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5 Ways eCommerce Sites Update Their UX to Get You Buying Gifts

By Christine Austin

5 Ways eCommerce Sites Update Their UX to Get You Buying Gifts

ecommerce.jpgThe holidays are finally upon us, and you know what that means; it’s time to start gift hunting. 

If you are like me and enjoy avoiding the holiday traffic and crowds, you stay in and do the majority of your holiday shopping online.

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Knowing many others do the same, eCommerce websites prepare for their increase in holiday traffic by altering their website experience accordingly to push their holiday promotions in hopes of increasing sales.

Last year alone, eCommerce sales reached $53.5 billion in 2014 (from desktop sales alone) and are continuing to increase each year.

Consumers are also slowly migrating their shopping experiences to mobile devices. In fact, studies show that 54% of all holiday shoppers plan to do their holiday shopping on a smartphone this year.

To understand how eCommerce companies help increase their web sales during the season of shopping and gift giving, check out the examples below to see how they specifically alter their websites for the season.

Seeing Red

If you haven’t noticed, Christmas is right around the corner, and eCommerce websites are not afraid to use holiday colors to its advantage.

Some sites such as Lands End decide to use the color more sparingly. They use it in the background of ad bars, drawing attention to specific sales or shipping promotions people should take advantage of.


Other websites will temporarily include the color in their branding by incorporating it into backgrounds, fonts, CTAs, and images.

Kohl’s is no stranger to this technique. The company highlights their most popular promotions in red front and center and continue to cycle in the color to signify popular items, special sales, and CTA buttons.


Since red is such a stimulating and eye catching color, using it in these ways helps draw the user's eyes to the best deals. This ultimately allows Kohl’s to easily cycle users through products get them through the buying process faster.

Large Above-the-Fold CTA’s

Sometimes throwing in the color red to your branding alone isn’t going to cut it for your users. Some companies need to gain their attention using larger advertisements promoting sales and coupons.

Macy’s just so happened to be doing that on the 14th. In an effort to advertise their Green Monday sale, they put a countdown timer, coupon promotion, and buttons directing users to the areas the sales are right on there homepage.  


The use of large text emphasizing that the sale ends today accompanied with the countdown also creates a sense of urgency. It convinces users to buy now, as the sale tomorrow may not be as ideal as the one today.

Bloomingdale’s decided to take a much simpler approach by avoiding red and green and using other bright colors that would entice the user to buy their products.


This CTA is also seen consistently throughout the website as a constant reminder to the users about the promotion.

Navigation Additions

Your navigation is the map of your website. It gets your users where they want to go quickly and easily and is an element users are constantly looking at. Many retailers take advantage of their navigation during this season to advertise special offers or gift pages.

Some websites, such as Amazon choose to promote a special service they have that, during the holidays, may help buyers save some money or better there shopping experience. In Amazon’s case, they choose to showcase their Prime Membership which helps buyers get their items faster while also saving on shipping costs.


If companies don’t have special services to offer, they will tend to add in a navbar item directing users to gifts they would be most likely to buy.

Forever21 did just that, but creatively brought a little more attention to it by putting it right in the center of the navigation and incorporate a GIF of antlers and rudolph's nose blinking.


Disney also took a similar route but didn’t choose to draw as much attention to their addition.

Highlighting the change in your navigation can help attract attention to both newcomers and frequent visitors by signifying the location they are most likely to travel to.

Items Everywhere

It’s no secret this time of year brings about huge promotions, doorbusters, flash sales, and limited time specials. While some websites choose to advertise these through homepage CTAs or small banners, others choose to show the items front and center.

Staples decided to take advantage of their homepage real estate and post a large variety of items across the homepage showcasing how many sold, the savings, and countdown timers for each one.


While this may seem cluttered, it’s more structured than most printed advertisements and allows people to easily sift through a variety of great deals in a range of categories without having to go to another page and search for themselves.

Overstock took a similar approach but instead highlighted categories of deals in the hero rather than specific items. This simply allows for more room to advertise less important categories and promotions further down the page.


Holiday Pop-ups

Nothing quite says “‘tis the season” like some holiday themed pop-ups.

The holiday season is the perfect time to capture new customers who are looking to monitor sales and stay up-to-date on coupons. So why not switch up your pop-up to fit this time of year?

Bath & Body Works took this route on their homepage. After a few seconds of navigating on it, the pop-up appears (as long as you aren't already a subscriber) which advertises signing up for email alerts during the Christmas season.


While you can argue how much pop-ups really annoy visitors, they are still shown to convert well and allow companies to take advantage of their traffic spikes so they can also increase their contacts.

For those of us who don’t want to go as heavy on the holidays as Bath & Body works, there's always the option of updating your content to include something about holiday promotions.

Gap did this by adding in large red text with their CTA to sign up. This allows them to easily switch up their saying with the next holiday or promotion.



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Web Design
User Experience
Published on December 15, 2015

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