Gone are those days where you might hire a hand or two to help out with the crowd that waits in a messy line outside your stores, especially as the holiday season kick in.
It’s no news that convenience has become the most valued commodity of all. Owing to this aspect, all the sales gimmick to encourage shopping during these special days are now shifting from their original brick and mortar beginnings towards becoming a huge online celebration.
With an average saving of at least 37% through striking offers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday remains an undeniable feast to hungry shoppers all around the world for a long time now.
Black Friday alone had an online sales of about 3.55 billion in the UK market and a whopping 9.2 billion in the US market in the year 2019. With the ongoing pandemic, the sales are expected to skyrocket this year by multiple times than their previous projection of a 14.5% year on year revenue raise.
After all that you as a small business owner have been through this year, this might be your best chance to get back on the game all over again.
And here they come, the big questions.
- How do you get your eCommerce ready?
- How to prevent yourself from going invisible with all the fierce competition around?
- How do you stop your server from becoming crushed with the sudden website traffic inflation?
- How to make this promising season work in your favor?
Sounds too complicated? Well, it’s actually not. Not after you read the answers that we have compiled together for you below. Consider the following as your fool-proof guide to making this season profitable for your business.
Get Your Website Upgraded Before The Holiday Season!
No, we’re not talking about the website that you built years ago for the sake of having your name on the web. A functional website that conveys your brand story, remains interactive with the end-user and is optimized enough to be your virtual salesperson for you is the kind of website you need. In short, you need an eCommerce where the shoppers can conveniently take home their product of choice in a couple of clicks!
Stay Ahead By Choosing The Right eCommerce Platform
There are a lot of eCommerce hosting platforms that come at different price points and features that are different from one another. Choosing a platform that can help you grow and also provides you a wiggle room of expansion to keep up with your growing necessities is crucial.
Shopify Plus, BigCommerce & Magento are some of the most prominent names in the eCommerce market. Consider some of the variants like pricing and payment, SEO friendliness, available bandwidth, customer service, and ease of back-end usage against one another and fix upon a platform that justifies all your requirements. Let’s break it down further for you.
How These eCommerce Platforms Can Be Your Life-saver?
If you are a merchant who owns an SME and looking to expand your venture in future, Shopify Plus can be your ideal option among the other alternatives.
If you have an established business in the mid-market category, BigCommerce can be your go-to as it offers much more seamless integration with third-party shopping applications like eBay, Amazon, Facebook store, Google shopping, and many more through their built-in functionalities.
Magento on the other hand is widely popular for the amount of customization that it offers along with rich B2B features and functionalities, but this flexibility comes at the cost of user-friendliness and you’ll need extra hours and skills even for the initial setup.
An experienced hand can take you a long way in the right direction. Be it the initial setting up or the implementation of a process flow for your eCommerce, DCKAP’s 15+ years in this arena can do it just right for you.
Now maybe you’ve got an extra clarity towards choosing a platform to host your eCommerce, but your effort doesn’t end there. In fact, it has only just begun.
Here are some of the top factors that you should measure your website against before you go head-first into the holiday shopping season.
As exaggerated as this may sound, every millisecond matters more than you think. Nobody wants to wait outside the barred doors especially when the same offer is available in the neighboring store.
According to a survey by the search engine journal, half of your customers will leave already if they are made to wait more than 3 seconds. It is thus important that you appear out of nowhere almost immediately when your customer base is looking for you.
Ensure that you don’t compromise on the performance just to make your site look visually striking. The simpler the interface, the better will be the interaction and eventual conversion especially during this season of endless buzz. Stress-test your page load time across multiple devices and get yourself suited up for the big day even before you script the other plans.
Stability and Scalability
Your business depends majorly upon your platform’s reliability. Any unprecedented downtime can cost you to a great extent even if you have gotten everything else just right. Your server must be suitable enough to handle the sudden surge in the demand overnight and not affect any corner of your website infrastructure.
Ease of Navigation
Almost every holiday shopper who visits your website this Black Friday is going to have a couple of tabs open on the side for fishing out the best deal of all. It is thus crucial that you show them the easy way to check out rather than holding them back by too many distractions. Here are some of the ideas that you can implement to make this happen:
- You’re now to focus on maximizing revenue rather than the collection of data points for future usage. Remove everything that is not directly related to the purchase of a product – be it the chatbot, form fills, and even lengthy registration processes.
- Post your shipping charges upfront and even the taxes if possible. Be accurate in what you offer in order to prevent yourself from cart abandonment issues.
