Prepare e-commerce for Christmas

According to Yes mail Interactive, 38.1% of people start their Christmas shopping before November which jumps up to 69.8% of people starting their Christmas shopping before the 1st December. Merchants must act now to get their inventory, processes, and protocols in place if they hope to see good performance come November.

Here are ten key actions that retailers can action now to prepare for making the 2017 holiday period their most profitable yet:

1. Curate your lists

Clean your marketing lists. Make sure you have the right contact information for all your customers and prospects. Then segment them. Segmenting by gender, location, or category products they purchase from you will help you to target campaigns. Look at ways to market different messages to your lists, based on who they are and how they buy.

2. Re-engage with existing customers

Focus on your loyal customers. Yes, spend time getting new customers. But spend more time on the customers who already buy from you. Create campaigns to get them to become loyal, repeat customers.

3. Learn from the past

Look back at your analytics and sales figures from last year. Look at the offers you ran and the marketing you put out. Remind yourself of what worked and what didn’t work, and use that information to plan for this year.

4. Plan inventory

After looking at peak points in last year’s sales, you will be able to plan your stock ordering. Consider how you will cope with the logistics of increased sales from last year, and look at how a fulfilment partner could work with your business to help you cope with increased inventory and deliveries.

5. Brainstorm

Brainstorm on what marketing campaigns you should do to attract the right prospects to your website. Think about images, themes, and offers for marketing; as well as the design of your website.

6. Have a strict third-party apps policy

The same way retailers decorate heavily their high street store windows, they tend to do the same for their e-commerce site by investing in additional content, such as third-party tags, SEO and videos. Many of these apps and plugins, including marketing analytics tools, are designed to create powerful online experiences. However, they can significantly affect how fast a page loads and contribute to a poor consumer experience that leads to a consumer clicking off a retail site early. Rich media like embedded videos, social media and other interactive features can help retailers to create compelling online experiences but should be placed into a page in the most streamlined way, to ensure optimum load speeds.

Over the lunchtime on Black Friday 2016 itself, analysis from IT reseller magazine showed that the websites of two of the UK’s biggest department stores took over 4 seconds to load. Upon investigation, this was attributed to poorly performing 3rd Party elements. When there are traffic surges, this can mean the site slows down to a crawl or there are minor or major outages. All Frooition custom designs and Froo Apps are tested to deliver feature rich eBay designs that load in a second or less.

Retailers should analyze the additional content they invest in and ask themselves the question “What is the value of this service?”

7. Check mobile performance

Looking at total e-commerce traffic from the holiday period of 2016, Mobile traffic volume was very close to that of desktop (41% vs 50%). However, there was a much bigger difference in sales volume. 69% of sales came via desktop but just 21% from mobile (31% if you include tablet devices). This suggests that while people like to browse or compare via mobile, they still prefer to complete transactions via desktop.

Mobile usability has improved a lot over the last few years, but on many sites, it is still much easier to transact on a desktop site than mobile. Both BigCommerce and Shopify designs from Frooition are mobile responsive, with optimized checkout pages to turn more mobile browsers into buyers.

Looking specifically at eBay, 2016 was the first year where sales from mobile devices during the holiday period overtook sales from desktop.  Ebay had made many improvements to mobile user experience, and their increased sales from mobile devices reflected that. Frooition eBay designs are all made to be mobile responsive as standard, with speed, usability, and security being a focus for our designers.

8. Make updates

Update your website and eBay store. Make sure that all of your branding is up to date, and think about holiday graphics. Work with an expert to ensure the navigation of your website is well designed and easy to navigate. Ensure that your eBay listings are policy compliant and that your eBay listings contain cross-promotion for other related items.  Make sure your website is fast and secure. Customers will not tolerate slow websites, and security concerns are one of the main reasons for sales being abandoned.

9. Tackle cart abandonment

Retailers bring out their strongest offers and biggest discounts during the holiday period, customers are comparison shopping, and cart abandonment rates are at their highest at this time of year. Make sure you save as many of these sales as possible by taking a little time to put together a strong cart abandonment strategy. Here is our advice on creating a cart abandonment strategy.

10. partner up

Partnerships can be important. Do you know complimentary businesses you can consider joint marketing campaigns with? For example; if you sold chocolates, you could create a discount offer for customers of a mail order florist. If they featured that in their newsletter, they would be offering their customers something of value, and you would be reaching their customers for free.

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