These two days are so important for e-commerce brands during the holiday shopping season — with a majority of online stores making more than 60% of their revenue during this time of the year.
If you are not prepared to make the best use of the holidays to increase your revenue dramatically, you are missing out.
No worries though, we have got you covered.
In our Ultimate 2019 Ecommerce Holiday Guide, we share with you tips, tricks, and checklists to help you get more happy customers (and much more revenue) by the end of 2019.
The challenges faced by e-commerce stores during the holiday season
Before we dive into solutions, let us go over some of the challenges that you will most probably face during the busiest time of the year.
1. A dramatic increase in website traffic
With a lot of customers looking to purchase special gifts at the end of the year, you can definitely expect a much larger wave of traffic during the last two months of the year. A large increase in both traffic and online transactions can cause your online store to crash if you are not prepared. Ensure that you have enough storage and bandwidth to accommodate the large influx of visitors.
2. Increase in shipping demand
More customers equal higher shipping demands. If your logistics are not sorted out for the holidays, you can expect a lot of unhappy customers taking their business elsewhere. Review your current shipping options and see where you can resolve the gaps to improve your customer experience. Be prepared to take on a high volume of orders and deliver on time (ideally) and you can be sure to get even more customers next year (word of mouth travels fast).
3. A customized user experience
You may want to consider updating the UX of your online store for the holiday season alone. Customers expect your store to be easy-to-use and they should be able to find what they need almost instantly. When you exceed their expectations for UX design, visitors are more convinced to purchase from you because you have made it easy for them to complete their orders.
4. Insufficient stock to meet the demands
You can run out of stock pretty fast if you do not monitor your inventory and ensure that you have adequate amounts in place. Check out your best-selling items during previous years (and the past few months) and make sure your stock levels are where they need to be before the holiday season. If you run flash sales or big discounts, you will definitely need to have the right support for inventory levels so you do not end up running out of stock or being overstocked.
5. Increase in fraud payments
With more transactions taking place, you are more likely to get more fraud payments recorded in your system. Payment information can be easily stolen if any e-commerce brand does not take proper security measures to prevent it from happening. LexisNexis estimates that payment fraud cost e-commerce in the US an average of 2.38% of revenue in 2018. To prevent this, make sure you have Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council (PCI) compliance and that you monitor daily transactions to look out for any red flags.
The checklist to increase holiday sales for your E-commerce brand in 2019
Now that we have gone over some of the major challenges you could possibly face during the holiday season, we have prepared a simple checklist for you to work with to make sure you are holiday-ready to increase sales!
The Checklist to Increase Holiday Sales for Your Ecommerce Brand in 2019:
|1. Optimize your user experience|
|Simplify your navigation menu on mobile and show only what the customer needs to see when shopping and checking out.||✔️|
|Optimize your search functionality so visitors can easily find the products they need from your online store.||✔️|
|Make sure your stock is full.||✔️|
|Show product alternatives when “Not found” results come up through a search.||✔️|
|2. Get more sales from social media|
|Feature your hot products on your Instagram account and add clickable links to take visitors to your store to purchase.||✔️|
|Feature your hot products on your Facebook page to drive purchases.||✔️|
|Make sure direct messaging is enabled on all social media accounts so customers can contact you, giving you the opportunity to drive sales.||✔️|
|Integrate all social media platforms with your live chat and/or help desk platform to simplify communication for your customer experience team.||✔️|
|3. Offer different secure payment methods|
|Enable PayPal, Apple Pay, and/or Google Pay.||✔️|
|Provide different currency options for customers from other parts of the world.||✔️|
|Ensure PCI compliance to prevent fraud.||✔️|
|4. Offer different shipping options|
|Ensure that you provide different shipping options to provide flexibility (e.g. standard, expedited, etc.)||✔️|
|5. Make checkouts easy for your customers|
|Create a one-page checkout||✔️|
|Ensure that you do not ask customers for the same information twice.||✔️|
|Remove unnecessary distractions from the customer (e.g. banners, headers, footers, etc.)||✔️|
|6. Enable live chat to increase sales|
|Implement live chat throughout your online store.||✔️|
|Implement live chat on checkout pages.||✔️|
Once you have gone through the checklist, you should be well on your way to increasing your holiday sales during the season of giving.
Managing customer post-sales inquiries for the holiday season
Your live chat and help desk platforms are bound to get flooded with different post-sales inquiries after that many purchases. It may not necessarily be complaints, but customers will definitely have questions or concerns that they will raise.
What would be a great way to manage customer post-sales inquiries properly during and after the holidays?
1. Add a live chat link to customer support in your emails
After a customer purchases from you, you can add a live chat link that takes a customer to a page for live chat (powered by either a bot or a human agent). This is where your customers can then address any further concerns they may have post-sale.
This is also where your customer experience team can step in:
- to ease their minds
- and to possibly upsell suitable products depending on their needs
Customers want instant responses, so bringing real-time conversations to their inbox is just one of the many ways to meet that demand.
2. Implement automation for frequent inquiries
If you are using a help desk like Gorgias, you can set up smart autoresponders with rules. This allows your customer experience team to quit performing repetitive tasks and focus on complex inquiries. This method saves your team a lot of time, and your customers can also get the information they need instantly — without having to wait for someone to respond to them.
You can also integrate your live chat and/or help desk platforms with your e-commerce platform to pull order information through API and automating a large part of the basic frequent inquiries that online stores get all the time.
Create a dedicated customer experience team for the e-commerce holiday season
Aside from working with different e-commerce technologies to improve the user experience and simplify the checkout process, you will also need a dedicated customer experience team that is ready to take on the holiday season.
You will need to build out a team that is capable of handling the volume of chats, social media messages, emails, and phone calls that you will get during this time of the year.
Some of the things that your CX team should be capable of:
- reducing returns by recommending your visitors the right products so they make the right purchases and are happy customers as a result
- upselling where there are suitable opportunities to do so
- addressing any concerns your customers may have prior to purchase
- sharing flash sales and discounts with customers to increase the number of sales
- engaging with visitors as soon as possible to encourage more sales by putting their minds at ease with their inquiries
Well, that about wraps up the Ultimate 2019 E-commerce Holiday Guide to getting more happy customers.
Is there something that you would like us to cover?
Leave us a comment down below and we will update this guide to keep it evergreen and useful for you in the coming years.