Holidays are always the best time of the year. Aren’t they?
But what about eCommerce businesses? Do they welcome holidays with the same thrill as we do?
Well, the answer to this question is affirmative to a certain extent. As far as selling is concerned, it is increased manifold due to the festivities and gift-buying frenzy. But at the same time, this high-traffic season sees serious competition, increased instances of cybercafe and overwhelmed, busy, distracted shoppers. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the season is both productive and challenging. It depends on the measures you take and the strategies you adopt.
According to Adobe Digital Insights, consumers spent $125.9 billion online in November and December in 2018 – a 15.2% increase over the 2017 holiday season.
It is expected that the 2019 holiday season will cut through these numbers and set a new online sales record. So, now is the time for merchants to start prepping themselves and their stores to capitalize on this billion-dollar opportunity.
Here, we are going to talk about some proven strategies or checklist, whatever you might call it, for different phases of the buyer as well as merchant journey.
So let’s get started.
Before a customer even decides to make a purchase, merchants try everything to get their attention across various channels including social media, search, email or notifications. Of course, the experience you create should be outstanding for maximum “wow” factors and better conversion rates.
Further, make sure your site is optimized for discovery, the search experience is friction-free and customers feel connected.
One thing that can be a win-win situation is personalization. It gives your audience the required comfort, a sense of care and of course keeps them engaged.
Throughout the holiday season, merchants will likely acquire many new shoppers. An amazing experience is key to convert and retain those shoppers. Summer is a great time to invest in advanced search and discovery which is central to a great experience. – Jean-Louis Baffier, Chief Revenue Officer, Algolia
Below are the factors that should be specifically personalized:
- Gather and analyze customer data to understand customer intent and behaviour.
- Adopt discovery strategies such as continue shopping recommendations or targeted pop-up stores.
- Add personalized product recommendations and content.
- Use business relevance to order search results.
- Personalize site search results.
- Enable voice search (and new alternative) capabilities.
- Think mobile-first and always start with your data.
- Work on your email game by setting up welcome or and abandon cart programs.
DURING THE JOURNEY
When customers find their way to your site, their experience matters the most. In fact, according to Gartner, 64% of people find the customer experience to be more important than price when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
One of the key aspects of customer experience is checkout. A simplified checkout not only creates a seamless customer experience but gives you loyal customers.
Finally, as a special touch for cash-strapped shoppers over the holidays, consider consumer credit options to alleviate high credit card usage at the time of year when money is compact and card limits are maxed out.
- Offer multiple payment options.
- Turn on the payment platform’s fraud tool.
- Test payment processing capacity for bulk orders.
According to the 2018 MRC Global Payments Survey, over 60 percent of merchants say that their payment management is central to their operations and enables them to remain agile, competitive, and profitable in today’s marketplace. Another 64 percent state that the primary reason they add payment methods is to improve the overall customer experience.
- Demarcate good and bad
- Combine automated and manual reviews.
- Have an ad fraud strategy in place.
Checkout and Credit
- Avail consumer financing.
- Enhance mobile checkout experience and let users choose their payment method.
- Reduce distractions with a clean user interface.
It doesn’t end with the sale. The post-sales experience offers ample opportunities to surprise and delight your customers.
As the physical link between your store and your customer’s home, shipping and delivery play a vital role in enhancing the customer experience. A survey found that 56% of consumers were disappointed with retailers due to difficulties with shipping. So, by working on your shipping, you can provide a pleasant experience that keeps customers coming back.
Secondly, ensure you provide that best customer service, returns, exchanges, customer loyalty programmes or referrals. Some of you might consider these as cost centres and overlook the opportunities they represent. But in reality, they do a great deal. For instance, a returns policy can help drive more revenue – over three-quarters of shoppers say they’re likely to purchase something else while making an exchange or return, and 62% would buy again from a brand offering free returns or exchanges.
- Showcase shipping information clearly on the website.
- Remember the holiday season is a global event, so be prepared to ship everywhere, anywhere.
- Get creative with festive packaging.
- Invest in your self-help and FAQ resources to boost self-service.
- Use data to help create tailored customer experiences and proactive outreach.
Returns and Exchanges
- Provide return and exchange options.
- Optimize your reverse logistics process.
- Remove unnecessary friction from the returns experience.
Well, that’s all for now.
We hope the checklist helps you serve your customers in the best possible way this holiday season. No matter whether you have a Magento or a PrestaShop powered store, the strategies you adopt should be in harmony peace with eCommerce market. After all, the holiday season is the perfect time to set tune with your customers and make them fall in love with your brand.
Did you find the strategies useful?