8 ways to boost eCommerce holiday season sales

Neil Kokemuller
Neil Kokemuller
November 2, 2017

Right now is when eSellers need to gear up for maximum sales results during the all-important holiday season. To compete in the hyper-competitive eCommerce arena at peak times, you have to look outside of your normal activities to leverage access to an eager marketplace.

Let’s look at some of the most important things you can do to give your eCommerce business a big boost this November, December, and January.

1. Streamline your checkout process

According to the most recent data from Listrak, shopping cart abandonment rates are at 76.85%. This statistic means that less than one in four people who begin the checkout process with the intent to purchase follow through with their intent.

To take full advantage of increased holiday traffic, streamline your checkout process. Take out any unnecessary steps, including cumbersome registration processes. While you want to convert one-time buyers into long-term customers, don’t risk the loss of sales. Allow users to complete purchases as a guest, and then include registration information and account setup details in a follow-up email.

2. Test your page load speed

It may seem like an odd way to begin a list of tips for eCommerce holiday season sales, but a slow page load speed can prevent you from acquiring customers simply because of impatience. The typical person won’t wait for a page that takes more than 3 or 4 seconds to load. This concern is amplified during the holidays when people already feel hurried and pressured to move quickly to get their shopping done.

Use the free Google PageSpeed Insights tool to see how long your site takes to load and to get feedback on the factors that contribute to your success or failure in meeting necessary load times.

3. Ask for reviews in confirmation emails

After you receive orders it’s a safe and effective time to invite customers to post reviews. The majority of online shoppers value opinions of peers more than brands and eSellers when making purchase decisions. Thus, the more you can generate positive reviews from satisfied customers, the greater your capacity to convert future visitors into buyers. Be proactive in soliciting them.

4. Optimize your mobile presence

The majority of eCommerce website traffic will come from mobile devices this holiday season. Therefore, it is a great time to ramp up or fine-tune your mobile website and email appearance. Ensure that your site is simple to understand and easy to navigate so that visitors don’t immediately bounce upon entry. Test that your emails are mobile-optimized as well since most emails are now read on mobile devices too.

As you plan your holiday marketing strategies, consider Google AdWords and other online advertising platforms that allow you to target users based on device. You can create campaigns that center on people shopping from a mobile device. Cross-device retargeting is also possible, which enables you to advertise to people based on a prior visit to your website. This strategy is another way to reclaim people who abandon carts in the middle of checkout.

5. Promote consistently with a good pace

The pace at which consumers conduct holiday shopping has become more spread out in recent years. Fueled by Amazon and the new wave of omnichannel retailers, a lot of people now wait until the weeks leading up to Christmas to begin their buying. The ability to efficiently search for products and compare prices online has contributed to this cultural shift.

If you haven’t already started executing on your holiday promotional schedule, you need to do so. Blog posts, social media campaigns, online advertising and email are among the best digital platforms through which to promote.

Email campaigns targeting previous customers allow you to consistently remind contacts about previous positive experiences and invite them back for holiday purchases. Discounts are a good lure, but pace them over the course of the remaining weeks of the season so you don’t burn through your best deals too early. More attract discounts and free-shipping incentives are especially beneficial in early-to-mid December when competition heats up for the late-buying crowd.

6. Spell out your return policy clearly

A solid, well-communicated return policy is always important in eCommerce, but it is especially critical during the busy holiday season. People want to know that if they buy gifts recipients don’t want or need, they can easily return them without a hassle.

If you don’t already have one, it’s a good idea to highlight your return policy on your homepage, or at least add an easy-to-find link to it for visitors to click on.

7. Personalize the customer experience

In the holiday rush, consumers are used to companies not having time or inclination to prioritize the customer experience. By planning ahead to eliminate common frustrations, time-wasters, and ineffective site elements, you can provide a more stress-free experience. In addition to an inviting atmosphere that induces purchases from visitors, referrals are more likely when people share their experiences in person and via social media.

As much as possible, customize the experience with automated marketing communication that tailors message delivery based on prescribed user behaviors. Doing so allows you to efficiently the right information to the right people at a time when it will have the most impact.

8. Stay engaged through January

A lot of eSellers take a deep breath and relax after Christmas thinking the holiday season is over. In fact, there is still a good amount of business opportunity available through January. About 20% of holiday gifts are gift cards. This fact means that you still have the ability to earn revenue connected to the holidays well after the festivities come to an end.

In addition to promotions aimed at attracting new customers, digital campaigns that invite holiday shoppers to return for January specials is a great way to earn some of the gift-card bounty available.

Conclusions

These are some of the most important actions for eSellers to take in the coming weeks as the holidays approach. Finding the right balance between a simple and efficient buying process and activities that allow you to potentially earn long-term customers will undoubtedly increase your chances for success.


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