Regardless of what is happening with the economy on a macro level, people are still going buy gifts this holiday season. There may be fewer dollars spent this year than in previous years, but there are still thousands of purchases waiting to be made. Now, your challenge as an SEM manager is to acquire as many of those precious sales as possible. With competition getting tighter, you need to utilize every facet of your website to enhance the user experience and build trust with your audience. Even seemingly mundane information like shipping details/information can be used as a weapon to boost your sales this holiday season.

As part of our holiday shopping blog series, I will be discussing how to use shipping information to boost your holiday sales!

One of the common roadblocks that keeps users from purchasing online is shipping. Everyone who purchases a gift online wants it to arrive safely, and more importantly, on time before the holidays. Using price points, sales and discounts, and a wide selection of products, are all great tools to peak your user’s interest. But once you have their attention you need to allay any fears/concerns about shipping.

If you have done everything right by enticing the user with the right products at the right price, don’t let the last step of the buying process be your downfall. Here are some tips to utilize your shipping information as a sales tool:

Clearly display your holiday shipping schedule. Yes, this is basic, but this is what users want to know. Since the user is already thinking about arrival time for their order (“Will get here in time?”), why not go ahead, be pro-active, and address their concerns. You can list this information on the front of your site, as well as on every product page. Clearly state, “If you place your order today, your package will arrive between these dates…”

Clearly display shipping deadlines. You can display your holiday shipping schedule, but you should also add on deadlines for purchases in order for those packages to arrive on time before the holidays. Doing this sets the proper expectation of when an order needs to be placed. And this can also give the user a sense of urgency. If they like your product, they will make an effort to meet this deadline.

Clearly display shipping costs. If you can offer free shipping during the holidays as well as a time line for delivery, that is a winning combo. However, if you can’t offer free shipping, you should set the proper expectation of how much shipping will cost before the user gets to the check out page. Since we are trying to create a sense of trust, the goal here is make sure there are no surprises when a purchase is being made.

The overarching goal of these tactics is to minimize risk for your users. When they arrive at your site you instantly want them to know that they are in the right place, that you have the right products at the right price, and that you will get their package to them on time as promised.

Remember, make sure that you use every element of your website to aide in the sales process. Nothing is mundane when it comes to convincing a user to make a purchase during the holidays (or any time of year for that matter!).