While holiday sales growth is likely to slow due to inflation headwinds, spending is still projected to grow by 7.1%. A successful season starts with best-in-class operations and a smooth shopping experience for your customers. There are three pillars of readiness – site optimization, driving traffic, and operational readiness – SMBs can implement for the season to maximize sales.
1. Site Optimization
The purpose of site optimization is to create an appealing and frictionless shopping experience for your customers to increase conversion and boost sales. Here are a few ways you can make your site optimized.
- Use a clear call to action (CTA) buttons: Have a clear and visible CTA with a sense of urgency to encourage shoppers to seal the deal, like “Shop Now”, “Get Yours” or “Buy in 1-Click.”
- Ensure checkout and payment are seamless: Simplify the checkout process. Roughly 20% of shoppers abandon their carts because of a complex checkout process. Accepting major debit/credit cards, PayPal, digital wallets, BNPL, and other popular forms of payment can help reduce abandoned carts. eCommerce stores with BNPL can increase AOV by an average of 12% and with inflation, BNPL is great for splitting payments up and can come in very useful for buyers.
- Be mobile-friendly: Unsurprisingly, mobile sales drove 43% of all online shopping revenue during the 2021 holiday season, and mobile devices accounted for more than half of online revenue on six peak shopping days. Cater to customers on-the-go by auditing and optimizing your mobile store. Also, be sure to audit mobile loading times, and simplify menus and page elements to account for smaller screens.
- Gift cards are a powerful weapon against inflation and supply chain issues: They are a reliable win. In 2021, consumers sidestepped the supply chain crunch by turning to gift cards in record numbers, driving a 114% increase in sales year-over-year. Offer custom amount gift cards to help customers with their price sensitivities this year and make sure they can be used in-store and online, regardless of the gift card format.
- Customers are looking for coupons & discounts – With inflation causing record-high prices, consumers are on the hunt for ways to save: 78% are looking for discounts. Additionally, 88% of holiday shoppers believe promotions and coupons are important when deciding what holiday items to purchase. Merchants can also consider flash sales. For example, on average, Wix users with online stores saw an increased monthly GMV by over 64,000% with a flash sale. This means offering discounts can help convince your shoppers to hit “buy.”
- Enable abandoned cart recovery tools: Every year 4.6 trillion dollars of goods are left in digital carts , of which it’s estimated $260 billion is recoverable. Make sure abandoned carts are saved in your system and that automatic, yet, tailored and customized emails are sent to customers. Consider using multi-step recovery tactics to determine how many emails are sent and in which intervals to customers, and consider adding coupons to these emails.
2. Drive Traffic to your Website
It’s great to have a fantastically functioning site with amazing products but if consumers aren’t aware the site exists and there aren’t any buyers, those efforts are, unfortunately, for nothing. Driving traffic to your site becomes incredibly important to generate awareness and sales.
- Use an omnichannel approach to increase customer reach and boost sales: About 73% of consumers use multiple channels for their purchases. In addition, consumers who use four or more channels spend approximately 9% more compared to those who stick to one channel. Merchants can multiply the opportunities to acquire new customers by selling their products and syncing their catalogs across their branded online store, physical stores, social media, and marketplaces.
- Brush up your SEO: Give Google the right information for proper indexing. Submit structured data markup for your site to Google to help improve your website’s search results and ranking. Search engines can also use markup to create rich results like article previews, product previews, and FAQs for your site’s search results.
- Don’t underestimate the power of social media: Raise brand awareness, encourage audience engagement and boost site traffic with eye-catching posts on Facebook & Instagram.
- Band together with influencers and affiliates: It can be hard for a small or new business to get in front of the right audience without being immediately dismissed. Having a 3rd party vouch for you can give you a big step forward on the path to success. Partnering with credible influencers and affiliates can take your brand to the next level by piggybacking off of an established channel to your target audience.
3. Have your Operations Ready
Now that you have customers shopping on your site, you must ensure you’re fulfilling their expectations. Your operations need to be ready.
- Ensure you have a reliable platform for an influx of traffic: It’s important to choose a web hosting service with high uptime (99.9%) that will ensure your site is always connected and accessible. Test the website across multiple devices and install any third-party eCommerce apps early and often to avoid hiccups.
- Always have merchandise in stock: Protect your brand from overselling, late shipments, and other costly mishaps by having the right inventory flows in place and merchandise stocked in the right places whether it’s at physical stores, fulfillment centers, or local warehouses. Be careful not to spread your inventory too thin; it’s better to have a shorter catalog with fewer items but deep inventory. If you do run out of stock on items, merchants who send “back in stock” emails can increase their GPV by up to 17%.
- Manage and optimize your inventory channels: Connect with your third-party logistics or suppliers and discuss ways to ensure order accuracy, fast shipping, and custom packaging. Set reorder points, reserve safety stock, and accept pre-orders. You can also explore dropshipping or print-on-demand; both allow you to outsource storage and fulfillment and only pay for what gets sold.
- Implement a pre-order strategy: Pre-ordering is a great way of driving awareness and gauging the level of interest in your products, and can help you make decisions about restocking or manufacturing.
- Synchronize transactional operations: If you have a brick-and-mortar store, use a Point-of-Sale that ensures synchronization between your online and offline transactions. This will also provide you with more accurate analytics and remove the headaches of managing multiple platforms.
- Free shipping is desired: 69% of consumers want to avoid shipping fees while half seek free returns. Furthermore, one in five consumers reports switching sites to get free delivery, while a third will never pay for shipping. You can adjust your delivery options as well to add “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS) to offer a fast, free fulfillment option for customers while minimizing your shipping costs. Nearly a quarter of online holiday orders were fulfilled using “Buy Online, BOPI in 2021 and more than two-thirds of BOPIS users purchase additional items in-store.
For this year’s holiday season, preparedness is key, and sticking to the three pillars of readiness can help a business succeed this year. Additionally, small businesses can leverage Wix’s leading eCommerce platform to launch, run and scale their online store to make the most of this holiday season while implementing all of these strategies.
Oren Inditzky is the Vice President of Online Stores at Wix.