According to Forbes eCommerce statistics 2023, the global eCommerce market is expected to total $6.3 trillion by the end of the year.
One of the key advantages of engaging in eCommerce is the opportunity to market and sell your goods and services to a global audience. By making your website accessible, you enable customers from anywhere on the planet to make purchases, regardless of their geographical location. If your eCommerce business currently operates on a local or national scale, think about leveraging the chance to expand your brand's reach on a global level, facilitating unparalleled growth opportunities.
What Is Holiday Readiness?
Ecommerce holiday readiness involves creating a comprehensive plan that includes website optimization, marketing strategies, fulfillment, customer service training and post-holiday analysis in order to improve seasonal eCommerce performance.
Understanding the Impact of Holidays on eCommerce Sales
The holidays can be a money-making time of year for eCommerce businesses with holiday shoppers spending more than ever before. One key challenge is ensuring that customers have an enjoyable experience when visiting your website or app during the busy season. Make sure your website is optimized to handle the increased traffic and provide excellent user experiences. Recently we've written an article how to prepare your store for Black Friday. Additionally, make sure your customer service is trained up-to-date and is able to cope with any issues customers may face during this period such as shipping delays or out of stock items.
A few curious facts from Forbes eCommerce Statistic:
- In 2022, online shoppers made purchases totaling $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday, surpassing the $9.12 billion spent on Black Friday, marking it as one more lucrative day for eCommerce businesses.
- In 2022, a significant number of people, 87.12 million to be exact, engaged in online shopping on Black Friday.
- In the same year, 77 million individuals participated in online shopping on Cyber Monday. Despite being a relatively newer addition to the shopping calendar, starting from 2005 Cyber Monday has gained substantial popularity.
Every year, businesses count on the eCommerce holiday season to generate a significant portion of their yearly income. To outshine competitors, it's crucial to tackle the following tasks:
- Get ready for the increased website traffic.
- Craft customer experience that's smooth and trouble-free.
- Impress and enchant customers with shipping and fulfillment choices.
- Develop well-thought-out holiday marketing strategies and promotions.
- Enhance customer service and support efforts.
Follow our holiday eCommerce tips below to learn more about readiness preparation in the hot sales season.
Analyze previous holiday seasons
It is an important part of preparing for the upcoming busy shopping season. By looking back at how your business performed during previous holidays, you can identify what worked and what didn’t in terms of marketing campaigns, customer service processes, website optimization and more. This gives you a better understanding of where to focus resources this time around so that it ensures maximum efficiency and return on investment (ROI). Once these areas have been identified, proceed to setting the foundation through planning and strategy. This involves creating detailed plans on how to use resources effectively as well as deciding which tactics will be used to reach desired sales goals.
Enhance your website user experience
The next step towards being holiday ready is website and user experience enhancement which starts with ensuring that your site can handle the increased traffic during peak times such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday without any issues. In addition to this, optimizing web pages for mobile devices is also a key since many shoppers now prefer shopping via their smartphones rather than desktops or laptops. Finally, check if the delivery information appears clearly on product pages to keep customers informed throughout their journey, thus reducing any potential frustrations they may encounter along the way. All these steps combined should ensure that customers have an enjoyable experience when visiting your website during the festive period. And result in higher profits!
Test all changes and new mechanics before release to avoid annoying situations when something goes wrong or bugs appear.
In addition to the above key preparations, there are a few other steps eCommerce businesses should take in order to be fully prepared for the holiday season.
Web pages update
Firstly, updating product pages with detailed descriptions and images is important as this will give customers an accurate idea of what they’re buying. This in turn can lead to higher conversion rates.
Furthermore, setting up customer loyalty programs or offering discounts on repeat purchases can help encourage shoppers to return throughout the festive period increasing sales even further.
Ad campaigns launch
Finally, creating targeted campaigns across a variety of channels such as social media platforms, television advertisements or radio spots can all help spread awareness about your business during the busy shopping season and ultimately drive traffic towards your website or app. We recommend using the results of previous campaigns to maximize effectiveness.
Activation of cart abandonment alerts
Numerous factors can lead a customer to exit your website while their shopping cart remains filled with items. Push notifications can serve as a reminder of the abandoned products, with the aim of persuading customers to complete the purchase.
