This promises to be the biggest ecommerce holiday shopping season to date.
Of course, the trend was headed that way. But now that many merchants are focusing on COVID-friendly holiday deals, there will be exponentially more shopping done online this year.
And your small ecommerce business has time to prepare to get in on that action.
We reached out to Annalisa Agoston, the executive creative director at Guidance, and some other ecommerce experts to share some tips for small ecommerce businesses and how they can best prepare for the upcoming rush.
10 Ways Ecommerce Can Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season
Here are the top 10 ways your ecommerce business can get ready for the holiday shopping season:
1. Offer Free Shipping
If you’re not offering free shipping, it’s time to consider it. In fact, Agoston says it may be the tipping point for consumers who are considering your store or another.
“This is very important,” she writes. “It’s usually the cost of entry for any retailer.”
Agoston supplies a good tip to make this work.
“Have free shipping messaging very close to the ‘Add to Cart’ button. This tends to ease a shoppers’ mind when making a purchase,” she says.
She stresses free shipping should also be mentioned on the homepage and where customers go to pay for their purchases.
2. Set Up Pay Over Time Options
Agoston also says ecommerce brands should consider pay-over-time solutions.
“These make holiday shopping more seamless for shoppers who are on a tight budget, but still need to get gifts,” she says. “This is probably the hottest trend for the holiday season. There are many good third-party service providers.”
3. Optimize for Mobile
An ecommerce store can’t survive with a store that can only really be seen on a desktop or laptop computer. A mobile-friendly store is essential, Agoston says.
“As social media shopping continues to be the trend, people are more comfortable with making purchases directly on their phone.”
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
Compel shoppers to buy from your ecommerce store by creating that sense of urgency. Expiring deals and pop-up sales are great ideas.
“Retailers should have deals that only last a specific amount of time with a countdown clock timer. Flash Sales to create urgency in shoppers work well, too,” Agoston said.
5. Polish Your Content
Jacob Pinkham, CEO of In Smooth Waters, stresses another old standby.
“Good content will build trust with your customer,” he writes. “Ensure that your website
and product descriptions are in great detail and easy to digest.
He also says you should be expanding your About Us section.
6. Put Together Gift Bundles
There’s no better time than the holidays to send themed gift bundles to loved ones. Especially given the times we’re all in.
“Online shopping and shipping gifts directly to relatives is more popular and necessary during COVID,” Agoston says. “It makes your products and offerings a one-stop shop.”
7. Optimize Your Store
Daniel Carter From Zippy Electrics says now is the time to tweak your website.
“Make some renovations such as fixing bugs, rewriting text for SEO, optimizing your design,” he said. “And streamline usability. You will see more sales if your site is at its best.”
8. Use Dynamic Images
Agoston has some tips on visuals:
“Retailers should also make sure their process is streamlined for beautiful imagery. That includes 360 rotations, zoom in features, video and alternative views on the product pages.”
9. Start Now
“Start creating content now. Don’t wait until the last minute to start gathering those photos, creating emails, or scheduling posts,” said Melissa Meredith, the owner of Content Creative. “The sooner the better.”
Freddie Chatt, an ecommerce growth consultant, adds to that. He says previous customers and subscribers should be a priority for holiday season sales.
“Make sure you’ve prepared your email schedule in advance so you know when you are sending and to what segments,” he said.
10. Plan Your Inventory
Knowing how to plan for holiday inventory means deciding which products to tweak.
Shawn Cannon from OWNit Brands explained, “If the item is gift-able, that factor needs to be higher,” he says. “If it’s a seasonal product specific to Christmas, it needs to be way higher.”
Evergreen products like food or supplements need an inventory bump, too, but not as much.
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