During last year’s holiday season, online sales grew 12% compared to the year before. This year they’ll probably grow even more. But so will the competition. According to Experian research, 70% of stores began their Holiday season preparations in August. Some even got started as early as June. If you feel like you’re running behind, don’t panic. Here are six last-minute preparations that will get you ready for the shopping frenzy ahead.
Mobile commerce is growing at rapid pace. Almost one in three purchases during last year’s holiday season were made on smartphone or tablet. That’s a massive growth compared to one in five just the year before (source). Yet according to Experian, only 43% of stores are optimized for mobile. Make it easy for your shoppers to buy from you by investing in a responsive design or build mobile shop-front using software like CouchCommerce or Mobi-Cart.
The holiday season means deals and promotions. Only 28% of stores do not plan to run any sales during holidays. The rest will offer anything from free shipping (38%) to a deal of the day (28%), while 24% will offer individual promotions to each channel they target (data: Experian). And there is a reason for that. A research by Global Journal of Management and Business Studies proved that in spite of a strong brand loyalty, we are willing to switch brands in a case of an irresistible offer. At the same time, 84% of consumers cite price as the main reason where they buy (PwC research via BigCommerce). So your next action should be to plan your holiday specials, deals, and product bundles.
The holiday season means gifts. Your customers will be looking for presents for their family, loved ones, friends, colleagues, etc. And I am sure you know what a challenging task that can be. So help your customers make the best choice by posting holiday shopping guides. Some examples of those would include list-style blog posts such as:
… and so on. Make this content prominent on your site and promote it on social media as well as any other marketing channels you use.
Holiday shoppers will be in rush. They’ll try to visit as many stores to find best deals and pick gifts. And they’ll need help. Many will need product recommendations or want to inquire about your shipping and returns policy among other smaller queries. Live chat gives you the option to help them in real-time. Giving your customers an opportunity to talk to someone can also increase conversions. A research by BoldChat discovered that chatters are 7.5 times more likely to buy than customers who don’t engage in a live chat conversation. A study by Click2Connect discovered that customers are 70% more likely to purchase following a live conversation with an agent. Therefore, invest in a live chat solution for your store. Most such products available on the market require very little technical knowledge to install and activate, and cost very little. This allows you to start providing live support in a matter of minutes.
Everyone buying from you will want their gifts to reach them on time. Yet there are many things that can hinder that. Your shipping provider will be working over capacity and might encounter every possible problem under the sun. From equipment failure to staff shortages, the company might not be able to deliver goods on time. Therefore, to avoid misunderstandings, specify which day is the last day a customer can place an order with guaranteed delivery for Christmas. Make this information prominent on your site. Many stores display a shipping timer or a large banner ad. You should also include the shipping date on product pages, transactional emails, and any other communication.
Christmas shopping also means a significant increase of traffic from organic, but you will see a spike from your paid channels too. Some sources claim that the number of PPC clicks might easily double during the holiday season. Therefore, be sure to allocate a higher budget for your Adwords ads to maintain ad positions and ensure your ads will not stop displaying due to exhausted daily budget. Remember, 59% of online retailers will focus on display advertising to promote their stores during the shopping season (source). This means that you must work out your budget wisely to maintain positions and win clicks.