Time for Holiday Retail Marketing Strategies

Tag: holiday season

Time for Holiday Retail Marketing Strategies

Time for Holiday Retail Marketing Strategies

The busiest time of the year is back for businesses. Holiday season is expected to retain its past momentum and will likely record bumper sales level again. But, are you and your business prepared to use their opportunity in the best possible manner. While it is advisable to hash out your holiday retail marketing strategies well in advance, but it is not too late. Here are some of the pointers which can help you fine tune your holiday retail marketing strategy.

  • Get a Head Start: you can get an advantage over your competition by starting early. Holiday season entails big crowd so you need to be prepared to handle them. If you are running an online business, you need to ensure that your servers are all set to accommodate incoming traffic. If you do not plan early, your website may break down under the pressure of traffic volume. Apart from this, you also need to plan for proper inventory. This is important for both online as well as offline businesses. While it is not advisable to tie up funds in excessive inventory, but running out of good while there is demand for them can cause even bigger loss to your business.
  • Remain on Your Toes: you may plan early and go for perfect execution, but there will always be circumstances which will require you to go back to drawing board. So, it is important that you keep your strategy simple and flexible as you may be required to change it on a moment’s notice. For online businesses, server outage may be a big issue. You should be prepared to handle any such malfunctioning as and when it arises. Further, there may be unexpectedly higher demand for some products. In such cases, your business should be ready to handle such high volume.
  • Know your Market: in order to design effective marketing strategy, it is important to know all the nuances of your market. Even within your target market, you should be aware of different sub-segments and tailor fit your marketing strategies as per their requirements. For example, while designing your holiday marketing strategy, you may want to ensure that you retain your repeat customers while also making sure that you are able to attract the new ones. Overall, your marketing strategy should account for each sub-segment of your target population.
  • Make it Festive: while it is a serious business, the holiday season is about festivity as well. Be sure that you generate that holiday buzz and give celebratory makeover to your business strategy. For this purpose, you can start with marketing material such as pamphlets and emails. It is imperative that your marketing items are able to create that festivity buzz. You can also tease out the customers by providing them a sneak preview of the goods offered and discounts provided. Design your campaign in such a manner that it highlights a timeline leading up to the holidays in a creative and intriguing manner.
  • Go Mobile: as more and more people are now accessing the web through phones or tablets, it is important to ensure that your marketing strategy is customized for mobile experience. Start with your marketing material to ensure that your promotional emails and advertisements are displayed properly on smaller screens of mobile devices. Optimize your website to load faster on even slower mobile connections. Better still, you can simply go for designing a dedicated app for your mobile clients. Whatever you plan to do, but make sure that you pay due attention to people using mobile phones and devices.
  • Pre Test: it is highly important to go for a pre test run, so as to figure out potential glitches. You can try out different approaches to find the best one and then deploy the selected ones to ensure the best results. You can also tweak your other strategies in response to the results of pre test run. It will also give you a chance to test your discount codes to avoid any last minute issues.

Holiday season may prove to be the best marketing season for your business, provide you carry out proactive strategy and prepare yourself beforehand.

Achieving 2019 Holiday Success

Shipping, Packaging, and Fulfillment Guidelines for E-commerce Brands

Achieving 2019 Holiday Success

Holiday season is an important time segment for any business and e-commerce businesses are no exception. While holiday season means high demand for products and services, it also means shorter turnaround time, pressure on logistics facilities and time crunch. In order to survive holiday season and prosper without breaking a sweat, it is vital that businesses prepare themselves well in advance for the potential issue. Luckily, it is fairly simple to draw up some strategies to cope well with the holiday season rush. Here are some of the tips to get you prepared.

Start Early and Plan Well: The key to perform well during the holiday season is to start planning as soon as possible. You can start by reviewing your previous year holiday season performance. Such review will allow you to identify the bottlenecks and issues you faced previously. Consequently, you can make allowance for such issues and look for ways to resolve them. You can also take forward looking approach where you try to anticipate the likely issue you may have to encounter in the current season. Ideally, you should combine both the approaches to identify the maximum number of issues in advance and try to resolve them.

