The holiday season is upon us once again! And this year, across the world, every business is rebuilding itself and recovering from the effects of the pandemic. As much as retail took a hit during the pandemic, the industry is picking the pace with the help of eCommerce, which has had exponential growth compared to 2019.
Sure, for the last two years, we’ve seen a rise in eCommerce shopping compared to offline stores, but with the new normal, the shopping carts are only going to fill up more. Brand loyalty has taken a new turn, and everything comes down to a seamless shopping experience and faster delivery. eCommerce stores usually have a lot of offers and sales all year round, which takes up every last bit of marketing strategy to attract customers. So for the holidays, you’ll need some innovative strategies with a twist of magic.
It’s always better to plan in advance, but it’s never too late either. We’ve put together a checklist to help your eCommerce business keep up with the spirit of the holidays. Before we go into detail, keep these few points in mind:
- You can take advantage of the holiday season’s maximum potential if you plan in advance.
- Don’t hesitate to spend a little money on the promotions, because if done the right way, you could make triple of it in no time.
- Start introducing unique holiday products early and ease the customers into it so that any glitches can be fixed before the holiday rush comes in.
Be Prepared for the Holiday Rush
Even in offline stores, it gets difficult for the staff to manage the customers or attend to them after a certain limit. The trouble doubles if unexpected traffic comes into the website when it comes to online. Even if your website or your server goes down for a couple of minutes, it could cost you a lot more than just a few customers.
People crave a hassle-free shopping experience. Even the slightest glitch could disappoint them and hurt your brand image and customer loyalty. You don’t want people leaving midway shopping, their carts full and abandoned. With a boom in eCommerce retail, people have options to choose from, and before they add things to the cart in one store, they would have thought of all the backup options. If your server or website crashes, they will move to the next eCommerce site without hesitation. Ensuring safety, stability, and proper back-end support is important.
Ensure Third-Party Integrations
You may have made your interface smooth and aesthetically pleasing, but if you have looked past the third-party integrations, all your efforts are going to go in vain. These might be anything from a design aspect to the payment gateways. Make sure they are up-to-date and working efficiently before the holiday rush comes in. Even if your website server is made to handle the traffic, it may not mean that your third-party integrations are working efficiently as well.
Imagine a customer shops for their entire family only to get disrupted at the checkout—they would try for a minute or two and then give up. You don’t need your precious customers abandoning the cart at the last stage.
Prepare the Holiday Inventory
If your demand forecasting based on relevant data is accurate, you should be able to maintain an efficient holiday inventory. Now let’s be honest here; one of the scariest situations an eCommerce business faces is dead stock. The most significant contributor to dead stock across the industry is holiday products due to overstocking. You don’t want to overstock the products, leading them to pile up in storage after the holidays. But at the same time, you don’t want to have less than enough stock to fulfill the orders.
It’s best to hire a 3PL fulfillment partner to help you with efficient inventory management and order fulfillment services. Technologically-driven 3PLs will have software that can help analyze order history and accurately forecast demand for the holidays.
Implement Innovative Marketing Strategies
When it comes to eCommerce, it’s essential to utilize every trick up your marketing sleeve. You will have to add up a bit of magic during holidays to ensure these strategies are 100% effective. Use hyper-personalized marketing strategies such as promotional emails with the customer’s name on them. Use every platform you have, including texts, emails, social media channels, and ad banners, to attract customers and engage them. The key is not to overdo it. You need to map your customer’s journey and past purchases to offer them personalized product recommendations that are sure to be purchased.
Offer Delightful Packaging and Shipping Options
It’s the era of “unboxing.” People wait for the unboxing experience after they’ve placed an order, and to offer them a wonderful experience, you need to have a clear plan on how to pack and ship your products. As an eCommerce business, you could have your own warehouse or rent enough storage spaces. But during the holiday season, you will see an increase in orders, so you need every extra support you can get. The best option is to partner with a 3PL fulfillment center with multiple warehouses in different locations so that you can have orders fulfilled from the centers closest to the customers. When you outsource a fulfillment partner, you can rest assured knowing everything from finding sustainable and cost-effective packaging to ensuring a faster, damage-free delivery will be taken care of by them.
The holidays can be a stressful time for brick-and-mortar and online retailers. But with the proper support, you can turn it into one of the more memorable and fulfilling experiences for both your eCommerce business and the customers. At ShipBots, you can find all the support you need—starting from efficient inventory management and supply chain management to packing and shipping—to ensure there are no dead stock, damages, or returns. Get in touch with us today to know how you can optimize your holiday sale to reap maximum benefits.