The past year has seen some dramatic changes take place in the ecommerce landscape. Lockdowns and quarantines during the Covid-19 pandemic meant consumers were forced to take their shopping online – in fact, US consumers spent more than $146.5 billion online in just the first few months of 2020, which was a 14.5% increase on the previous year. It’s safe to say that more people than ever will be conducting their holiday shopping online. With a new influx of shoppers showing up, it’s important for brands to stand out, prepare for their success, and take advantage of and needs of customers shifts in buying.
With many top-name US retailers already announcing their closure on Thanksgiving, it’s up to online sellers to give customers what they want.
Are You Ready For the Holidays?
Preparing for the holidays isn’t a new thing for ecommerce brands.
Smart businesses have always prepared ahead of time for the shopping stampede that emerges between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year the added pressure of the pandemic means we’re fast approaching a holiday shopping season unlike any we’ve had before.
Sure, the world was already heading towards a digital shopping future, but this year it has been dramatically accelerated. In 2019, Black Friday sales from brick-and-mortar stores fell by 6.2% compared to the previous year, while online shopping increased by 14%.
There’s also talk that Amazon’s Prime Day event is being pushed back to October this year. That would mean there would be less than 50 days between Prime Day and Cyber Week, encouraging shoppers to start their holiday shopping much earlier in the season than usual.
To make the most of it, there are several things you can do.
Prioritize an Omnichannel Strategy
An increasing number of consumers are getting accustomed to buying products online. This means that sellers must be flexible and have scalable channels in place that can meet the needs of buyers quickly and effectively.
Having an active store on Amazon is great, but there are many things sellers can do both on the platform and outside of it to raise awareness of their products and gain a competitive edge. This might include:
- Setting up Amazon ads to push products to the top of searches
- Creating a social media strategy complete with targeted ads
- Running a blog and carrying out inbound marketing
- Expanding to other marketplaces like Walmart
The ability to reach customers in a variety of ways on a number of different platforms will be key this holiday season.
Identify Product Trends
Not only is the way people shop changing, but the kinds of products they buy is also in a state of flux.
Google’s search data has shown that consumers are increasingly looking for products that enhance their home life since they are finding themselves at home more and more.
Research from BigCommerce shows that medical products, baby goods, cleaning items, and work from home products have enjoyed an increase in sales during the pandemic, while sales of products relating to fashion, cars, and travel have taken a nosedive.
Businesses that are able to adapt to the needs of customers and provide products in the categories that are most popular will see increased success over the holiday season.
Tighten Up Your Supply Chain
Many ecommerce businesses and their supply chains have been shaken up during the pandemic. Suppliers have been forced to close, shipping companies have experienced huge backlogs, and delivery times have been all over the place.
Now’s the time to get your supply chain in order. Fail to do so, and you could end up disappointing holiday shoppers with out-of-stock products and horribly long delivery times.
With social distancing measures in place, many shipping providers will be at full capacity over the next few months, while suppliers might be forced to close again if Covid-19 numbers keep increasing.
Get ahead of the curve and tighten up your supply chain now by:
- Diversifying your suppliers – choose suppliers in different locations and invest in a couple of different shipping options to cover all bases
- Planning and stocking inventory in advance – track your bestsellers and product trends and ensure you have enough stock in place before the season kicks off. It will be incredibly difficult to restock to full capacity once holiday shopping is underway
At Urtasker, we help ecommerce brands create slick supply chains that complement their overall business performance. Using deep-dive analytics,we’re able to see where there’s room for improvement and use our decades of experience to put it into action.
Turn One-Time Buyers into Loyal Customers
Key shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great for picking up one-time buyers, but brands that can turn these one-off customers into loyal brand ambassadors are seeing the most success.
Instead of pushing for one single purchase, work on a strategy for nurturing customers so they come back time and time again, even long after the holiday season is over.
Many ecommerce businesses picked up new customers during the lockdown. To get these customers to return during the fruitful holiday season, brands must incentivize them to do so.
There are plenty of ways you can do this, including:
- Creating additional touchpoints for past shoppers, including social media updates and push notifications
- Email marketing campaigns to nurture previous buyers with stories, use cases, and exclusive offers
- Offering rewards to your most loyal customers and serving up discounts for your best buyers
- Targeting specific segments of your audience with personalized ads and content
Get Set Up For New Customers
With many high-profile stores shut for major shopping holidays this year, there will no doubt be an influx of new shoppers who aren’t used to shopping online.
Think about grandparents who would usually buy presents in-store but now have to venture online – they might not be used to the usual buying journey of regular online shoppers.
As a result, it’s important that you make the buying process as simple as possible at every step. Be clear on prices, create product descriptions that are accurate and comprehensive so there’s no doubt about what they’re buying, and provide a couple of different payment options that new online shoppers will feel comfortable using.
At Urtasker, we are experts at Amazon listing optimization, helping you stand out in searches and get your products seen by the right people even during the busiest shopping days of the year.
Now is the perfect time to get your store ready for new customers that might be using old browsers or not understand the casual internet language of today. It might also be worth running some ads to target these people. Research shows that Gen X are the most brand loyal consumers, and targeting them can be a good way to get more long-term buyers.
Thrive This Holiday Shopping Season
The holiday shopping season is fast approaching, and it brings with it huge potential to expand your brand, raise awareness of your products, and attract new audiences. The key lies in the preparation. When you dig into trends in advance and work towards creating an enjoyable shopping experience and needs of customers from all walks of life, you can sit back and reap the rewards when Cyber Monday and Black Friday come around.
Getting ahead of the game will put you ahead of your competition, and the groundwork you lay now will turn the usual one-time holiday buyers into lifelong customers.