While it didn’t seem possible a few months ago during the height of the pandemic, you better know that the holidays are coming. This means more and more brands are gearing up for the upcoming festivities by looking into trends that are bound to appear this year. At this point, brands and companies are no longer stranger to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. It has rewritten how the market works and if market projections are to be accepted as true, then these effects are bound to stay.
Question is, are you ready for it?
A number of E-Commerce trends emerged because of the pandemic. For the holidays, many more are bound to pop up. This will have a radical effect on online and overall retail sales for this year. Customers are travelling less and are likely to find more ways of celebrating at home. So they’re hunkering down and doing most of their shopping online at the comfort of their homes.
To summarise, expert projections for consumer and brand behavior read as the following:
- More customers will choose to spend the holidays at home
- Retailers believe E-Commerce transactions, online shopping will increase this year, so they will double down on their E-Commerce capabilities
- Holiday shopping will begin earlier as people carve more time for possible shipping delays
- More preference for curbside pickup and “click and collect” E-Commerce services
- Brands, shops will personalise shopper experience
- Experience-driven commerce will lead to more conversions
To help you make sense of this “new normal” in holiday shopping, we’ve put together a brief but packed Holiday E-Commerce Guide for 2020.
Holiday E-Commerce Guide for 2020 Holidays
Anticipate the influx of business transactions from emerging consumers
We are talking about people who have finally dipped their toes into E-Commerce and online shopping (because of the pandemic)—and LOVED it. These are the same people who will buy from you during holiday shopping, aside from your existing market. They were impressed by the convenience provided by E-Commerce and will be looking to do their holiday shopping through the comfort of their homes, as the fear of the pandemic continuously looms. To deliver, you can do two primary things to anticipate this influx:
Test your website performance and measure its traffic and speed. You need to do this in order to handle the outpour of orders and demands that’ll surely come with the increased holiday online shopping. After all, website delays (even a second of it!) could lead to decreased page views (and abandoned carts! Yikes!)
Check your site’s mobile responsiveness. For sure, most of these incoming transactions will be done through mobile devices. Mobile penetration is at an all-time high since the beginning of the pandemic, so make sure that your mobile storefront can do the heavy lifting when the orders start pouring in.
A website sweep that focuses on speed will have to focus on website elements that may deter ease of use for visitors, so be sure to check image load times and the mobile-responsiveness of your website. Both of these things will help keep your web infrastructure safe, as well as help you avoid cart abandonment and lower bounce rates.
(Want an accurate picture of what website elements will yield more favourable results for your e-commerce store? Check out our list of top e-commerce website features your website must have.)
Prep your holiday content calendar
At this point, you barely have two months before sales start kicking in high gear. And if we are to believe projections, your online storefront is probably already feeling the demands as early as now. It may seem counterproductive to focus on anything other than the overflow of orders, but trust us when we say that your content shouldn’t be taking a back seat at this point. Make sure to pepper your social media and online channels with relevant content, especially holiday-specific blog content that’ll surely get the audience talking.
B2C companies and brands do content on the holidays in order to influence holiday gift purchases. According to James Gurd of SmartInsights, the plan here is to “encourage people to share and talk about your products” by inspiring peer recommendations on social media.
Sample content that you can bank on: gift guides, listicles of your best products, personality-specific gifts, and best holiday products you have on your repository.
(Feeling overwhelmed with all the holiday rush? Fret not. Here are content marketing tips for a better content strategy that you can follow.)
Strategise for holiday marketing and promotions
For the 2020 holidays, expect brands to double down on targeted promotions online. This includes “every facet of marketing”: direct mail, email marketing, holiday promotions, and even paid advertising.
Data Feed Watch also notes the importance of crafting a smarter marketing strategy for this time, especially for your PPC strategy, which focuses on 1. optimising product feed, 2. organising shopping campaigns to set bids accordingly, 3. making lists of products based on seasonality and predicted trends, 4. and expanding keyword ranges to include seasonal searches and products.
Strengthen your customer service and support
An E-Commerce adage goes, “Don’t give your visitors a reason to leave,” which really just translates to “don’t give users a reason to turn to your competition.” By this, we mean placing emphasis on user experience as well as giving your audience quality customer service, especially during this season.
And we don’t just mean your customer service staff; for this, we also mean giving weight to the ability of certain website elements to keep your visitors hooked. To start, you can rewrite your FAQ page so it reflects the logistical details and changes they may encounter. Make sure that when you post content, it will also redirect visitors to these details.
Another way to manage expectations is by communicating with your customers clearly. If delays are inevitable, make sure this gets communicated to your buyers either during check-out or on your storefront’s landing page.
Finally, anticipate the questions your audience may have in whatever format they may prefer: through email, phone, social media, FAQs, or even chatbot (as automated workflows are expected to handle the majority of the questions).
For more information about the latest updates on Coronavirus, visit World Health Organization’s (WHO) website.