The holiday season of 2014 was one of the best on record for ecommerce sales, and forecasts show that 2015 will be even better. Last year, online retailers took home more than $101 billion during November and December. This year, that total is expected to increase beween 6-8% to reach as much as $105 billion. Now that you know what’s at stake, what do you need to do to grab as much of that cash as you can?
Get That Mobile Site Ready
The arguments in favor of mobile responsive sites are many, and yet some companies resist. Sure, the cost of upgrading and updating an ecommerce site can seem astronomical, a convincing argument against change. Before you plan to put off your website redesign one more year, consider this: mobile commerce sales by retailers are supposed to grow more than 32%. That’s almost twice the growth in mcommerce that 2014 enjoyed.
Check Your Tech
This is especially important if you’re about to experience your first holiday season as an ecommerce retailer or you’ve experienced a lot of growth in the past year. Traffic to your website will spike during this time. Nothing frustrates stressed-out buyers more than discovering their chosen etailer’s website is down for the count.
Don’t stop at bolstering your hosting for increased traffic. Those impatient consumers who’ll head to your competitors when your site is down will also wander away if your site takes too long to load. You get less than three seconds before buyers will bounce.
Start Marketing Now
Sure, it might be too soon for winter holiday-themed social media and PPC campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you can put holiday marketing on the back burner for now. Believe it or not, people are already starting to think about the gifts they want to give. That means these consumers will research products and services well before they’re ready to buy. Start providing those answers in your content. Blogs with keywords in the title will catch their eyes right now, and they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Plan Your Pricing
Whether you plan to offer special holiday pricing or provide discount coupons to drive traffic, you need to start planning now. Last-minute changes to your website will only lead to heartbreaking mistakes. The last thing you need is to log in the morning after you start a sale and find out you gave away your entire inventory for free.
Get Set for Shipping
If you promise two-day delivery but run out of packaging, you can’t fulfill your promises. Be ready for all your shipping needs before the season even begins. Keep an eye on your boxes, envelopes, labels, and shipping balances so you can replenish supplies as needed.
You can also double up your shipping and pricing planning with bundling options. During the holiday season, shoppers are looking for good deals. If they can save money on shipping by purchasing a bundle of products at a discount, you can be sure they’ll take that deal.
Pave the Way for the Future
No matter the age of your ecommerce company, you will see first-time customers this holiday season. If you’ve educated them, provided excellent pricing and service, and follow up after the purchase, you’ve laid a pretty path toward loyalty. But you can’t stop there. Whether that brand new buyer made a purchase for themself or someone else, they're likely to come back if you work to build a relationship.
Think you’re ready now? Go ahead and do a few dry runs to make sure your plans and processes really are in place. Then have yourself a happy, happy holiday season as you grab your piece of the billions of dollars at stake.