eCommerce News & Events On-Demand | Demandware Shares 10 Tips for Getting Your eCommerce Site Holiday-Ready

As more consumers choose to shop online this holiday season, Demandware, developer of the only enterprise-class on-demand ecommerce platform, offers online retailers 10 tips for getting their sites ready for the holidays. With less than five months to prepare, Jamus Driscoll, VP of Marketing at Demandware urges ecommerce merchandisers and managers to consider the following:

1.   Make sure your customers can find you. Eighty percent of shopping trips start with the search box, and that percentage increases during the holidays. Look through your search logs from last November forward to identify ways to improve site search effectiveness. Typical fixes include:

    • Adding to synonym/hypernym dictionaries
    • Enhancing product descriptions (adding relevant keywords)
    • Expanding product assortment (consider adding product lines that customers seem to want but you don’t yet carry in time for the holidays)

2.   Build out your affiliate network. Under current economic conditions, shoppers are going to be very savvy when looking for the best deal online. Now is the time to start building strong relationships with those affiliates that are likely to drive significant traffic and volume to your site during the holidays. Consider setting up automated product feeds to key shopping comparison sites like GoogleBase, Shopzilla, NexTag and other sites that your customers frequent.

3.   Set your product catalog. Pay particular attention to catalog readiness for cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, product related promotions and product categorization for easy navigation. Make sure products are easy to find by adding proper keywords for search results. Also, make sure you have the capability to cross-merchandise products in different categories – during the holidays, you’ll want to present a given product in both its “home” category (e.g. men’s shirts) and also theme, event or occasion-based categories like “Gifts for Dad,” “Pre-Thanksgiving Sale,” “Hot Gift Ideas,” etc.

4.   Prepare holiday site enhancements.

    • Add “wish list” functionality. By helping customers create the list and linking other people to that list, you not only convert a “wish” to a completed sale, you reduce returns and increase customer satisfaction.
    • Promote gift certificates and gift cards. Promote gift certificates on the homepage and other frequently visited landing pages, and add the ability to redeem them to the checkout process. Gift certificate purchases have grown by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years.
    • Offer gift wrapping. This service adds convenience and creates differentiation from other retailers. It also helps your customers save time during the busy holiday season, which will ultimately build customer loyalty.

5.   Segment your audience. The holidays are the season for gifts—most shoppers are buying for other people. For example if you’re a jeweler, anticipate that men will be buying for women. Change the look and feel, products and promotions for the type of audience that is going to be buying during the holidays.

6.   Bestsellers and gift ideas. Highlight these items on your homepage to provide additional gift ideas for uncertain shoppers. Create detailed gift guides based on the recipient, the price point and other elements to lead customers to a purchase.

7.   Engage in A/B testing now. Engage in A/B testing of new site design concepts, features and functionality to get some real-world data before settling on what you’ll ultimately go with during the holidays. For some merchants, the back-to-school season might be an ideal time for this type of testing.

8.   Get creative with promotions. Don’t just use flat discounts to drive traffic - think about the long-term relationship with the customer. Think about loyalty-based promotions that will create repeat customers and word-of-mouth marketing. Also create a sense of urgency by making order-by dates and time-sensitive offers part of your promotions strategy.

9.   Leverage social merchandising. Beyond adding a comments and review section on product pages, consider these other social merchandising tactics:

    • Allowing customers to create desired “outfits” or bundles of multiple products, and saving/sending these to friends and family
    • Enabling/encouraging customers to post favored products to their Facebook or MySpace profiles, or to vertical networking sites like StyleFeeder
    • Making use of instant messaging, mobile marketing/advertising and RSS as channels for holiday marketing and promotional campaigns

10.   Update inventory on product pages. Nothing infuriates a customer more than to find out that the product is out of stock after the completion of the checkout process. Post inventory levels on every product page to set expectations for customers and also create a sense of urgency when levels are low. Make this a year-round practice!

About Demandware, Inc.
Demandware drives the success of high-growth brands with the only enterprise-class On-Demand eCommerce Platform that empowers merchandising and marketing talent with total control over the shopping experience and continuous competitive differentiation. Leading brands such as Bare Escentuals, House of Fraser, Playmobil, Sally Beauty Supply and Timberland leverage Demandware’s enterprise class eCommerce functionality and automatic upgrades to help achieve higher conversion rates, increase average order size, and improve customer retention. Demandware is the only on-demand eCommerce solution that enables the rapid rollout of new sites, provides ubiquitous access to business and technical users, and is backed by a patented grid computing architecture that delivers capacity as needed for performance and reliability that exceeds industry standards. For more information about Demandware, visit, call 888-553-9216 or email

Keri Bertolino
fama PR