By Nikole Haiar, Director of Marketing at Hostway Services, Inc.
Although the holidays are over, retailers still have projects and initiatives going on. In fact, with spring just around the corner, many brands are building better e-commerce websites and revamping their in-store presences to reflect the warmer weather and changing customer needs. Some companies emphasize this time of year, utilizing it to adjust their offerings for the warmer months.
Call it Spring Cleaning: “Out with the old, and in with the new.” Retailers can greatly benefit from this approach, ensuring they shift their offerings to provide their customers something new while addressing consumers’ needs for the upcoming season as well.
Let’s examine a few of the ways retailers perform Spring Cleaning, preparing their brands and product lines for the coming weeks and months:
1. Remove outdated promotional offerings.
One of the first things companies can do for Spring Cleaning is to re-examine their promotional offers, both on their website and at their brick-and-mortar locations. Thawte contributor Justin Hebels suggested that webmasters and decision-makers check their main home page, any banners across the site, the shopping cart, and other places where coupons and discounts are offered. Any older or outdated promotions should be removed, not only to refresh the site’s appearance, but also to ensure there is room for new seasonal offers.
2. Adjust product offerings.
In addition to the ads and sales, administrators should also review the products featured on their site. Brands often showcase seasonal items, and spring is the perfect time to remove offerings like heavy coats and boots, replacing them with more colorful, seasonally appropriate pieces.
Once product offerings are updated, craft advertisements and promotions to make these items more attractive to customers. As older discounts and coupons are removed, the site will have ample room to accommodate these new specials.
3. Ensure the mobile site is updated.
While changes are being made to the main website, businesses shouldn’t overlook their mobile presence. An increasing number of consumers are utilizing handheld devices to connect with retailers on a more frequent basis. Any changes in product offerings and promotions should be reflected on the mobile-optimized site as well to ensure that customers using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device can take advantage of these sales.
4. Reduce clutter.
In addition to these other clean-up efforts, consider taking an overall look at the platform to spot any other items that can be streamlined or removed. Extra bells and whistles, text blocks and other features that only serve to clutter a site should be scaled back or eliminated altogether, especially on the mobile site. Frequent visitors — including administrators and other staff members — may overlook these items as they have gotten used to the site’s appearance, so a third party may be needed to help.
“It might be helpful to get feedback from people whose opinion you value,” Hostway customer and web design Wix noted in its blog. “Ask them to browse all the way through your website and point to elements that do not seem valuable to the user experience.”
5. Review website security.
Another important aspect of Spring Cleaning is the website’s security. Hebels encouraged retailers to take a look at the site’s copyright date, PCI certification information and software upgrades and patches to ensure that the platform is completely up to date.
“E-commerce groups should also look at the SSL certificate being used to secure the site to determine if an update is needed,” Hebels pointed out. “The proper payment security can potentially make or break an online retailer, therefore it is important to implement a best-in-class SSL certificate from a trusted certificate authority.”
6. Go public with seasonal changes.
Once the website and product lines have been updated, be sure your customers know. Use your cleaning efforts as a springboard for seasonal advertising. Boost traffic and encourage new customers to visit the website. Include social media posts, email campaigns and banner ads on the site itself to call attention to the hard work the company put in and showcase changes for new and existing clients.
With over a decade of experience in technology-focused B2B marketing, Nikole Haiar is responsible for the marketing, strategy and execution for Hostway’s retail and white-labeled cloud applications, which includes websites, email, online marketing, SEO, business productivity and web security tools.