HOW TO PREPARE YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS FOR THE 2016 HOLIDAY SEASON
People are leaving the malls for the Internet, as strong upticks in online shopping during the 2015 holiday season are likely to increase in 2016 as well.
The holiday shopping season is fast-approaching, and it is time to prepare your e-commerce business for optimized performance if you haven’t already. Understanding current trends, the differences between last year and this year, and the impact of new technologies are among the things you should know to optimize revenue success.
The following are key strategies and tips to help you prep now for the impending holiday season!
Get to Know Your Buyers
One of the most important planning steps for holiday success is becoming familiar with the countries and cultures of your buyers. E-commerce providers often attract customers from multiple countries that celebrate different holidays or celebrate the same holidays in different ways.
Christmas is the major holiday that gets a lot of attention during the high-revenue holiday season, but other major celebrations in highly populated areas matter as well. Chinese New Year, which occurs in January 2017, is the most important holiday in the world’s most populated country. And, spending on this holiday is equivalent to amounts Americans and other populations spend on Christmas.
As you develop marketing strategies, it is helpful to understand these variances in holiday traditions and spending for development of both global and country-specific promotional campaigns.
Leverage Enhanced Digital Promotional Channels
As you look for the best ways to promote your top products during the holidays, take advantage of refined digital tools. Google, for instance, allows greater targeting through its product ad listings and shopping platform.
With recent Google updates, you have greater control over the images and content features in your product listing ads. You can also target specific regions more precisely by using new tools such as the Google currency converter. With this feature, you can showcase pricing in currencies from your home location as well as the targeted user’s location.
YouTube changes also enable you to highlight particular products in conjunction with videos. Therefore, you can integratevideo marketing strategies that show off your company and products, and then highlight core products on associated banners.
Improve Your Content
The fact that holiday shoppers increasingly go online is a major coup for eSellers. However, you need to do your part to offer a high-quality user experience with your website and/or mobile applications. Easy navigation, simple shopping and checkout procedures, and efficient page loads are all important user experience factors.
Beyond basic UX improvement, provide high-quality content to inform buyers as they search for purchases. In many cases, shoppers start with Google or another major search engine. They conduct some basic background research before pinpointing the right e-commerce businesses to shop.
Spend some time in the coming weeks ramping up your content strategy, including development of blog articles and social posts that speak to the interests of holiday shoppers in targeted markets. Search marketing is the best channel to attract new customers, according to 85 percent of retailers in a recent Forrester study. As you craft content, emphasize quality along with best search engine optimization practices to achieve the strongest organic results. Consider affordable opportunities to invest in paid search promotion this holiday season as well.
Retarget the Window Shoppers
The vast majority of visitors to online sellers never make a purchase. Imagine the dramatic impact to your bottom line if you could ramp up your conversion rates by even a few percentage points.
Remarketing has become a popular and effective strategy for targeting people who visit your site, look around, and then leave. A common remarketing strategy is the delivery of display ads to people who have been tracked through Cookies during their time on site. Timely display messages may lure back a buyer who scanned your site, or maybe even found some intriguing products, but left the store for one reason or another.
Review Your Shipping Policies
Shipping practices and timelines are among the most overlooked factors in holiday season planning for e-commerce providers. Your ability to factor in the costs and service importance of shipping into your business strategies can dramatically influence your bottom line.
The more flexible and affordable your shipping policies, the greater your ability to get buyers to complete orders. E-commerce shoppers often abandon shopping carts because they aren’t satisfied with shipping and handling options or fees. A hassle-free shopping cart process is integral to overall user experience with your online company. Evaluate the potential influx in new customers and cash flow to determine whether it makes sense to offer free shipping on orders over a certain price threshold.
During the holiday season, it is common that people look to return gifts as well. Convenient, low-cost or free shipping policies attract buyers and drive more orders also. As tempting as it is to focus only on holiday season profits, think about the long-term retention benefits of building your customer base during this heavy shopping period.
Watch the Global News
Keep an eye on major economic news in the country or regions in which you generate most of your revenue. The aftermath of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom will have critical effects on eSellers that have trade partners or large customer bases in Europe, for instance.
Recent studies show that employers and citizens in the UK have deep concerns about economic stability for the country and region. The most important thing for online sellers to watch is developing negotiations between UK officials and other leaders in the European Union. Results will dictate the level of free trade between the UK and other EU members, as well as established partner nations for the Union.
Given the uncertainty, it is reasonable to expect cautious spending from British citizens this holiday season, and from people in other EU countries as well.
There are a lot of factors for eSellers to consider as the upcoming holiday season approaches. You have a certain amount of control over some of the factors discussed, such as leveraging digital promotional tools. You don’t have as much ability to control political and economic developments in specific regions in which you operate. However, gathering information and advanced preparation set you up for the best possibilities to optimize customer and revenue growth.