Holiday eCommerce Best Practices – 2016

Holiday eCommerce Best Practices – 2016

As we make our way through Q4, it is time to prepare your site for the final purchasing boom for the fiscal year. According to Internet Retailer, in 2015, for the fourth quarter, retailers sold $107.1 billion online, a 14.5% increase over $93.5 billion in Q4 last year, and an amount that represents 31.3% of full-year e-commerce sales. While customers are turning to eCommerce sites to make their holiday purchases, it is important to deliver a winning customer experience to keep them coming back in the new year. Here are our five recommendations:

 

Shipping Cutoff Deadline 

While some consumers begin their holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving, there are a plethora of shoppers who wait until the last possible minute to place their order. Let’s face it, as we all have so many loved ones to purchase gifts for, it is easy to have someone slip through the cracks. Or maybe you’re a budget shopper waiting for the best possible deal – whatever the case, help ease the path to purchase by clearly outlining your shipping cutoffs. Adding a countdown as to the date & time orders must be placed to guarantee delivery before Christmas eve. By offering this level of shipping transparency, customers know their order deadlines & you will cut back on customer service inquiries.

 

Gift Cards  

PwC predicts that non-physical gifts, such as gift cards and experiential gifts, are on the rise. If you have the functionality to do so, now is a great time to implement & advertise online gift cards. While plenty of shoppers will purchase tangible goods, it is a wonderful opportunity to capture shoppers in the gift card market. If you do have gift cards available, implementing a paid search campaign & home page banner can help spread the message. While bidding on generic gift card search ads can be costly, broadening and branding your terms can still get your company in front of the right audience. Having a homepage banner with one-click access to gift card purchase will provide a simple checkout process and decrease the likelihood of an abandoned cart.

 

Daily Deals  

As we’ve seen with the success of Groupon and online boutiques, like Rue La La, daily deals are quite popular with online consumers. By having a daily deals sale for the first 12 days of December, you can play off of the timeless ’12 Days of Christmas’ carol and draw significant traffic to your website prior to shipping cutoffs. Again, you can advertise your deals via social media, email marketing and on the homepage. Consider bundling products, special discounts on one item, or buy-one-get-one deals. The promise of a new, secret sale each day will appeal to curious consumers and bring them back each day to see the special deal.

 

Holiday Home Page Banners 

Going hand and hand with the daily deals & gift cards, a very simple and quick way to prep your site for the holidays is to add a holiday themed home page banner. By making your site festive, visitors will get into the holiday spirit & gift-giving mindset. You can use this opportunity to pick some products you think would make popular gifts and incorporate them into your banner creative.

 

Free Shipping Threshold Calculator 

While offering free shipping on any order is a commonly used offer for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Free Shipping Day, majority of sites offer daily free shipping after a specific threshold is met. An industry best practice is to have a countdown to let customers know how far off they are from meeting the threshold. When customers are a few dollars away from receiving free shipping, they are likely to purchase an additional item to meet it. Offering a threshold makes it easier for consumers to understand how far off they. Again, you’ll decrease the likelihood of abandoned carts by clearly identifying how close to free shipping customers are. They will not have the opportunity to walk away from a purchase when the shipping fees are added to cart total.

 

By making a few tweaks to your eCommerce website this quarter, you can capture a wider audience and grow YOY sales. The most important tip to keep in mind is providing the best possible experience for your customers. By implementing all, or any combination of our five handy tips, you’ll have a booming holiday sales season.