When we think of the end of the year, something that always comes to mind is the holidays. Joy and happiness suddenly become emphasized in our surroundings, and the physical décor of stores, restaurants, etc., typically changes to something more spirited and warming.
But what about online stores? Business owners decorate their actual bricks and mortar, so why not their websites too?
Some people don’t have time to make changes to their site and remove them accordingly for every holiday; however, not participating in the holiday cheer could be leaving your business behind its competitors.
How so, you ask?
Well, here’s just a few reasons why you may want to consider not being the Grinch of the web this year:
♦ Designing your website to accomodate the spirit of the holidays lets your customers know that you don’t only see them as a source of revenue for your business. Even by simply adding a little santa hat or some snowflakes falling onto your logo, the site becomes more alive and welcoming. Users will no longer feel like just another pair of eyeballs on your website. The benefit of this is that they won’t be so hasty to judge the site as being there solely to reach for their pocket. Instead, the friendly décor suggests your business is more concerned with their satisfaction than simply whether or not they are spending their money there. The subtext is that you’d rather have a relationship with them specifically, and not just their wallet.
♦ Advertising your business as one that embraces the holidays also lets users know that things on your site are relevant and up-to-date. If Thanksgiving just passed and they go back to check your site and it’s already done up for Christmas – suddenly they get the feeling that you aren’t just keeping your site up for revenue purposes so much as you are in order to stay closer to your community, not only as a business, but as a person yourself. The decorations help to personify your website and give users an inviting experience.
♦ Lastly, adding a few ornaments or something similar helps to bring about a more connected feeling between your business and its site users. This shows that your business website is more like a local store – warm and friendly – instead of cold and corporate, like some sort of money hungry entity.
Celebrating the holidays on your website isn’t necessary, but as you can see it does have it’s perks when it comes to the online world of business. Although this is true, it’s also possible to overdo the holiday designs – so much so that it detracts from your website’s functionality and usability. Beware of this common mistake if you do decide to get into the holiday spirit of the web. Remember – keep it low key, but unique and friendly.
Clever decorations all around us like ornaments, snowflakes, and bells remind us of something happy and comforting like spending time by the fire with our families or opening gifts on a chilly, winter morning. Strive to make your site invoke the same emotions and you’ll be surprised at the response your customers have.
If you’re looking for ideas, we’ll leave you with a couple cool designs we thought were great representations of how to go about decorating your site for the holidays:
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and many of us are excited, not only for the food, family, and good tidings, but also for the great shopping opportunity that has become an annual tradition on the Friday after. That tradition is better known as Black Friday, but as of last year a new, more localized tradition has emerged – it’s called Small Business Saturday. Black Friday is more widely known and focuses on knocking down prices in larger, more corporate based stores. Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, is more aimed towards bringing attention to local businesses that might not get as much traffic over the weekend of Black Friday. American Express sponsors the new tradition that started last year and has its first anniversary this coming Saturday. The goal is to spark interest in local businesses, in lieu of Black Friday, and inject money back into smaller, more local economies.
The American Independence Business Alliance (AIBA) out of Texas ran a study that showed that out of every $100 spent in nationwide chain stores, only about 13% ($13) makes it back into the local economy where the goods were purchased. However, the study also showed that a whopping 45-50% of the money spent at smaller, more local businesses ends up staying within the same local economy. That’s nearly four times the amount of money that would end up supporting your city, or town, directly if you were shopping through big businesses instead of locally through smaller shops. The difference is indeed significant, and as such it is important that we start to support our hometowns more, not only on this coming Saturday, but as much as possible and whenever possible.
American Express sponsors the special event in order to bring more credibility to the new underdog of holiday shopping days. Local businesses everywhere are participating and you can be sure to find all sorts of coupons and discounts throughout your town or city’s local storefronts. For those that shop using their American Express card, a $25 credit is being given if used at local, participating businesses. That’s not the only big name backing this Saturday’s shoppers though. Google has been giving out $75 in free advertising to lucky businesses who signed up through their service in order to advertise their deals for the upcoming event. Similarly, Facebook has been offering $100 in free ads for local businesses who have a fan page on the Facebook platform and want to spread the word about their special offers for the big day.
Black Friday will undoubtedly still be the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but Small Business Saturday is becoming more and more recognized especially with so many notable companies giving it support. The Facebook fan page for the big event has nearly 2.5 million ‘likes’ and there are 1,000′s of tweets, articles, and blogs (like this one!) floating around promoting this Saturday. If you’re just hearing about it now, it may not be too late to advertise (if you’re a local business owner) and it surely isn’t too late to plan on which businesses you want to go out and support this Saturday. The moral of the story? Think local this holiday, and if you’re not big on Black Friday, at least make it a point to go out and spend a few bucks at your favorite non-corporate stores this Saturday. Who knows, you may find that holiday gift you were searching for and get it cheaper than you imagined – all whilst keeping most of those dollars in the local market!