American Meadows uses product discovery solutions from SLI Systems to deliver an exceptional customer experience to its shoppers.

Getting ready for your company’s busiest shopping season is a challenge no matter the market. From predicting sales to organizing ad campaigns, every department is involved. It’s a lot to balance and keeping track of what needs to be done to make your peak season great can be tricky.

That’s where preparation comes in.   

Recently, I joined Carter Perez, CRO of SLI Systems, in a webinar, “Your Guide to Being Peak-Season Ready.” In it, I shared how we at American Meadows, one of the most respected online retailers of seeds, bulbs, and perennials, prepare for our peak season. Since we’re a garden retailer, our busiest season is spring. But the same ideas apply to any retailer prepping for the peak-season rush. Today, I’ll share the top five ways to get your e-commerce site peak-season ready.

Top Five Ways to Get Peak-Season Ready

1. Fine-tune product names and images

Before your company’s peak season arrives, review product names and images. At American Meadows, we use different buyer personas to consider the different wants and needs of our different types of visitors. Matching product names to the language your shoppers use creates a better search experience and better navigation for your shoppers. Fine-tuning product names leads to a more enjoyable shopping experience. And a more enjoyable shopping experience leads to better sales. It’s the same when it comes to product images. Shoppers want to picture how products will work for them in their space. So before peak season begins, A/B test images to see which deliver the best results. Then update before the busy shopping season begins to maximize returns and optimize the customer experience (CX).

2. Review and refresh product descriptions

Product descriptions help people decide what to buy, especially when they are deciding between products. So as part of your peak-season prep, review descriptions of your top-selling products. Calibrate descriptions to match your customers’ needs and wants – focus on features and benefits for each persona – not only the product. At American Meadows, we do this by tuning descriptions to buyer personas and top keyword searches on our site. By reviewing and updating product descriptions as part of your preparation, you’ll help shoppers make better decisions faster during peak season.

3. Nail down “no results” pages

From glasses to keys to products online, nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find what you’re looking for. This is especially true during peak season when shoppers want to find the perfect product quickly. For example, at American Meadows customers need to find and receive items during the limited planting and growing season. Unhelpful “no results” pages mean shoppers will bounce to the competition. As you prepare for the busy season, pay attention to your “no results” pages. Where you can, add keywords, synonyms, and persona/customer language to search. This reduces the risk of landing on a “no results” page. Many times, “no results” happen when an item has been mistyped. Your “no results” pages should include possible spelling corrections for items you carry. And when a “no results” page is unavoidable, check to see if it ends the shopping journey. If it does, make changes to redirect shoppers to other relevant or best-selling products. Making fixes now means less lost customers during peak season.

4. Make search easy and productive for shoppers

People enjoy a smooth and simple shopping experience especially during the busy season! Your search box is key in making this a reality. So before peak season, check your search functionality. At American Meadows, we make search easy and productive by helping shoppers with dynamic autocomplete. If you don’t already offer it, think about adding rich autocomplete before peak season begins. Rich autocomplete will offer relevant terms from your company’s most popular search terms. You’ll want to make sure specific products are displayed, not simply product categories. Lessen the risk of sending shoppers to a “no results” page by giving suggestions for misspellings and common synonyms. Make search even better by adding pictures with the text. Pictures help shoppers visualize how the product will fit their needs. This makes it easier for your customers to find the right product. When you make search easy and productive for visitors, you’re creating a better shopping experience. And better shopping experiences mean increased conversion rates, especially during the peak season.

5. Offer relevant recommendations in the right locations

At American Meadows, we understand our shoppers may not always know exactly what they need or want. Before our busy season we review and identify whether we are offering relevant product recommendations in the right locations. As part of your peak-season prep, review your recommendations strategies to ensure an optimal customer experience. You may find that you can improve conversion rates with recommendations in place on both product pages and the shopping cart. In addition, recommending products based on similar shoppers’ behavior leads to more conversions and better CX. For example, we offer “Customers also bought” from the shopping cart. This helps shoppers see what other products they might want or need to get the most of out what they’re already buying. Reviewing or adding relevant recommendations will help make this peak season your best yet.

Click here to watch the webinar for more peak-season planning tips and strategies, and download your Peak-Season Prep Checklist here