Preparing your Business for the Holiday Season

The holiday season this year is going to be a little different. Instead of rushing to the mall to find great deals and the perfect presents, consumers will be shopping from their laptops. Criteo, a leader in eCommerce marketing, found that 88 percent of consumers this year plan to shop online this holiday season. To adapt to the changing nature of shopping, businesses will need to pivot their focus to eCommerce and updating infrastructure to ensure they can handle the shift.

Here are three ways for businesses to upgrade their business plan and make it through the holiday season.

Improve User Experience

Over three-quarters of American consumers said they have shopped at new stores online since March when restrictions were put in place. Since there are so many competitors in the eCommerce field, companies need to stand out and build relationships with their shoppers. Enhancing the user experience of your website is a good way to attract more shoppers and build loyalty. A few ways to enhance user experience include:

Personalized recommendations: According to research from SWEOR, on average, consumers decide if they like a website within 50 milliseconds of opening it, and 38 percent will leave the website if they find it unappealing. An effective way to instantly grab a shopper’s attention is to highlight products you know they will like. Using consumer data, recommend items for each consumer on the front page and update your website to highlight popular holiday items. Including personal recommendations at the checkout and the bottom of the page will also help your website connect with shoppers.

Stock Updates: The biggest disappointment while online shopping is going to your cart, beginning checkout and seeing the notification that an item has sold out. Shoppers instantly feel deflated and often leave the other items in their cart without buying. Including real-time stock updates on your website will help curb any future disappointment and help build trust.

Improved Infrastructure: Having a slow website dissuades consumers. If a website does not load within three seconds, visitors are likely to give up and move to another site. As we go into the holiday season it is a good time to run a load test to see if your server can handle more traffic.

Upgrade your Shipping Practices

Shipping is an integral part of great customer service. A delayed or lost package can damage a shopper’s opinion of a brand and deter them from returning. This holiday season is going to be busy – and delays are inevitable – but there are a few steps your company can take in preparation to help you get through the season without a hitch.

Offer different options: Providing a variety of ways for shoppers to get their items does not only help mitigate your costs and effort, but also makes consumers happy. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, offer shoppers the option to pick up items in store. If possible, you can also offer same-day-shipping and free-shipping options.

Memorable packaging: A survey from Dotcom Distribution found that 40% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases from brands with premium packaging. A good way to step up your delivery is to use memorable packaging – and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. It can be as simple as including a company sticker on the box, custom tissue paper, or including promotional items in orders.

Adapt Marketing

With so many competitors out there, it is important to make your brand stand out. Adapting your marketing strategy during the holidays is a good way to keep your brand relevant and cut through the noise. Here are a few ways you can upgrade your marketing during the holiday season.

Offer free shipping and wrapping paper: Although the holidays are a crazy time for everyone, it can benefit your brand to take the extra step and offer your shoppers a little bonus. Offering free-shipping and wrapping paper during the holiday season is an easy way to show your shoppers you care, and even such a little action could turn them into repeat customers.

Holiday Content Calendar: Keeping a constant flow of content on social media platforms grabs consumer attention and increases the chances of shoppers making the jump from your social pages to your eCommerce site. From your blogs to each social media feed, create holiday-themed content that highlights not only your product but also your brand’s values.

Giveaways: Grab attention, and interest, by holding seasonal giveaways. Giveaways can be something as small as a gift card or even a gift basket with various items from your store or other local businesses.

Happy Holidays!