The typical e-commerce holiday playbook for merchants runs something like this: make sure your site is running, have your promotions ready to go, deliver the goods on time, and make sure you have the right inventory in place. That playbook is getting updated this holiday season. Although all of those are valid boxes to check, with an increasingly competitive market retailers need to add a few extra tricks up their sleeves before November 1st hits in order to grab their piece of the pie.
And what a large pie it is. 2017 set records with sales and retailers are hoping even better for 2018. Approximately $108.15 billion dollars of merchandise was purchased online in November and December 2017- a whopping 14.7% Increase from 2016, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Amazon ate almost half of it though, accounting for 37.53% of the total U.S. e-retail sales during that period, according to estimates by Slice intelligence. So how can your brand make sure to get your fair share this holiday season? It isn’t rocket science, but does take thinking outside the box, some preparations, and extra attention then the old tried-and-true playbook required.
1. Improving Operations: Being able to ship products faster, all while determining the most profitable way to ship an online order is not an overnight undertaking, but is one worth investing in getting right. Several ways to improve operations include:
With greater insight and flexibility with its inventory retailers can select its most popular products to offer express shipping with cutoff dates closer to the holidays. Being able to increase your shipping cutoffs closer to the final days before Christmas means you can grab a bigger piece of that pie, so it is worth considering in this highly competitive marketing.
2. Refine Search Marketing Strategies. Search is still the biggest traffic driver to websites during the holiday season. It accounted for 43% of web visits to the top 500 retail Hitwise clients during the 2017 holiday season. One of the top tips in improving your strategy is to focus on boosting natural search rankings, especially long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords compared to generic terms are generally less competitive, target your ideal shopper, and more likely to move up in the rankings.
3. Improve Site and Mobile App Usability. This one gets talked about a lot, but it is because it holds so much truth. The merchants that improve their site and mobile apps usability understand why we preach it so often. By working with experts to review your sites usability and implement the right changes you can see immediate jumps in online sales, plus grab customer loyalty. Creating a cleaner site with less clicks to find and checkout with the desired products in the end goal and this can mean changing up your sites navigation, search-ability, design, and even checkout process.
Many retailers consider the holiday shopping season to kick off on November 1st, which is fast approaching. In order to prepare for shifting consumer shopping trends and an increasingly competitive market where large retailers are taking an over sized share of sales, you need to make smart investments and execute efficiently on projects that will allow you to get more shoppers to your site. Echidna is proud to share insights in the 2018 Magento Holiday Commerce Outlook Guide to offer merchants advice from experts on how to continually evolve all aspects of your business when it comes to digital commerce this holiday season.