Pay Attention to Back End and Front End: while it may seem obvious to pay attention to front end and provide attractive website layout to your customers, it is equally important to be diligent about the backend as well. Front end preparations may include giving festive makeover to your website, offering discounts, offering convenient product discovery and hassle free checkout. However, all these facilities may be in vain if your backend is not designed to withstand the pressure. On the backend, you need to ensure that your logistic collaborations are well in place and are scaled properly. You should also pay attention to packing the material appropriately so that your customers receive the goods in proper condition. During the festive season, customers may require their items in the least possible time, so be prepared to beat the rush.

Stock up for Fulfillment Nirvana: smooth fulfillment is an important facet of your holiday season sales strategy. Fulfillment encompasses a large number of activities including packaging, shipping, tracking and ultimately delivering the goods. It is absolutely important that the orders are processed in correct manner i.e. the right type of goods go to the right address. The packing of the items should also be done appropriately to preserve their quality and integrity. Also make sure that you are able to deliver the items on time, despite the holiday rush. For all these things, you need to have enough items in your stock all the time. If you think your in house capacity may not be able to handle the pressure, you may think about outsourcing a part or all of your fulfillment requirements. Outsourcing may seem expensive but may recoup its costs through enhanced goodwill and customer satisfaction.

Take Holistic Approach: beating the holiday rush will require you to take holistic approach. You should be able to view the strategy as a whole. Starting with your website, make sure that you provide enough bandwidth to withstand the pressure on server. The customers are likely to abandon their shopping if your website is not able to load quickly or the checkout process is not smooth. Also, you should keep your discount and promotional strategies simple. It will not only keep the customers enticed but will also reduce pressure on your resources. Simpler the policies, faster and more efficient will be the execution process. While you prepare for ensuring the timely delivery of goods, you should also be prepared for consequent returns. Keep your return policies simple and clear to avoid bottlenecks. While liberal return policies may help you in boosting your sales, you should also properly monitor the returns to ensure that there are no frauds involved.

You should be able to glide through your holiday season if you have prepared in advance. However, even the best formed strategies are tested during these times, so you should always provide for contingencies to happen. You may encounter pleasant yet testing situations such as stock outs on account of bumper demand, so be prepared for such exigencies.

How live chat can help drive conversions during the holidays

How live chat can help drive conversions during the holidays

Holiday sales continue breaking different records every year and businesses have come up with innovative techniques to cash in on the shopping craze. According to the National Retail Federation, online shoppers spent $19.62 billion between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. In 2018, projections indicate sales will increase by 15.3% and as an online business owner, you have to adopt new strategies to leverage these enticing holiday sales. One of the most effective strategies you can adopt to increase conversion is live chat. If you have not yet integrated live chat into your e-commerce store, you need to read on to find out how this strategy can boost sales conversions during the holiday season.

  1. Convert potential leads with faster responses

If you have ever tried shopping online and you needed quick assistance, you know how frustrating it can be to start filling forms. Internet users have an infamously short attention span and if you cannot offer prompt assistance, they will quickly turn away.

As an online store owner, you know that every visitor is a potential lead and you cannot afford to lose them due to a slow response. Through live chat, you have a chance to retain potential leads on your website and convert them into buyers.

  1. Provide an exemplary customer experience

One of the reasons many people still go to brick and mortar stores is because of the personal attention they receive. That human connection is crucial for many shoppers and it is a challenge for online stores. However, with live chat, you can now overcome that challenge and provide that human connection by being there for your customers.

Shoppers love the idea of seeing an active live chat because they can ask any question and receive prompt feedback. Customer experience is one of the easiest ways of increasing conversions on your e-commerce website.

  1. Reduce shopping cart abandonment

Almost 70% of shoppers abandon their carts and this is something that should worry every online business owner. You see, customers need guidance on many phases of the purchase journey and if you are not available, they will move on to the next high ranking competitor. For instance, if you take payments online and they would like help with an alternative payment method, live chat would easily solve that problem.

The shopper will not find a reason to walk away. Reducing shopping cart abandonment rates directly impacts sales conversions. If you want to boost conversions this holiday season, it is time to deploy a live chat system at your online store.

  1. Increase customer satisfaction rates

The e-commerce business environment is highly competitive and if you want to stay ahead of the pack, you have to offer a satisfying shopping experience. Now, you might have the best online store in your niche but if your customers have nothing good to say about it, you are in trouble.

High customer satisfaction rates show in reviews and recommendations. Many shoppers read reviews and check customer satisfaction rates before shopping from any store. Research now shows that live chat can keep 96% of customers happy and this is an incredible achievement for your business.

