The holiday season is the most important period of the year for online businesses. Why? Because, it’s a make or break period where an online retailer can generate a significant part of their yearly revenue, as high as 4o%. Also, the e-commerce sales are surging year-by-year making it more crucial than ever. In 2016, global B2C e-commerce sales are expected to reach 1.92 trillion U.S. dollars.
If you’re an e-retailer, you should be prepared to make the most of this holiday season. But most of the e-commerce companies focus more on attracting traffic rather than converting it. They forget that only attracting traffic doesn’t lead to increased revenue. That is why you should take every possible measure to increase your conversions.
Here are five rules you can adhere to boost your e-commerce sales this holiday season.
1. Offer fast delivery
Every bricks-and-mortar store has, at least, one significant advantage over online stores; instant gratification. No e-retailer can provide immediate gratification the way a shopping trip to your favorite offline retailer does. In fact, this is the number one reason that encourages people to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. As per stats, 79% of shoppers rank “instant ownership” as the number one reason they still shop at physical stores.
So, fire up your cylinders and offer same-day deliveries to your customers doorstep the way e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart do. Once people realize they can get their online goods delivered on the same day or within hours of sale, they’ll shop more at your site especially during the holiday season. There are a number of hyper-local delivery services to help you achieve faster delivery.
TIP: If you cannot offer same-day delivery, at least, show the date by which you can get delivery to help shoppers (especially holiday shoppers) in making a decision.
Given below is an example from Bluenile to show you how it can be done:
2. Hassle free return policy
Stats says, 87% are more likely to shop on a site if it has free returns. The biggest risk that demotivates shoppers to complete their online purchase is: what if they don’t like what they have bought online?
Many online retailers focus on the sale and fail miserably when it comes to easy returns; from paid returns to no returns at all, the online retailers have strict return policies. The more hassle free your return policy is, the more secure shoppers will feel when making a purchase from your online store. Now that doesn’t mean you have to give free shipping and free returns on every product and incur loses.
A well-thought out returns policy should give shoppers as much information upfront as possible. The online retailer Zappos has built its business on a great return policy in place. Here are few simple tips to make your returns policy less agonizing.
- Return rates are higher for fashion e-commerce companies. So, the best practice to avoid returns is to give the customer as much info about the product as possible, including lots of product shots, detailed product descriptions, showing the height and weight of the model to get a realistic size idea, including product videos, and using virtual trial room tools.
- Post your returns policy prominently. Zappos feature their returns policy right on the landing page so it can’t be missed.
- Decide who pays for returns shipping in advance.
- Create a flexible returns policy to allow online returns in-stores. ComScore study reveals that 82 percent of shoppers said they would complete a purchase if the retailer either allowed free returns to a store or free returns via a prepaid label.
- Don’t force returns to be used only as store credits, instead, give them the option to do it both ways. Also, give them details to track their returns.
Returns are inevitable. Regardless, if you can apply these five tricks on your site, you’ll likely improve your conversions a lot.
Here is an example of good return policies from Banana republic:
3. Use popups to highlight your holiday offers
Popups have long been viewed by e-retailers as an annoying and risky marketing technique. Pop-ups don’t have to be disruptive. In fact, popups are your best shot to capture your about-to-be-lost buyer than luring him later with retargeting ads.
Use your popups to highlight a special holiday offer or any other lucrative offers you’re running at a given point of time. Think about all those sale banners at Macy’s (Take additional 30% on Winter coats). You can either target all of your customer base with stick-around top bars or target a segment of customers who land on specific pages in a highly personalized manner. Every online store has a couple of different offers like a special offer for users abandoning their carts to special offers for high-spenders. Target your customers with relevant popups rather than annoying them with the same opt-in popup time & again.
TIP: Instead of showing the popup the moment a shopper lands on your site, time your popup to appear at a pre-defined interval so that the shopper gets time to spend on your website.
4. Offer a good mobile experience
This has been a record-setting year with CyberMonday online sales topping $3 billion. ChannelAdvisor reported a strong sales volume with smartphones driving 43 percent of traffic and 24 percent of sales. Offering a good mobile experience is becoming more and more important as mobile e-commerce accounting for increased sales.
“Mobile now account for more than 50% of e-commerce traffic & one third of ecommerce sales are now happening on mobile devices.” The trend continues to rise with stats suggesting that in 2018, U.S. mobile retail revenues are expected to amount to 130.12 billion U.S. dollars, up from 56.67 billion U.S. dollars in 2014.
So, if your are not providing a great mobile experience, you’re going to lose potentially thousands of dollars in sales, especially during the holiday season.
5. Super-charge your email marketing with these techniques
Instead of waiting for people to come to your site, you can multiply your sales by emailing subscribers about your holiday offers. But, when creating your holiday email campaigns don’t forget to make it as personalized and targeted as possible to get good returns.
Don’t batch & blast. Segment your subscribers by their purchase history, browsing history, interests, and/or on the basis of their engagement with your past emails. For example, if you’re a fashion e-tailer, send a holiday promotion for dresses to subscribers who’ve purchased a dress in the past, or if there is a holiday offer on a particular brand, send it to subscribers who’ve purchased a product of that brand or who have browsed that brand in the past.
And, last but not least, spruce-up your emails with holiday imagery and videos. Keep them short & sweet.
The holiday season is the most important time of the year; it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Adopt these best practices to spread the holiday cheer and earn high returns in the process.