How much of the $1 trillion e-commerce pie is yours?
No joke, that’s 1 trillion US dollars to be spent in 3 months. This year’s holiday sales (November to January) are expected to exceed US$1 trillion, with most of the shopping being done after thanksgiving. The same survey conducted by Deloitte found that more shoppers will embrace online shopping this year, and consumers expect to reserve a significant chunk of spending on gifts, consistent with the findings of a report by Adobe.
As e-commerce becomes increasingly accessible, convenience is the most cited reason consumers are opting to spend more online. The increase in shopping and safety standards has also helped diminish fears and hesitations, thus inviting even more first time shoppers. However just because there are more shoppers online, doesn’t mean there are more purchases online.
The biggest trend growth this year has been omni-channel marketing. Shopping and buying are different. They are two different stages of the customer journey and more time is spent shopping than buying. When consumers are done shopping and they are prepared to buy, you have to be ready at any of your available channels in order to make the sale. Hence, the rise of omni-channel sales, which incorporates online and offline channels seamlessly, in an effort to keep consumers engaged with the same brand throughout the journey.
The thing about buying is that people usually want it there and then-instant gratification-and it’s imperative to acknowledge that. As documented by Google here, micro-moments are where brands need to be.
A person may shop all day online, on your website, your social channels, your newsletter and gift catalogues, but at the end of the day decide to go to a physical outlet and get it immediately. Or the reverse might happen where they shop physically, but make the purchase online. What’s important is that if the final purchase isn’t credited to you, then you’ve lost a potential conversion.
Regardless of how many channels you have available, you’ll have to put in extra work to increase your holiday sales. Surely you didn’t expect something for nothing? And let’s be honest, Amazon is going to snag itself the biggest piece of this eCommerce pie, as it always does.
But there’s still plenty to go around. So before the 2016 holiday shopping season kicks-off, these are things you can immediately start doing to ensure increased conversions on your store:
1. Time to get Social
73% of shoppers are likely to try new websites in search of the perfect gift. Ramp up your social media outreach to get in front of as many people as you can during this entire period by inviting them to visit your store. Entice shoppers to click through your posts and adverts by clearly stating what value they will receive from it (promos and discounts). Remember that new visitors are the most likely to abandon shopping carts. If you anticipate this, you can devise and get a plan in place to convince shoppers to complete their checkout process via emails and retargeting advertisements.
2. Get those Discounts Rolling!
Be more liberal with your discounts this holiday season. According to the Deloitte survey, the hunt for the best bargains and biggest discounts is the strongest motivator for shoppers trying new online retailers. If one of your goals is to get more new customers this year, now is your chance since you know what the biggest motivator for shoppers is.
3. Be Present everywhere your Customers are
Tactile experience when shopping is still a big consideration for shopper, something that online retailers cannot offer.. Nearly half of respondents stated that the ability to touch and see products is their top motivator for visiting brick-and-mortar stores. The experience of shopping in person holds sway over many customers. Leverage the value of your promotions and the fear of losing out on a great bargain (see point two) to convert more of these type of customers. This should be especially true for gift items. If you have physical outlets as well, then make sure your omni-channel experience is set-up accordingly.
4. ‘Tis the Season for Gifting
So, shoppers will be allocating a large chunk of their holiday spending on gifts will they? Promote your products and sales in the warm, tummy soothing hues of gifting. Create a message of how your product made a perfect gift for a few, specific people, letting potential customers easily identify recipients of gifts and make a purchase decision. Make sure to promote the content as much as possible, and definitely consider paid advertising. Carousel ads on Facebook will work great for these as you will be able to showcase a variety of similar products on the same ad.
5. Retarget your Visitors
Have your digital display advertising lead your customers to specific discount products or popular categories, but don’t forget to follow up with social and email channels. Using all three methods will increase the likelihood of driving attention towards your deals.
Email also lets your customers access sales information at their convenience, and having social in the mix offers an effective method of retargeting shoppers with laser targeted offers.
6. Let the Competition Inspire you
Conduct competitive research to find out exactly what your others in your niche are doing and how they plan to maximize holiday spending on their site. Since price is going to be one of the main drivers of making purchase decisions, you need to make sure your price and overall value is better than your competitors (don’t let shoppers forget). Based on the Adobe survey, consumers will visit an average of four eCommerce sites before making a purchase. If you don’t consider what your competitors are doing, you will have a hard time staying competitive, never mind increasing your conversion rate.
7. Integrate Live Chat
If you don’t have a live chat feature on your store, consider adding one temporarily, if not permanently. There are many benefits of giving your customers the ability to talk to a representative while shopping, including helping you close sales. During the frantic bustle of the typical shopping season, adding a human touch to your store will make the shopping experience more personal, thus building relationships with your customers. Live chat enables customers to get immediate assistance, bridging the gap between an online and physical store experience, and if you empower your staff to give certain discounts and offers to shoppers that use the live chat, you can even save a lot more abandoned shopping carts.
8. Optimize your Pricing
Find the right price points for your customers by segmenting them based on past transaction history, then send them offers they simply can’t refuse. Consumers generally have a good idea of how much they want to spend on items, whether it’s $50 on a pair of boots, or one thousand on a tin foil hat. Segmenting them for targeted offers will increase conversions, and has the extra benefit of increasing your holiday season average order value.
9. Offer Free Shipping
Hands down the simplest thing you can do to increase conversions is offering free shipping as an incentive to shoppers. Yup, that’s all.
The two other policies those surveyed reported as having the most sway over their purchase decisions are easy returns and price matching. These constitute the extra value shoppers can expect when doing business with you, beyond merely getting the best price. During the holiday season, consumers expect a lot more for much less. Be prepared to offer it (or something equally valuable) lest they simply choose to go elsewhere.
10. Offer Fast Shipping
Timely shipping is also on the top of consumer minds, and this holiday season shoppers consider delivery within 2 days as “fast” shipping. Hustle all you can to make this a reality for your shoppers and they are likely to choose your store when shopping. Fast shipping will get more important as the holiday season wears on, and we can expect it to increase in priority as we approach the final days of the year. Consumers are also less willing to pay extra for speedy delivery. If you notice your competitors are not on top of this, it will be worth capitalizing on this by offering the service for less.
11. Urgent Flash Sales
While we’re on the topic of time, consider having flash sales in your online store throughout December, increasing the sense of urgency shoppers feel about completing their shopping while getting good deals. Flash sales are great for engagement, especially if your promotions are planned well. It is likely that potential customers will keep themselves updated on your sales, and will even keep you informed when there is demand for a particular product.
12. Foster Trust with your Customers
You can increase trust and decrease customer resistance towards making a purchase by going all out and offer free returns. If you have physical outlets, shoppers this year would also like the ability to return purchases in person. Removing shopper hesitation has a direct impact on your conversion rate by making customers feel more at ease, guiding them towards a positive purchase decision.
Keep in mind that the more customers you successfully attract and please this holiday season, the more likely they will be back for the 2017 holiday season. e-commerce adoption is a while away from saturation point, and every year more and more people are hopping on the online shopping bandwagon.
Thousands of e-commerce merchants are eyeing that exquisite pie. Are you going to join us and share a piece? If so, I hope this article will help you take action to increase your online sales.
What are your best tips for the Holidays?
Want to know more about preparing your E-Commerce for the holidays? Is your E-Commerce Ready for Cyber Monday?