Top Holiday Tips for 2015

by Gwen Carrington | eCommerce, Free Shipping, Holiday Fulfillment

How Leading eCommerce Retailers Will Maximize Sales

The 2015 holiday season is drawing near. It is never too early to begin thinking about the upcoming holiday season. However, those who delay their planning and preparation run the risk of missing out on sales and profits. In the rapidly changing world of eCommerce, each coming year brings drastic changes to technology and buyer behavior. These changes effect what you must do to be prepared to meet the challenges of eCommerce holiday fulfillment. To save you time and effort, we’ve researched the top eCommerce holiday predictions. While this list may not guarantee your ultimate success, it will certainly give you a leg up on your competition.

Who’s Buying?

Let’s begin by thinking about your target audiences. According to Business Insider, Baby Boomers and Millennials are expected to spend more online than any other demographic combined. The next important step is to remember what motivates the online holiday shopper. According to a recent Ebates.com survey, shoppers expressed the following reasons for spending their holiday budgets online:

  • Not having to deal with crowds – 59%
  • Not having to wait in line – 56%
  • Online shopping is less stressful – 54%
  • Shopping from the comfort of their own home – 53%
  • Not having to find parking – 49%
  • Availability of better deals online – 48%

The demographics of your prospective customers and their motivating behaviors should become the foundation of your online marketing efforts. Next…

Make it Personal

One of the first by-products of Big Data being employed to increase conversions and customer engagement is Personalization. Personalization is the act of customizing your content and online experience to each individual user, according to their past history of preferences, interests and online behavior. Just a few short years ago only the eCommerce giants had the resources required to present each customer with a personalized experience, but there are new tools and technologies available that put this bold frontier within the reach of nearly every eTailer, regardless of their size.

According to our friends at Rakuten Marketing, you can take personalization a step further when you combine content and shopping. By doing so you can unleash the power of storytelling to make shopping easier and help your prospects feel welcomed and understood. An important part of the storytelling process is to create unique messaging for each of your touchpoints that speaks to your buyers and creates multiple engagements to increase the probability of a purchase.

Sharing Really IS Caring

Social media channels will present an excellent opportunity for not only connecting with your prospects, according to Entrepreneur, but also receiving additional promotion and sales via your customers’ social circles. Without sounding redundant, the key to generating sales on social media channels will be found in your storytelling narratives, social strategy and calls to action. Another Ebates.com survey revealed that twenty percent of Americans will post their pre-holiday gift ideas, and after the holiday they will share the gifts they received with their social media contacts. Make sure your site is ready to take advantage of these free promotional opportunities, by marketing your branded sharing buttons.

Now is the time to begin planning several comprehensive social media campaigns that pay close attention to your audience and the channels where you broadcast your messaging. Remember – social media selling needs to follow the basic tenets of social media. Create campaigns that focus on engagement and interaction, and make it a point to avoid anything that’s “salesy” or simply a repeat of your advertising messaging.

Move on Over to mCommerce

Until recently, consumers have only been using their mobile devices to research online purchases. When it came to actually making a purchase, consumers were most often using their mobile devices to find a local resource. However, 2015 is predicted to be the year when mobile commerce gives desktop purchasing a run for the money. To be ready for the expected increase in mCommerce eTailers must focus on creating a mobile experience that meets or exceeds consumer expectations. The mobile experience should differentiate from the desktop experience and focus on user experience with a clean, aesthetically pleasing design.

Don’t Forget Digital Coupons

Digital coupons are not your grandmother’s coupons, instead of clipping the Sunday paper today’s consumers receive digital coupons through email marketing, text messages, push notifications, coupon sites, display advertising and other digital channels. This holiday, digital coupons can become a viable marketing channel that can help you reach and convert more consumers. Partnering with a coupon site like Ebates.com can help you reach new consumers and recapture existing clients with coupons, promo codes and discounts, plus your buyers will get cash back savings with online rebates.

Free Shipping & Hassle-Free Returns Will Make or Break Your Holiday

As a busy eTailer, competing with free shipping offers and the often high rate of online returns may be keeping you up at night. However the smartest eTailers have figured out how to turn these profit obstacles into profit vehicles.

For instance, Zappos.com reportedly has a return rate as high as 50% — but the eCommerce giant isn’t interested in reducing these numbers. Instead, they have discovered that their most loyal and profitable customers frequently make returns, and they also purchase the biggest ticket items. In the end, providing these high dollar customers with an easy returns process INCREASES both their loyalty and lifetime customer value.

Free shipping options in ecommerce continue to be important to consumers throughout the year, but at holiday time, the expectation of free shipping could be that much more of an incentive to shop.   Having clear guidelines as to when free shipping is offered and if there are minimum purchases to qualify can potentially reduce abandonment rates and increase customer loyalty.

While other order fulfillment companies are happy to offer a one-size-fits-all approach, Rakuten Super Logistics believes each merchant deserves an order fulfillment company that can help them scale and grow while protecting their reputation. If you have any questions about how you can improve your holiday shipping and logistics you can contact us via email at marketing@webgistix.com or call 1-866-955-7793, and put your 2015 holiday profits in overdrive.