Simply put, installing a live chat system on your e-commerce store boosts customer satisfaction rates, which in turn enhances customer loyalty. Ultimately, you will notice an increase in conversion rates over the busy holiday season.

  1. Leverage bots to drive conversions

If you have stretched your resources thin and you have no one to operate your live chat system, you can use live chatbots to offer helpful responses. This is an innovative way to help customers instantly even when you are not around. For instance, a live chat bot can recommend a page for a potential lead for more details. This reduces bounce rates and increases conversions.

How to optimize your live chat system

To get the best out of your live chat system during the busy holiday season, you need to customize your chat widget to match your store’s style, prepare personalized greetings for your shoppers, hire a chatbot when not available, increase your working hours, and make sure your team has everything they need to respond helpfully to customers.

If you have already engaged a payment gateway partner to improve your checkout system, go ahead and enable live chat to improve the user experience at your online store. It is the most effective strategy to cash in on the mind-boggling holiday sales.

6 Tips to optimize your store for the holidays

6 Tips to optimize your store for the holidays

There’s no denying that the holiday season drives most sales for all types of businesses. In 2017, U.S holiday sales reached $106.1 billion a 12% increase from the same season in 2016. In 2018, projected sales are $123.4 billion, which is a 15% increase in growth from 2017.  If you haven’t started preparing your website for the 2018 holidays, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. According to the National Retail Foundation, 20-40% of yearly sales for SMEs take place during the last two months of the year. To make the most out of the holiday season, you have to optimize your online store to deliver what the consumers want, handle the increased traffic, provide a seamless user experience, and retain these customers.

This article explores some of the methods you can use to optimize your e-commerce store for the holiday season before it’s too late. Read on.

  1. Carry out an analysis and learn from it

If your store was still running last year, you need to have a look at the numbers before making any plans. It is important to use hard data for decision making in the online business environment as this gives you an edge over your competition.

Look at the successes and failures of your previous year’s holiday campaign, days when sales peaked, slow sales days, best traffic days, best conversion days, total revenues against projections, keyword optimization results, competitor analysis among other things. From this data, you can set out plans for the holiday season.

  1. Optimize your store hosting plan

Your online store is only as good as the hosting environment. Many online businesses fail because they use the wrong hosting plans. If you don’t choose a good and reliable host, you will experience downtime during the holiday season, which will lead to loss of business. Make sure you choose a hosting package that can handle increased traffic, offer 24/7 technical support, and flexibility to suit your store’s changing needs.

If need be, you can change your hosting provider to ensure you get dedicated hosting environment, CDN for faster loading, SSL, and increased bandwidth capacity.

  1. Speed up your online site

One thing that all shoppers hate is a delay when looking for products and during checkout. During the holiday season, you expect traffic to bombard your store and the only way to avoid high bounce rates is by delivering excellent load time.

Online shoppers want everything fast and research shows a 1-second delay in loading a page can lead to a 7% reduction in conversion. Evaluate your site speeds using online tools such as Google’s Page Speed Insights tool, compress, and optimize images and carry out other recommendations given by the speed check tools.

  1. Optimize the checkout process

It is one thing to take payments online and something totally different to do it right. You see, many shoppers will abandon their carts if they can’t find their preferred payment method. As such, provide alternative payment methods in addition to traditional ones and make sure the checkout process is smooth and convenient.

Look for the cheapest online payment gateway, which allows multiple secure payment methods as this will not only save you money but also help with customer acquisition and customer retention during the holiday season.

  1. Optimize your store’s database

Over the last one year, your website’s database has grown and you have a lot of unnecessary stuff, which could be affecting optimal performance. There are multiple tools you can choose for a quick database cleanup and before the holiday season, you should use them. Database cleanup speeds up your website and improves overall performance.

  1. Leverage user testing

If you want to understand how customers feel when visiting your store, it is time to dive into user testing. You need to get into the mindset of your target customer and explore your online store through the purchase funnel, check the ease of account creation, check the availability of coupons and discounts, page functionality, password recovery process, and everything else on your website. If you notice any problems, fix them instantly as you prepare for the holiday season.

Preparations for the holiday season must start early. Every year, shoppers start doing their shopping earlier and as an online store owner, you have to optimize your store. There is a lot of money to be made during this holiday season but this is only possible if your e-commerce store can handle the traffic and deliver an excellent user experience.