eCommerce Holidays 2022: Preparing your Online Store for the Holiday Season
Holidays are a great time for eCommerce businesses. Follow these tips to ensure your customers have a great shopping experience and maximize sales.
Preparing your eCommerce site for the holiday season is essential to your overall marketing strategy. Deck the halls of your online store with special decorations that spread holiday cheer, and ensure your site is ready for the influx of customers and increased sales.
This guide explores six ways you can prepare your online store for the holiday season. We share insights into the importance of mobile-friendly sites, chatbots or live chats, and eCommerce personalization. We also share tips for preparing customer service teams, addressing infrastructure, and blocking problematic bots. Read on to learn how to maximize this valuable opportunity to celebrate the season with your customers.
For most B2C companies, mobile eCommerce is well-established. In contrast, many B2B companies still find that their website traffic is still coming from desktops. However, the B2B trend is increasingly shifting to mobile. In 2020, around 40% of Cyber Monday sales occurred on smartphones, which is an increase of 8.4% year-over-year (YoY).
Imagine a scenario in which you are a customer who needs to place an order on your phone. Perhaps you are running out of time with the promotional window, not at home by your computer, or out of the office. In any of these scenarios, offering an excellent mobile-optimized experience can have a profoundly positive impact on the customer, especially when they are in a pinch. When the customer has a positive experience in which they are able to check out and it is clear that you took the consideration to make the experience convenient and easy for them, it goes a long way in building loyalty and trust. Alternatively, suppose they need to use their smartphone to purchase something from you, and you do not offer a pleasant mobile experience. In that case, you will frustrate them just as much as you could have pleased them with a positive mobile experience. Prioritize mobile to show your customers you care about their experience, value their convenience, and give your business more ways to take in sales.
Prepare Customer Service Teams
Your customer service team will be inundated with traffic via phone calls and emails, especially during this time of year. If a customer calls in on Cyber Monday or Black Friday, they are probably highly stressed. They are likely rushing to beat a mental ticking clock and trying to get an order placed before the deal ends.
Customer service representatives need to be prepared, be extra relaxed and feel happy with how they engage with the customers. They will need to calm customers' fears and provide logistic support. These responsibilities require your team to be mentally and procedurally prepared in advance. Anticipate the sorts of customer service inquiries, return requests, and questions that might come in. Consider role-playing scenarios to practice communication strategies and sort out the processes so your customer service representatives can expedite solutions and quickly resolve customer inquiries. On the eCommerce holidays, ensure your customer service team is well-staffed to minimize stress for both staff and customers.
Enhance the Credibility of Your Site
Your site's credibility is paramount to the success of your eCommerce holidays 2022. The key to proving credibility is to build trust in your website. When you bring new customers to your website, they need specific psychological indicators that allow them to trust you, think that you're secure, and know that you are secure. You want to enhance your site's credibility as much as possible by optimizing everything from website speed and intuitiveness to matching customer expectations and displaying security badges. When customers come to your site, they will have expectations about the buying journey as it pertains to buying the types of products you sell. Displaying security badges, like those from McAffee or GeoTrust, around the checkout process can help ease their mind or worries when entering credit card information. Help your customers feel that the process is secure and let them know you partner with the right companies.
Implement Live Chat or Chat Bots
For any company not using a live website chat or chatbot today, consider adding that feature to your website for the holiday eCommerce. A live chat or chatbot feature highly increases conversion rates. Customers who might have a question may not necessarily want to reach out to a sales representative to get an answer, they may not want to wait for a response, or they may need an answer right then and there.
Make sure your chat feature is appealing and user-friendly. Some customers may be hesitant to use live chats or chatbots at first, but it only takes one positive encounter to create a lasting impression. Customers may eventually become comfortable using a live chat to get the answers they need because it can work out phenomenally in scenarios in which they may need to use it.
Consider implementing a chatbot with artificial intelligence (AI) and content options to help serve customers with the content they seek. An AI-powered chatbot will save your sales and customer service representatives time by giving customers a self-service experience to find answers. The solution can also passively direct customers to a sale or transaction. Furthermore, the bot can encourage customers throughout the process to speak with a sales representative or visit a specific page to learn more. This way, bots can single-handedly and automatically help your website increase conversions.
Personalization is an important topic in both eCommerce today and marketing at large. In this context, personalization does not entail adding things like a customer's first name or company name to emails or other simple things. Instead, consider this example:
Imagine walking into your nearest superstore to find that all the isles have magically rearranged themselves based on what you are most likely to buy. That is the power of personalization with web content that is possible with Dynamicweb. You can have the website surface the kind of product that the customer would be most interested in based on things they have bought in the past. You can even surface content like text rows and messages about what they see as they browse the website that relates to their purchase history or interests.
Address Your Infrastructure to Prepare for Traffic Spikes
During the holiday season, your eCommerce site will see traffic spikes and a possible increase in security threats. Take the time to address your infrastructure in advance to plan for the traffic spikes and security needs that will arise. Speak with your hosting partner or in-house IT team and ask them to check that you allow the site to scale well beyond the traffic you may have this holiday season. Test your site to see how it might perform on the sale day, and ensure the site is not experiencing any technical delays. Scale the infrastructure so that it is elastic and does not slow down when people come to your site. Double-check that the load is balanced across all your servers so that no single server becomes bogged down. Make sure that your web application firewall technology is up to date and patched so everything runs smoothly. The stakes are high, after all. If a site fails to load or another major technical issue arises, visitors tend to bounce off and never return.
Bots are becoming a significant issue for companies these days. Bots account for around 50% of all website traffic, and 28% of bots are malicious. The malicious bots attempt to bog down website traffic, hack websites, and find creative ways to interfere with the holiday eCommerce experience.
The holiday season is a particularly special and vulnerable time to be exposed to bot traffic because it can slow your system or unleash an attack that makes your site unavailable. Make sure that you are adding antibot measures to your site. Also, block known hosting providers and proxy servers associated with bots. Finally, touch base with the hosting and IT side with your solution to ensure that you are prepared for the holiday eCommerce season.
With customers across nearly every retail, wholesale, and manufacturing vertical, we understand the importance of increasing profits and boosting loyalty during the holiday season. We offer customers an industry-recognized, award-winning cloud business platform, enable customers to deliver stellar customer experiences, and scale eCommerce success. Our best-in-class Ecommerce, Content Management, Product Informations Management, and Digital Marketing solutions can help you set up for success. To learn how we can help you prepare your eCommerce business for this holiday season and many more, contact Dynamicweb today.