2019. 

Keeping these statistics and realities in mind, it’s clear that retail and any business websites need to be prepared for the enormous potential of the holiday season. Pouring resources into effectively updating your site for the holidays may very well be the best move your business can make this year. Keep reading to find out some essential strategies and principles to take as a guide for your seasonal design updates.

Spread the Holiday Cheer

Spreading the holiday cheer isn’t just a good idea in Christmas movies; it can be the key to improving last-quarter traffic and conversions on your website this year. Whether shoppers are new to your site or are loyal, frequent customers, they’ll be sure to appreciate some obvious festive touches to your site’s design. Seasonal embellishments help your content feel fresh. 

Most of these festive adjustments can be quick, temporary swaps, like changing buttons from inviting customers to “shop now” to helping them to “find the perfect gift.” It won’t do you any good if all your holiday-themed pictures, texts, and themes are only tucked away on specific product pages. This means that, for the most impact, you’ll want holiday-themed elements to be as visible as possible. Some suggestions for placement include big side banners, sliding photo carousels, or even sale pop-ups right on the homepage or category selections. A little festivity can go a long way when it comes to how you update your site for the holidays.

A stack of festive Christmas packages

Target Sales and Bundles for Holiday Shopping

Typically, your customers are going to be buying a lot more than just one gift this holiday season – so it’s in your best interest to make your website as streamlined of a buying experience as possible. Running holiday deals, offering bundle options, and providing sales along with holiday gift guides are some potentially powerful ways to bring in the revenue. Features on your website that pair items frequently purchased together work especially well for the bulk buying that happens for the holidays.

For the best effect, you’ll want to incorporate these holiday marketing site updates not just into the copy, but also the underlying features that you have on your website. Have a clear tab for sales and deals and make it really obvious what discounts customers can get by buying more. Automatically applied specials feel especially convenient for holiday shoppers – a streamlined checkout process might even lead them to recommend your site to other potential customers. And don’t be afraid to recommend your own gifts in gift guides you put out; you can’t really be overconfident on your own website.

The More Thorough, The Better

When it comes to how you update your site for the holidays, you may be tempted to skate by with the bare minimum, so you don’t have to put in as much effort to seasonal changes that you’ll just want to put back at the beginning of the year. A little more upfront effort can have a positive effect on performance in sales this holiday season. And a lot of that comes down to thoroughness. That doesn’t mean extensiveness necessarily; you don’t want to overwhelm customers with too much holiday content so that your authentic brand gets lost. But you do want to be clear with what you do offer on your landing pages to make this season extra bright.

For instance, you can highlight the holiday sales you’re offering in multiple places throughout your site, like with a homepage banner, a sidebar highlight, and sale graphics on product thumbnails. You can also provide clear order deadline information so shoppers can see when they’re guaranteed to get their items before the holidays – and spur them on with a sense of urgency so that they don’t miss out. 

Not Easy, but Worth It

Determining how you update your site for the holidays and implementing your plan may not be easy, but it can be worth it. You may be amazed at how well certain measures, like special categories for promoted seasonal gifts, perform on your site. Don’t be afraid to experiment and document what works well so you’ll be ready for next year, too!