The holiday season is just around the corner, and all over the world people are already starting to think about their holiday shopping. For eCommerce merchants, this time of year means getting ready for a surge of shoppers and ensuring your website and stock are ready for this challenge.
For most eCommerce stores, the holidays are usually the most profitable time of the year, but only if you properly prepare for them. That being said, this article lists the tips you need to know as an eCommerce store owner before the holidays come.
Check Your Inventory
While the holiday season is always busy for eCommerce stores, this year will be even more hectic. As much as 73% of holiday shoppers will purchase primarily online during this holiday season, so you can expect a higher number of customers than in previous years.
This means that the number of products you are going to sell will be significantly higher than last year. So, it’s important to think about your stock and get your inventory organized, otherwise, you’re in serious trouble of being under-stocked this holiday season.
If you want to avoid being overstocked, on the other hand, you should at least make sure you can reorder inventory when it becomes necessary.
Integrate Live Chat
If you don’t already have live chat on your eCommerce website, that is something you need to change right away. Live chat is extremely useful because it allows you to provide instant support to your customers 24/7.
This kind of customer support tool is always a welcome addition to any eCommerce website. According to live chat statistics, it has a satisfaction level of anywhere from 73% to 81%, which is higher than any other customer service channel.
Even if you do have live chat, it still needs to be optimized for the holiday season. Here is how you can do that:
- Look at last year’s data. If you used live chat last year, you can check your historical data to see how high the customer satisfaction was. When you take that data into consideration, you will be able to predict how many agents you will need this year to keep customer satisfaction at a high level.
- Set up personalized greetings. You can encourage your website visitors to start chatting with you by sending them a personalized holiday greeting and inviting them to talk. You can also use rich greetings where you will offer discounts and encourage people to make a purchase.
- Install a chatbot. You can integrate AI assistants known as chatbots with your live chat to help take some of the workload off of your agents. While chatbots can’t replace agents completely, they can answer some basic questions and talk to hundreds of customers at once.
- Find a way to engage your employees. Your customer service agents will be overworked and overstressed during this time, so it’s good to find ways to keep their spirits up. For instance, you can introduce rewards for agents who perform the best during a day or week.
Implement Great Site Search
Don’t overlook your site search while preparing for the holiday season, as your site search feature can significantly impact your website visitor’s customer experience.
Here are some things you can do to improve it for the holidays:
- Include autocomplete. Customers want their shopping experience to be as simple as possible, and with the autocomplete feature, you can allow customers to shop at your store quickly and more efficiently.
- Configure synonyms. If you manage to configure synonyms into your site search efficiently, you can make sure every website visitor finds exactly what they’re looking for.
- Make your search bar easy to locate. The search bar is one of the most powerful and yet overlooked features on every eCommerce website. It’s important to keep your search bar in a visible place, preferably in the front and center of every page.
- Optimize your website for mobile. Mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $2.91 trillion in 2020 and if your website doesn’t work on mobile devices, you will lose a lot of potential customers.
- Have simple navigation. Easy navigation is certainly one of the must-have features for eCommerce websites. If someone wants to navigate through your website instead of using the search bar, you need to make it as easy and convenient as possible.
Launch an Email Marketing Campaign
You, like many other eCommerce stores, are probably planning to offer special discounts and sales during the holidays, but have you considered how you are going to promote those sales? One of the best ways to do that is via email marketing.
Some different types of emails you can send include:
- Pre-holiday sales promotions. A month or two before the holiday season actually begins, you can start sending out promotional emails to customers. Those who plan their holiday shopping early will be able to see all of your great discounts just in time.
- Last-minute emails. Of course, there are also those people who leave all of their holiday shopping for the last minute, and they are usually primed for conversion. A few days before the holidays start, send out emails that also have a sense of urgency.
- Abandoned cart emails. Set up a system that will send automatic emails to customers who left items in their shopping cart and remind them to come back and complete their purchase. Make sure to include a CTA button that leads the customer back to their cart and an image of the product in their cart.
- Follow-up emails. A few days after your holiday promotions end, send out emails to everyone who purchased something from your website and thank them for your business. This will show that you really care and might encourage repeat customers.
Offer Free Shipping if Possible
This holiday season, you will be competing with thousands of other eCommerce stores for customers. If you want to make sure people choose your store instead of your competitor’s, you need to offer them something that will show them you’re the better option.
One of the best ways you can get your customer’s attention is to offer free shipping. Even if you can’t afford to have it available during the entire year, consider implementing it as a special holiday offer. You can present it as your gift to your customers.
And if you don’t want to offer free shipping on all orders, you can at least set some criteria that customers need to fulfill before they can get this perk. For instance, you can offer it to customers who spend a certain amount of money or only those who are a part of your loyalty program.
There is no doubt that this year’s holiday season will be busier than ever for eCommerce stores. With so many people rushing to online stores to buy gifts for their friends and family while also trying to find the best discounts, this time of year can be rather overwhelming.
However, don’t allow yourself to fall under pressure this holiday season. As long as you prepare your store for what’s coming, you’ll have nothing to think about but your profit.
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