A guest post by Imagination Media team. Imagination Media is a service agency that provides opportunities for cutting-edge innovation and customization for all of their partners (not customers).
The holiday season is huge, and people are known to buy more in between pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas. With every purchase, they toss more items into the shopping cart than during any other period on the calendar. Meanwhile, it's also over this period that online retailers generate up to 40% of their total revenue.
Make no mistake: for e-commerce businesses, 'tis the season to be smart and well-prepared. Online shoppers can be super finicky. Every aspect of the user experience should be aimed at instant gratification.
Of course, that may be something of a tall order—especially for new merchants. But finding ways to make things happen is a business owner's mandate. Here are four ways to level-up the holiday shopping experience:
Just copying what brick-and-mortar retailers are selling is not a good strategy. Try this one instead: figuring out what physical stores lack in their offerings.
For instance, certain bathing and body brands leap off the shelves and into shopping baskets. Smart merchants in the skincare category can provide gift boxes containing these products.
December is the best month for doing this. But the aim should not be achieving sales growth only after the big stores have run out. Making auxiliary purchases or complementary shopping is now the norm among many buyers. The challenge is to convince them to pick the gift boxes online—which leads to the next solution:
What differentiates a small-time merchant from a mega-retailer? Price points.
Determining the price range for online products can be the key to offering a good deal. As loyal customers know, supermarkets don't always have the lowest prices. In addition, shoppers may well check out items in person, but they'll go online to search for lower prices.
This is where digital marketing comes in. A strong campaign leverages the special events-packed final quarter. One example is riding the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Their defining feature? Crazy affordable deals.
In the weeks leading to Thanksgiving, merchants can create their own or use existing relevant hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They can tease potential customers by sharing images with the 'Buy It' button on Pinterest.
It's a mortal sin for an online store to break down during a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale.
Another thing to keep in mind: customer quirks vary. Potential buyers may also leave if the site is not mobile-optimized or if they don't find cart add-ons such as estimated delivery time. On the flip side, they'll stay longer and buy more if the store has a free shipping option and discount codes.
Customers are chasing time during Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas—as well as the days that come in between. The last thing they need is to learn in the end that they have no means of paying online.
Merchants have to outline several options before the big day. Even on a regular day, they should be able to accept payments based on what customers are using, be that Visa, MasterCard, America Express, PayPal, etc.
While the responsibilities are often daunting, they shouldn't stop merchants from responding to the sales-driving force of the final quarter. Smart merchants also know how to outsource tasks—especially to experts.
The wondrous thing about eCommerce is that platforms like Shopify exist to ease the business owners' burden. IT outfits like Imagination Media offer end-to-end e-commerce solutions to store owners. Providers like Carson offer support services like web development, design, and marketing. They also assist in specific areas so beginning merchants can focus on offering great products. At the same time, they work on boosting visibility with the end goal in mind: profitability.
About the Author
Imagination Media is an eCommerce service agency that provides opportunities for cutting-edge innovation and customization for all of their partners (not customers). Whether it is site optimization, design or back end development – they bring eCommerce imaginations to life.