It’s time to begin planning for the 2014 Holiday season. Forrester estimates that the Unites States will spend $294 billion this year—which would be a growth of 15.5%. How should you prepare for the holiday season? We’ve compiled our 2014 Holiday sales predictions based on trends we’ve seen throughout the year along with research from Forrester. Here are our seven 2014 holiday sale predictions:
- Mobile will be big
Throughout the year, we’ve posted blogs about the rise of mobile eCommerce and the importance of having your site optimized for mobile. The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark predicts that mobile sales will account for 20% of sales this November, up from 17% in 2013. With one out of every five sales coming from a mobile device, you’ll want your site adapted for mobile.
- Be prepared for increase
As I mentioned in the introduction, there will be an increase in eCommerce spending. As a result, your store will need to be prepared to handle the increased order volume. Be sure you communicate with your warehouse/third party logistics suppliers, and/or drop shippers to be sure they will have plenty of inventory in stock. It may be beneficial to form new trading partner relationships as a backup in case you sell out of items.
- Free shipping is a given
Today, online shoppers expect free shipping and if you are not offering it, it’s highly likely that visitors to your site will go somewhere else. As a result, free shipping should be included into your holiday sales plan.
The popularity of YouTube is proof that videos are a powerful and enjoyable channel of communication. Incorporating video to your product detail page is a great way to present more information on your products and increase conversion rate. Amazon’s use of ‘video shorts’ takes video use to a new level by providing an informational video and linking to related products below, encouraging their purchase. There are still a few weeks before holiday shopping really kicks off, so grab a camera and record a few videos and test out their effectiveness. If your sales of those items increases, it is probably worth recording videos for most, if not all of your items.
- Effectively compete with big box retailers
Sales from online shopping is expected to increase 15.5%, with the odds, all retailers, large and small, will experience increased sales. Start reaching out to your loyal customers now to encourage them to do their holiday shopping with you. Implementing a loyalty program, or even offering coupons to your VICs (very important customers) will incentivize them to shop with you. In addition, you can promote special offers and discounts to customers that refer a friend.
To compensate for the coupons and discounts you are giving out, you will want your customers to purchase multiple items. Offering product recommendations is a great way to encourage more shopping while promoting personalization.
- Shorter shopping season = hectic shoppers
From Thanksgiving Evening to Christmas Eve, there are 28 days in the shopping season—less than a month! This short season opens the door for many last minute purchases. To ensure happy customers, you will want to have shipping options with the pricing displayed to eliminate abandoned carts due to price shock. You will also want to have your customer service prepared for increased inquiries. Black Friday and Cyber Monday of course are huge shopping days, but with the shortened season, expect “average” shopping days to bring in a higher than average number of inquiries. In addition, you’ll want to have contact information displayed and easy to find. The last thing a last minute shopper wants is to search around your site for contact information. If they don’t see it, they will probably make their purchase on another site that can answer the shopper’s question.
- Security is key
2014 has been no strange to high-profile security breaches. As a result, customers are going to be sensitive to sharing their credit card information. In order to foster a sense of security with your customers, you should proudly display security seals throughout your website. To further promote a “safe store” you should have real-time contact options available (and displayed). Having customer support available is a comfort to many shoppers and can help them feel more confident in their decision to buy from you.