According to Adobe Digital Insights, consumers spent $125.9 billion online in November and December in 2018. That is a 15.2% increase over the 2017 holiday season. And on 26 of the 61 shopping days between November 1 and December 31, consumers spent upwards of $2 billion per day. It’s expected that the 2022 holiday season will continue this record-breaking online sales trends.
Now, the question is, are you prepared already? And then we mean really prepared? You do not only need to make sure you have enough stock and the right promotions, but you really have to think about a lot of things to capitalize on this huge opportunity. Use this checklist from Magento that is made by e-commerce specialists. In the checklist, you will find e-commerce strategies, and tips for different phases of the buyer journey.
Before a customer even decides to make a purchase, merchants ask for their attention across digital channels, from social media, to search, to email. Of course, the experience must be seamless across each channel and form factor to ensure that maximum wow factor and better conversion rates. As shoppers browse their mobile phones on-the-go and surf the web during their lunch breaks, merchants must ensure sites are optimized for discovery, the search experience is friction-free, and customers are engaged across channels in a personal and authentic way. In this pre-journey race for customer attention, the key to success is personalization. Because people are exposed to many ads each day, personalization across discovery, site search, and omnichannel engagement is a must in order to cut through the noise and resonate with buyers. What you can do is the following:
• Gather and analyze behavioral and contextual customer data to understand customer intent.
• Adopt multipronged discovery strategies (e.g., continue shopping recommendations and targeted pop-up stores).
• Add personalized product recommendations and content to capture attention.
• Use business relevance to order search results.
• Personalize site search results to give customers a notion of discovery.
• Enable voice search (and new alternative) capabilities.
• Think mobile-first and always start with your data.
• Avoid batch-and-blast communications. Segment and personalize to stand out from the crowd.
• Up your email game. Set up welcome and abandon cart programs for quick wins.
When customers find their way to a merchant’s e-commerce site, customer experience takes a leading role. 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. Ensuring a secure, friction-free checkout experience is fundamental to capturing as many customers as possible during the holiday season. It’s especially important to pay attention to the mobile experience since 62% of all e-commerce visitors come from mobile. Finally, as a special touch for cash-strapped shoppers over the holidays, merchants should consider consumer credit options. Consider this especially when the average order value is over $99 to alleviate high credit card usage at a time of year when money is tightest and card limits are maxed out. Pay attention to the following:
• Offer multiple payment options—and don’t forget about mobile commerce.
• Remember to turn on the payment platform’s fraud tool.
• Test payment processing capacity to ensure your site can handle the increased order volume.
• Understand what good customers look like—and let them through.
• Combine automated and manual reviews and have a process in place to assess higher volumes of orders.
• Have an ad fraud strategy in place.
Checkout and credit
• Have consumer financing available if the average order value is over $99.
• Enhance the mobile checkout experience and let users choose their payment method.
• Reduce distractions and have a clean user interface, especially for mobile.
The optimization of the customer experience doesn’t end once the sale is complete, absolutely not. Post-sales offers an opportunity to surprise and delight customers. As the physical link between a merchant’s store and a customer’s home, shipping and delivery play a vital role in the creation of a memorable customer experience. However, a survey from a previous holiday shopping season found that 56% of consumers were disappointed with retailers due to difficulties with shipping. By upping their shipping game, merchants can provide a memorable customer experience that keeps customers coming back again and again. Customer service and returns and exchanges also offer opportunities to foster customer loyalty, referrals, and incremental business. However, many merchants see these functions as cost centers and overlook the opportunities they represent. For example, a great returns policy can actually 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. Focus on the following points:
• Showcase shipping information (including “ship before” dates) on the home page and throughout the site.
• Remember that the holiday season is a global event, so be prepared to ship everywhere in the world.
• Get creative with festive packaging as part of your eCommerce strategies.
• Remember that excellent customer service isn’t a single stage—it crosses the entire customer journey.
• 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 customers plenty of return and exchange options—for example, customers prefer to return and exchange in-person.
• Optimize your reverse logistics process.
• Remove unnecessary friction from the returns experience.
No matter which stage of the journey, it’s customer experience that’s most important. The holidays bring in the shoppers, but they also bring merchants the opportunity to create a relationship with their customers that can last well beyond the season. Create amazing experiences and stay remembered by the customer. Want to know more about Magento? Download the whitepaper here.