Holiday eCommerce Tips to Prepare for the Busiest Time of Year

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Holiday eCommerce Tips

Did you know the holiday period accounts for up to 20-30% of annual sales for some retailers? 2019 is expected to be the biggest year to date for online holiday revenue, with US spending alone predicted to exceed $1 trillion for the first time ever. By following holiday eCommerce tips from the experts, online retailers can minimize the challenges of the coming months and ensure a lucrative final quarter. 

Last week, Nextopia ran a live webinar sharing “The eCommerce Experts’ Guide to Preparing for the Holidays”, alongside Roddy Smith, Director of Sales and Partnerships at Spently, and Ross Beyeler, COO at Trellis. If you missed it, you can catch up on some of the top tips below – or you can watch the full recording here.

Optimize retargeting, site performance and support

One key tip shared by Ross Beyeler was to avail of lower-than-average ad costs towards the end of summer to run initial prospecting campaigns. Once tracked, these users can then be retargeted with holiday-specific ads during the sale period. 

To cater to these additional visitors, ensure your site performance is optimized by compressing, deferring and targeting assets to reduce page load times. Customer support is also crucial at this time of year. Consider whether you need to recruit temporary staff to fulfill additional orders and handle a higher volume of queries.

Leverage transactional emails

Transactional emails are the first contact shoppers will have with your brand post-purchase. Roddy Smith emphasized that these emails often have higher than average open rates as customers anticipate their order delivery. Take this opportunity to present special offers and up-sells to an already captive audience and increase the likelihood of repeat visitors. 

Emails triggered by an abandoned cart are another integral element of your holiday email strategy. Timing, subject lines and copy are all key when it comes to these emails, and make sure to include customer support options addressing any potential obstacles to purchase. Lastly, don’t forget a clear and prominent CTA to close those sales!

Merchandise your online store ahead of time

Preparation is key when it comes to the holiday rush. As Thomas Turley highlighted in his holiday eCommerce tips, now is the time to assess how customers are currently browsing and searching on your site. Many shoppers will research brand-specific terms ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in preparation for making purchases during the sales. Review your site analytics and reporting from this early search activity to inform your holiday merchandising strategy. 

Like in a brick-and-mortar store, it’s essential that you display your best-selling and promoted products front and center on your site. Showcase your priority items, implement promotional banners and display spotlight badges on products that qualify for discounts, free shipping and other special offers. Merchandising rules are easy to prepare now and launch at a later date, guaranteeing shoppers are greeted with your holiday offers at the earliest possible opportunity.

Personalize the shopping experience throughout the holiday period

Personalizing the shopping experience allows you to stand out from your competitors, improve customer satisfaction and increase average order value. Personalized search is a feature that can apply to both brand new visitors and repeat customers, whether it’s something as simple as prioritizing results that are “trending now”, or adapting to a user’s individual color and brand preferences. 

Personalized recommendations are another great way to boost sales. Showcase products that are complementary to the items the user is already viewing with ‘You Might Like’ or ‘Because You Searched’ suggestions. Impulse purchases are more likely during the holiday sales – take advantage by cross-selling additional products and up-selling higher value items. Don’t restrict personalized recommendations to product pages either. Implement suggestions site-wide, including on the homepage, for a friction-free path to purchase.

Watch The eCommerce Experts’ Guide to Preparing for the Holidays webinar

For more holiday eCommerce tips to optimize sales over the coming months, watch the full eCommerce Experts’ Guide to Preparing for the Holidays webinar!

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