With Cyber Week (Black Friday/Cyber Monday) up ahead, the holiday season is just around the corner. Ecommerce stores would be bracing themselves for the year’s busiest shopping season, especially knowing that about 57% of shoppers say that they still plan to do their holiday shopping online. Running an online store means you’re faced with a lot of competition, so you have to be ready to provide a comprehensive range of products and a seamless shopping experience to your customers. Here are some tips to ensure your success during the Christmas shopping season. These are some of the best advice from ecommerce business owners and marketing experts.

1. Brace yourself for holiday traffic

Customers love looking for the best options especially when shopping for Christmas gifts. There’s a very good chance that people searching for the products you offer will land on your site. Your ecommerce store has to be ready to handle a large volume of traffic and of course, to answer the needs of customers who would like to make a purchase.

To prepare for incoming online traffic:

Make sure that you have enough inventory. Make arrangements with your suppliers early on to avoid making customers wait for their orders. Make sure you have your best-selling items always available and ready to ship.
Optimize site speed and security. Nothing dampens the holiday shopping mood more than a clunky ecommerce site. Your website must have the capability to handle the increased demand that comes with the holiday shopping season. Downtime is the last thing you need this season so do an evaluation to see if your site meets industry standards.
Make sure your third-party apps are up-to-date. Do your own testing if necessary so you can see for yourself if you’re doing enough to provide a smooth user experience.
Display your return policy somewhere the customers can easily access and understand when they need it.

2. Work towards a seamless shopping flow

1. While it might take a while for a customer to reach a final decision in terms of the best option, once they decide to buy from you, they should be able to make a purchase without any hitches from your ecommerce store. Check whether your site makes it easy to add/remove items to cars, adjust quantity and options, and checkout using their preferred payment method. You also want your homepage to highlight the deals and promos that you are pushing.
2. In cases of cart abandonment, it’s best to have a backup plan in place. Enable push notifications to remind users of products in their cart. Take some time to design email campaigns targeted at users with abandoned carts.
3. Do a once-over of all your website pages to see if all prices and options are updated. No one likes to click on a product just to find out that it’s out of stock. Strive towards delivering a personalized customer experience by recommending products a user might be interested in based on customer buying behavior.
4. Fine-tune your search feature to give users the most accurate and relevant results. Test the search function yourself and optimize results according to keywords, pages, and other relevant results on your website.
5. Your checkout feature is extremely critical, which is why it must be functioning at full capacity 100% of the time. Customers who make it to the checkout page have made a buying decision and you don’t want to drive them away with a page that loads slowly or doesn’t work. Make your checkout page simple and effective. You don’t need more than one page to complete the checkout process.
6. Enabling a guest checkout feature can work wonders for your conversions. Customers who have decided to make a purchase but don’t feel comfortable providing personal details to a new website will love his feature.
7. Shoppers have different preferences when it comes to making online payments. Your ecommerce site must have as many options as possible to cater to a wider audience. Offer support for digital wallets and other secure payment methods.
8. Offers shipping options and insurance if you can. Always provide accurate shipping rates and delivery time information at checkout.

3. Have a clear shipping and fulfillment plan

Part of delivering a great customer experience is offering options to purchase across different channels. While you make sure that your ecommerce store is up-to-date and ready for the holidays, explore other sales channels where you can expand your presence and make it easier for more customers to find you.
Consider selling on a mix of online marketplaces (like Amazon and eBay), social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok), brick-and-mortar stores, and cross-border marketplaces. Wherever you decide to set up shop, make sure to integrate these channels so you’re able to manage your sales more efficiently.
Offer the option for in-store pickup. Don’t miss out on sale opportunities by also catering to shoppers who prefer to browse products online and pick up their purchases at a physical store.

4. Be strategic with your holiday campaigns

Brands prepare their holiday marketing campaigns months before the event. There is a lot of competition so it’s an advantage if you have planned and prepared your holiday campaign and budget in advance.
Promotions and deals are effective in getting customers’ attention, especially during the season when a lot of them are actively searching for items with the intent to buy. Make your offers as attractive as possible. You may also throw in some additional holiday services such as free gift-wrapping, holiday gift cards, and other competitive seasonal offers.
Your marketing efforts should be consistent, unified, and on-brand if you want to boost holiday sales. Push your offers across social media channels, blogs, and video content.
Budget for paid advertising during the holiday rush. Paid ads give you a slight advantage over your competitors. Ads on Facebook and Instagram may tend to go up during the holidays but they are still relatively affordable.
So are you ready for the busy holiday shopping season? PartnerForward can help you prepare a winning marketing strategy so you can boost your ecommerce sales and finish the year strong. With our expertise in developing marketing strategies and optimizing online content, you can reach your targeted audience and hit your holiday sales targets. Contact us today for more information.