The biggest global shopping season of the year is about to begin, with projected global online holiday retail sales of $5.5 trillion in 2022. Compared to the $4.92 trillion earned at this time last year, holiday e-commerce sales around the world have significantly increased.
The level of competition in the sector is still high, as is e-commerce’s share of the retail market. According to Statista, only 43% of shoppers planned to go in-store, with 57% still planning to shop online. Make the shopping process simple, adaptable, and filled with choices that meet customers’ needs if you want to become their go-to place for gifts. And the present is a good time to begin doing all of that.
This article will cover everything you need to do to get your online store ready for the holidays. To make sure you don’t miss anything, we tapped e-commerce experts from across the sector for their best insights and counsel.
Steps to Take to Get Ready for the Holidays in 2022
Retailers depend heavily on the holiday season to generate a large portion of their yearly revenue. These are the steps you need to take in order to keep up with the competition and have your best holiday season yet.
- Getting ready for incoming traffic
- Make the customer experience simple.
- Give your customers a surprise and a feeling of fulfillment.
- Organize clever holiday marketing campaigns.
- Increase support and customer service.
1. Getting ready for incoming traffic
Shopping during the holidays means more people will visit your online store, especially on busy shopping days.
A website outage at one of these critical moments is the worst possible scenario.
Make sure your inventory is stocked.
Increased sales translate into greater inventory requirements. Check-in with your suppliers right away to make sure you’re adequately stocked, especially for likely gift items, to avoid long lines and angry customers who discover their must-have gift is unavailable or back-ordered.
Evaluate your third-party integrations.
Examine your third-party integrations. Don’t add any more until you’ve tested them to see if they are up to date and can handle the load. The flow of your site can be disrupted or slowed down by additional or hurried app additions.
2. Make the customer experience simple.
The holiday consumer of today wants to be able to purchase what they require quickly and with as little hassle as possible. That implies that your website must offer options that are tailored to their particular needs and a smooth checkout process.
Let’s look at some essential ways you can update your website to deliver holiday magic and meet and exceed customer expectations:
Test your site’s speed.
Along with dependability, your website needs to load quickly. One survey found that 70% of customers said page speed influences their choice to shop online.
Have your team check the page load times for each component of your website right away. Speak with your technology supplier. These businesses can assist you with load testing to ascertain visitor counts and traffic patterns.
Personalize the experience.
Give customers a personalized experience. A whopping 89% of marketers claimed that using personalization increased sales.
Merchants can present pertinent products to customers to pique their interest and persuade them to make a purchase by analyzing behavioral and contextual customer data in addition to business-related data like margin and inventory.
A significant increase in conversion rates and a reduction in cart abandonment result from basing product recommendations on customer information like geo-location or demographics.
When a customer arrives at the checkout page, they have already made up their minds to buy something. Making the process as simple as you can on your checkout page will prevent customers from abandoning their carts before making a purchase.
- Simplify checkout to one page
- Enable guest checkout.
- Offer several payment options.
- Enable multi-recipient functionality.
- Let shoppers select their preferred shipping option.
- Give shoppers peace of mind with shipping insurance.
3. Give your customers a surprise and a feeling of fulfillment.
You’ll need a well-defined strategy for where to sell your goods and how to ship and complete orders in order to implement a great customer experience strategy.
Increase your sales channels.
You can spread holiday cheer in places other than just your e-commerce store. Think about additional sales channels, like:
Online marketplaces: Don’t overlook other well-liked options like Wish and eBay in addition to connecting to major players like Amazon and Walmart Marketplace.
Social commerce: In order to sell items on Facebook and Instagram, update your product catalog and tag your products.
Cross-border: Think about using different online marketplaces to sell internationally.
Brick-and-mortar shops: Make sure your efforts are the same both online and offline.
Shipping and fulfillment.
In-house shipping and fulfillment entail taking care of all order fulfillment, including inventory management. This approach is practical and effective for many businesses.
With dropshipping or outsourced shipping, products are delivered directly to customers from your wholesaler.
Reduce the amount of time and money spent shipping each item by outsourcing shipping and fulfillment to a dropshipper.
You don’t need to keep track of inventory, shipments, or returns because products only ever leave the warehouse, which lowers costs.
4. Organize clever holiday marketing campaigns.
This year, retailers had to modify their stores to accommodate a number of unexpected changes in order to sell their goods as effectively as possible, whether those changes were related to new technologies or marketing tactics.
In order to maximize sales during major holiday shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your store must be fully optimized and prepared with its campaigns and promotional strategies.
