In the run-up to Christmas, it’s important to get your eCommerce strategy just right in order to take advantage of all the seasonal customers and maximise revenue across the holiday.
However, for those just starting out in eCommerce, or even those just looking to up their game a little, it can be a slightly daunting and hectic time of year. With a massive influx of customers and a relatively short time period in which to fulfil customer demand, many businesses struggle to make the holiday season a success.
So, we’ve put together a quick guide to achieving seasonal eCommerce success, no matter what the holiday is.
One of the best ways to get a head start when it comes to seasonal shopping is to plan way ahead. There are a number of spikes that have been identified in the run-up to Christmas, as well as across the year, which can be found here and here.
Knowing when you will experience retail peaks will allow you to ensure there is enough stock, have a robust strategy in place, and implement any changes well before the influx of customers. This will all help to maximise efficiency, improve customer experience, and ultimately improve revenue.
Reinforce your platform
A huge influx of traffic can cause issues with some eCommerce platforms, especially those operating on a basic package. However, in order to achieve success across seasonal peaks, you need to ensure your platform is up to the task.
Whether it’s adding new features, upgrading your package, or even changing your platform altogether, you have much more chance of retaining customers if their shopping experience is seamless.
Ensure you can fulfil orders
One of the main downfalls of retail businesses during holiday highs is the inability to fulfil orders. Whether it’s from mismanagement of stock or a lack of staff, this can cause huge issues with your customers.
In order to fulfil all of your orders, make sure you collaborate with your couriers to know their deadlines for guaranteed delivery, get more personnel on board, and keep stock up to date. You can do this through a stock alert, meaning you can anticipate any shortages and either order more in or deactivate the product display when it runs out.
Integrate your logistics
Having a seamless and collaborative approach to your business during the holiday season will help to improve efficiency and customer experience.
Using the latest technology and retail software, you can optimise order processing, warehousing, shipping, and the wider logistics to integrate your overall process. Working collaboratively with any partners and having a strong understanding of order and shipping analytics will ultimately improve your success.
Seal the deal
There’s no doubt about it: offering seasonal deals can really improve a business’s success during the holiday period.
Whether you take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, offer free shipping, free returns, or free gift wrapping, or even do a free gift with purchases, seasonal and specific offers can drive traffic and increase conversions. It’s also best to make them a regular occurrence in order to encourage people to return, so an advent calendar of offers is a great idea for Christmas.
This post has lots of ideas for good promotional offers which can be tailored to any season.
Early and effective marketing
A good marketing strategy is important all year round, but it’s particularly essential when you’re trying to maximise on seasonal trends.
Whether it’s through paid ads, SEO, emails, or retargeted campaigns using tracking pixels, getting your business out there as early as possible will reap rewards later on. Use your marketing to advertise your products, your offers, fun and entertaining gift ideas, or even interesting facts about the upcoming holiday to generate interest and traffic. Adapting your SEO keywords can also help to improve success, by targeting keywords that are dedicated to the holidays.
It’s also essential to keep the marketing consistent, so ensure you schedule posts and create a marketing plan in the lead up to the big event.
Customers now expect a high degree of flexibility from businesses and want their product or service whenever and wherever is convenient for them. In order to engage and retain customers, you need to emulate this flexibility.
By doing different delivery options and making people aware of it, you can tap into the modern consumer experience and gain more customers than those businesses who only offer fixed options.
Focus on customer service
When you’re in the throes of seasonal peaks and have orders coming out of your ears, it can be easy to neglect the customer service side of things. However, that would be a bad decision on your part.
Ensure you make yourself available to your customers to answer any queries or issues, respond quickly and help them as much as you can. You’re much more likely to retain their custom if you assist them in a professional and polite manner. Try adding a live chat in order to communicate with customers and help them to finalise purchases.
Adapt your site
It’s also a good idea to make some seasonal tweaks to your website to encourage business. Optimising your homepage to display best sellers, promotions, and gift guides, as well as giving it a holiday facelift, will make the user experience much more convenient and interesting. Similarly, optimising the pages to load quickly will encourage retention.
Other adaptations could be to improve searches with faceted navigation to help customers find the products they need, enable customisation fields to customise your products, allowing customers to create a wish-list, or installing a simpler account form.
This is just the start of eCommerce and there’s lots more to learn in order to improve your success. However, we hope this has given you a helpful starting point, and you can check out this post for more top tips.
Why don’t you have a look at our own web design services to see how we can help you?