Email campaigns preparation
Don't forget the traditional way of communicating effectively with your customers. Deliver important news and offers instantly to get the most out of this channel. Email marketing, like the other channels, needs careful holiday eCommerce strategy planning. Prepare a separate email funnel, a branded newsletter template and audience segments to maximize relevant interactions.
No time to dive into reading? Get the ultimate checklist right now.
Holiday-themed content creation
Creating holiday-themed content for your online store can engage your audience and boost sales during festive seasons. Here are some ideas for holiday-themed content:
Holiday Gift Guides
Create gift guides for different categories or recipient types (e.g., "Gifts for Him," "Gifts for Foodies"). Include product recommendations with compelling descriptions and images.
Share DIY holiday decoration or gift ideas that incorporate your products. Provide step-by-step instructions and visuals.
Holiday Blog Posts
Write blog posts about holiday traditions, holiday eCommerce tips for stress-free, or holiday-themed recipes. Make sure to tie your products in posts where relevant
Customer Stories and Testimonials
Share heartwarming stories from satisfied customers who purchased your products to increase potential customers' interest and loyalty.
Launch limited-edition offers and motivate your audience to buy faster and more.
Giveaways and Contests
Host giveaways or contests on social media to engage your audience and encourage sharing.
Virtual Shopping Events
Host live shopping events on platforms like Instagram Live or Facebook Live, showcasing your products and answering customer questions in real-time.
Holiday Video Content
Create video content such as product demos, tutorials, or holiday greetings. Share these on social media.
Holiday sales are a time for experimentation. If you've never tried influencer marketing before, take a look at this channel. The main things are to choose influencers with a relevant audience and prepare the right offers for them.
Alternative sales opportunities
Expanding the holiday spirit beyond your eCommerce store is a smart move. Explore alternative sales avenues, including:
Establish connections with prominent platforms like Amazon and Walmart Marketplace, and don't overlook other well-received choices like Wish and eBay.
Keep your product catalog current and use tagging to offer items for sale on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Technical Readiness for еCommerce Holidays
According to Unbounce, 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.
When it comes to technical readiness for the eCommerce holiday season, website scalability and performance are paramount. eCommerce businesses must ensure that their websites can handle the increased traffic levels during peak times without any issues or delays. It's important to make sure the technical side is ready in advance, as technical changes usually take longer than marketing.
Right hosting provider
Estimate your hosting scalability. Unfortunately, hosting doesn't always scale easily with website traffic. In order to evaluate site crashes due to extensive load, we recommend evaluating technical specifications and scalability in advance. For example, any of the Scalesta Cloud Hosting plans have Turbo boost* packages. It is urgent to increase server capacity during peak loads of the site to ensure its stable operation.
Everyday backups, emergency system recovery, performance and security monitoring are important services that should be included in hosting maintenance. All this will help you avoid critical errors and recover your project if the server goes down because of too many visitors.
If you need more technical background, learn more about how to choose the right hosting for your business.
Keep calm and stay stress-free during the holiday peak.
Do you still have questions about how to choose a right hosting solution? Get a free consultation with our hosting expert.
A great way to check the fault tolerance of the system is load testing. If the website works slowly or you are worried about future hot sales season - order the Load testing service. Load Testing will show your maximum website capacity and performance bottlenecks.
We define the peak system performance, determining both the maximum and the ideal number of users, also assessing the system ability to withstand stress and recover functionality following sudden increases in load.
Upon the completion of the tests, you will receive a detailed report containing information about the system peak performance, performance monitoring results such as response times and system resource utilization, as well as practical suggestions for enhancing system performance. The report will also include a list of misconfigurations and potential optimization opportunities.
We recommend investing time in testing before the sale to be able to fix bugs. Investing in testing will allow you to avoid losses due to site unavailability. And this is bound to happen if your server is not suitable for a certain influx of visitors.
Holiday payment checklist
Additionally, payments and checkout systems should be assessed to make sure they are secure yet efficient. Check the compliance with any applicable regulations which may vary from country to country.
Today, shoppers expect a wide variety of payment options while making purchases. Additional payment options mean added convenience.
Offering multiple payment options can significantly impact various aspects of the customer journey, leading to improved results for retailers. That's why offering multiple payment options leads to higher conversion rates, fewer abandoned carts, and better customer experience.