Here are some important planning ideas that you can use to make sure that your store is fully prepared and optimized for the frenzied holiday shopping season.
Plan ahead and get started early.
It’s crucial to start organizing your affairs well in advance, even before your customers are even considering their holiday shopping, because marketing is often a long game.
The most noticeable effects of SEO campaigns take longer than six months to manifest, with the most significant effects taking longer than a year.
Use marketing tactics to draw in customers.
Your promotion strategy can be adapted in a variety of ways for the holiday season. To add urgency, create limited-time offers or use gift cards to upsell at the checkout. You could also offer seasonal services like free shipping or gift wrapping.
Prepare giveaways and contests for the holidays. You can improve customer satisfaction and engagement while also boosting sales by implementing various contests and giveaways during the holidays. You can either use social media tools to do this directly on your store’s website.
Organize a rewards or loyalty program. Before the holidays, it might be essential for you as a business owner to have a customer rewards or loyalty system in place that is customized to your brand.
You can increase consumer incentives and value for your store by investing in your repeat customers as well as encouraging new ones to join.
A good rewards program will be simple to use, offer benefits to members only, give your products more value, and foster member engagement and interaction. This is an effective strategy for converting one-time holiday shoppers into devoted patrons.
Integrate your marketing initiatives.
A crucial component of creating a marketing plan for the holidays is maintaining a steady flow of content.
This is possible through social media platforms, blogs, videos, and other online content. Your business will benefit from any web search traffic that is directed your way. When your content is unique, current, and appropriate for the holiday season, there is a good chance that customers will be directed to your store, which will increase your holiday sales.
You can also use social media to connect with your customers. You can use social media during the holiday season in a variety of ways, including posting to your store’s Instagram story, writing Facebook ads promoting sales and discounts, and tweeting about a product campaign with a catchy hashtag.
Your brand must be distinctive and imaginative in order to catch customers’ attention at this point. You can increase sales and spread the word about why customers should visit your store by making sure your social media campaigns and marketing strategies are in place (before holidays like Christmas).
Make use of paid advertising.
Although paid advertising can strengthen your brand in a crowded market, organic traffic is still valuable. Since you can easily promote organic content, Facebook or Instagram ads are a good place to start. Search engine marketing and general conversion rate optimization are two areas where you should put in a little more effort. Paid advertising can assist in generating traffic across channels if you take an omnichannel approach.
Make an email strategy.
Promotional email distribution is a vital and important component of holiday campaigns. Don’t wait until the last minute to send out promotional emails if you have specific holiday sales, discounts, or special offers.
You can spread the word about any holiday promotions that will boost conversions when you need them most by grabbing your customers’ attention in advance with the aid of automated email features.
5. Increase support and customer service.
As the holiday season is drawing near, both your company and your customers require adequate support to be ready for success.
Your eCommerce platform should be accessible, ALWAYS.
A website crash during a week of holiday sales is a nightmare for any e-commerce brand.
Your customers are dissatisfied and unable to make purchases despite the hard work that you put in your website for months. Although it’s frequently disregarded, support for your company is crucial for success.
A quality backup service will give you the assurance you need to experiment and switch products as needed while also providing you with peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong. You can face any challenge head-on if you have an automatic backup.
Create a comprehensive customer service strategy.
Behind your store is a committed support staff. You must now look after your customers. There’s no denying that the holidays can be hectic and stressful. Provide information that is easily accessible and be ready to address any queries and worries.
Provide devoted assistance and prompt responses to queries. A positive customer support experience can result in a devoted customer even when something goes wrong. You should have a dedicated team to handle calls, emails, and social media inquiries. You should also make sure to reply to all messages within 24 to 48 hours.
Request customer feedback and work on it.
Reviews will become more and more significant during the 2021 holiday shopping season. In fact, it has been noted that having reviews and social proof available is essential for success. It is advised that brands and merchants provide consumers with anything to assist in educating, encouraging, and raising the possibility of conversion.
The Final Word
The holiday season is something that both businesses and customers are eagerly anticipating this year. There is optimism that this year will bring a return to normal, or as close to normal as we can get given the challenges the world still faces.
In their search for the ideal presents for everyone on their list, shoppers may shop offline, online, and across all platforms and marketplaces.
Give them a reason to choose your store over the competition by designing a shopping experience that appeals to them and provides a simple path to purchase. Whatever method they choose, make it quick and simple for them to shop with you.
Follow a step-by-step plan for holiday preparation, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to hospitably welcome merry customers.
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