- Collect any payment-related information only at the last step. This way you’ll retain the interest of the customer with due credibility until they checkout.
- On average it takes about 2.6 seconds for someone to set their eyes on a particularly interesting segment of the website. It is thus advisable to highlight one show-stopping bargain on top of your site rather than promoting a whole bunch of different offers. This might hook your customers to your offer instantly.
Make sure that your checkout process is made as simple as possible. Don’t let your competitor take your bait for granted after you have done so much to grab their attention.
Getting Your UX and UI Right
You have just about 50ms to make your user form a good opinion about your website design. Yes, you heard that right. People’s snap judgment happens way faster than the blink of an eye.
You might be blessed with a design team that runs on a high amount of caffeine who’s capable of coming up with the most innovative and creatively striking visual layout of all. But, it might not do you any good because that is not what your audience might resonate with.
People have a general perception of what a website looks like and it is beneficial if you go along with that convention. Make it all the more direct as you can and prevent your website from leaving your audience in confusion.
Think Mobile First!
According to Adobe, 39% of the total eCommerce sales happened through smartphones accounting for about 2.9 billion dollars. It goes without saying that this is the channel that you should be prioritizing over all else because even someone waiting outside a physical store is likely to whip their mobile out to check the price range online.
Make sure every corner of your website provides an optimized user experience across all devices. Also, ensure if your product images load completely and immediately in a mobile UI.
Bringing in traffic itself is going to be a milestone this season, the last thing you want is to frustrate someone through a slow load time and an inconsistent shopping experience. There are plenty of alternatives for them to choose from, but you as a business can’t afford to drive away your potential leads just because you didn’t think mobile-first.
Integrate and Automate Your Business Touch-points
Integrating your eCommerce platform with ERP, CRM, and other marketplaces is an added advantage that results in effective automation. The manual effort involved in transferring data from one touch-point to another can be eliminated. This in turn results in unnecessary reliability on redundant and time-consuming processes. Many eCommerce businesses have improved their success metrics through seamless integrations via trustworthy solutions that are specifically designed to solve several pain points for both B2B/B2C merchants.
Conversion-Friendly Website – Matters the Most
There must be a marketing perspective put in place before the user enters the homepage of your website. Here is a checklist to ensure proper conversion from your eCommerce website.
- Appropriately Placed Pop-ups with attractive limited offers
- Hello bar with a countdown or an offer expiry date to attract the customer
- Hero banner with the most-happening sale in your eCommerce store
- Compelling Call-To-Action buttons that redirect to relevant purchase pages
- Detailed product and well-structured category pages that help the customers navigate better and understand the product before making a purchase.
- Finally, an eCommerce website’s homepage is incomplete without a sitemap and an attractive footer that provides additional information to get in touch with your business.
Here Comes One of The Show-Stoppers – ‘Inventory Management’
Selling out of stock might feel like a good problem to have, but on the contrary, it can lead to visitor frustration and a decrease in average sales after one of your major products runs out. Get your research on point before you plunge into your eCommerce venture. Make a list of your best products that have performed well historically and stock them up as per your projections.
Make sure you don’t oversell products that you don’t have waiting in your warehouse. You don’t want to get yourself into the nightmare of customer service in the aftermath of the season answering about all the undelivered products.
Ensure that you have a reliable eCommerce that’s fast in communication and gives you enough space to scale because an unstable back-end can cosmically plague even the biggest brands in a matter of seconds.
Treat Your Existing Customers With a Red Carpet
Give out exclusive offers to the ones who have been loyal to your brand front. Take advantage of personal marketing mediums including email marketing to send them unique coupons and discounts. Acquiring a new customer can be 5 times costlier than retaining an existing one. Hence, it is necessary that you don’t miss out on driving sales from the base that you already have.
Start Early and Save Your Business!
Roll down your windows and start early way ahead in time before your competitors. Create content that is customer-centric and use all social mediums to educate your audience on what’s coming at least a month prior. This will help your customers make up their minds before-hand on what they exactly want.
With the most important season after such a bad year almost around the corner, now is the time to make an investment that counts. It’s always okay to have an expert on the war-front doing all the groundwork for you than to plummet your business to ground through half thought out strategies.
Reap guaranteed returns by investing in a completely revamped eCommerce with DCKAP. We can be the partner in growth that you’ve been looking for all along. We have done this time and again before. You can be our next success story. Come find us today, our team is here to give you all the answers that you’re looking for!