If you spend any time reading about the current state of eCommerce, one thing will become apparent very quickly: This holiday season will be different. In addition to economic concerns, online retailers are also battling shipping delays, product backorder, increased site traffic and other issues due to the ongoing pandemic.
So what can our eCommerce clients do to prepare now? Here are a few tips from our experts.
Ensure Your Site and Staff are Ready
With the high likelihood of increased site traffic and sales, ensure your site is ready to handle the volume of traffic. It is also wise to evaluate your customer service staff capacity to ensure any issues are resolved promptly.
Start Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals Now to Avoid Shipping Delays Later
This is the most obvious overall trend for Holiday Season 2020. IBM estimates that online retail will grow by 35% in November to December (an increase of 24% occurred from March to July, for comparison). When holiday spending and COVID-19 stock-up purchases overlap, retailers risk customer dissatisfaction when shipping is delayed. By offering deals now, those delays become less of a risk. eCommerce site managers should also ensure any site copy at checkout reflects appropriate shipping estimates.
Customers Want to Feel Good
After months of lockdowns, closings and other precautions related to the global pandemic, customers are eagerly awaiting a cheerful holiday season. While celebrations may look different this year, consumers are seeking comfort and reassurance. Evaluate your planned holiday content to ensure you’re acknowledging this year’s challenges while also delivering joy to shoppers.
Material Goods May Replace Experience Gifts
Another piece of good news for eCommerce clients is the trend away from experience gifts this year—think concerts, plays and sporting events—due to customer uncertainty. This contributes to the projected increase in eCommerce sales.
Pay Close Attention to Inventory
It will be important, as always, to manage inventory properly. Not only should sites be set up to manage inventory in real-time, they should also consider site features such as low quantity messaging to encourage quick checkout. Any advertising efforts should reflect current inventory.
The Situation Will be Dynamic
As is true for most “firsts” during the pandemic, this Holiday Season will require retailers to be adaptable as reality unfolds. With some preparation, eCommerce clients may have their best season yet, despite a chaotic outlook.
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