Here we go again. The holiday season, with all its potential and pressures, is upon us. What are the prevalent online shopping trends this year and how can you make your website stand out among countless others?
Last year, sales peaked early in the season (October and November) and then again during the final days leading up to Christmas. In practical terms, this means that you must have your holiday website and special offers ready early in the season while supplementing last minute sales and deliveries. Enable tardy shoppers to order a product and pick it up the next day. Be prepared to set aside extra inventory for a late wave of sales. According to the latest research, people actually tend to spend more when shopping early.
Address Your Buyers Wherever They Are
Many buyers use multiple channels to browse, compare prices and finally make their purchase. This means that you need to be available to customers across the board; your website must be easy to navigate, your mobile app – responsive, and your social media pages – seamlessly effective. During the holiday season, make the effort to reach out and find your customers no matter where they are. Don’t wait for them to seek you out.
Email Still Reigns Supreme
Notwithstanding the importance of personalized SMS and social media posts, email marketing is still a powerful marketing tool. Last year, the conversion rate for email subscribers reached 24%. Customized emails sent precisely at the right time can increase conversions and boost brand loyalty. If you are endeavoring to push a certain range of products to a specific target audience, email marketing can boost your holiday sales.
Unique Customer Experiences
It’s no longer just about what your customer is buying, it’s about a personal and special purchasing experience. This may take the form of building a customized consumer experience through a special on preferred products, using AI to offer smart chatbots, personalized items and merchandise similar to past purchases, or crafting personalized AI workshops.
Make sure your customer services department enables you to interact with buyers and respond to their comments/requests on every front. Stand out by making the effort to connect with your customers in memorable ways.
An integral part of personalized service is a loyalty program. According to recent surveys, 31.3% of female US shoppers purchased a product through an online retailer’s rewards program before last year’s holidays. However, plan carefully when deciding which reward to offer.
One large company discovered that customers preferred a $50 gift certificate for a product of their choice rather than a $100 gift for a limited number of stated products. When it came to the hospitality industry, many consumers preferred a gifted experience rather than a discount. You can test out different types of rewards before the holiday season to see which gifts your veteran customers prefer.