Аvailability of multiple payment choices empowers customers to select the payment method that aligns with their personal preferences and current circumstances. Whether it's using a credit card, digital wallet, or opting for a buy now, pay later option, thе versatility contributes to crafting an optimal customer experience.
Increased Conversion Rates
If customers can't utilize their preferred payment method, they may abandon their shopping carts. By providing a diverse range of payment alternatives, retailers can accommodate individual choices, reducing obstacles and boosting the likelihood of successful purchases.
Decreased Cart Abandonment
When customers cannot use their favored payment method during the checkout process, they may abandon their carts and look for alternatives elsewhere. Offering multiple payment options helps retailers address this concern, leading to a reduction in cart abandonment rates and an overall improvement in sales and revenue.
Mobile version optimization
Mobile commerce optimization is another important area which needs attention during the holidays due to an increasing number of shoppers now using mobile devices for purchases instead of desktops or laptops. This requires optimizing product pages for different screen sizes so customers have a smooth experience when navigating through your site on their smartphones or tablets.
Cybersecurity measures must also be taken prior to these busy shopping days. Assessthreats based on past data breaches and other potential risks then taking necessary steps towards improving overall security provisions across all platforms including web server applications, databases etc.
Finally, monitoring and analytics tools should also be implemented in order to track customer behaviors throughout the festive period. Don’t forget to collect valuable insights about how the business is performing from both the financial perspective as well as customer satisfaction standpoint.
Fulfillment and Customer Service
Fulfilling orders and providing excellent customer service is key to ensuring success during the holiday season. To prepare your business for this period it’s important to review inventory management processes. Additionally, customer service performance should be reviewed prior to the busy shopping season as this can often mean longer waiting times for customers trying to get in touch with a representative or having their queries addressed. Therefore, businesses must take steps such as training additional staff members, using automated response systems or offering live chat services so any issues customers may face can be dealt with efficiently.
Return and exchange of orders
Another area which needs attention when preparing for the holidays is returns and exchanges which can account for a large portion of sales during peak shopping days. To facilitate smooth process flow companies should clearly state return policies, terms and conditions on product pages.
According to Forbes eCommerce statistics 2023 a 22% reduction in the completion of an online shopping session occurs when the shipping process is deemed excessively slow.
When customers make online purchases, they may not necessarily anticipate immediate delivery, but they often desire prompt receipt of their items. If your delivery times stretch into weeks or months, there's a high likelihood that customers will abandon their online shopping carts on your site and seek out competitors offering quicker shipping. Therefore, it's crucial to optimize your shipping procedures and make every effort to accelerate the delivery time for customer orders, as eCommerce and sluggish shipping are not a favorable combination. Also some companies make shipping free.
Furthermore, logistics planning also plays an integral role here – particularly if you offer international shipping options – since delays due to customs regulations or other factors could potentially lead customers feeling frustrated thus resulting in negative reviews of your store online.
Once the holiday season has ended, it is important to analyze how your business performed in order to understand what worked and what didn’t. This analysis helps making informed decisions for future holidays as well as identifying any areas that need improvement. Firstly, sales data should be closely examined such as peak times throughout the period or average customer spend in order to gain an insight into consumer behavior and preferences during this time of year. Additionally, marketing efforts should also be assessed by looking at things like click-through rates on campaigns or engagement levels across different social media platforms which can give you a better understanding of where customers are coming from and how effective certain tactics have been in terms of driving traffic towards your website/app.
Furthermore, post-holiday customer feedback surveys can also provide valuable insights about their experience when shopping with you during the festive period. Comprehensive analyses could lead to further improvements being made around website design or user experience optimization! Finally, analytics tools should be used throughout this process so that key performance indicators (KPIs) –such as website page views– can be tracked over time. This will give you a better understanding of how shoppers interact with your online store both before and after buying something from it. By taking all these steps now businesses will have more knowledge about their customers enabling them to make informed decisions next holiday season resulting in higher profits!
Holiday Preparation Checklist
1 Inventory Management:
1.1 Assess and update your inventory.
1.2 Identify popular holiday products.
1.3 Ensure sufficient stock levels.
2 Website and Online Presence:
2.1 Check your hosting capability and flexibility.
2.2 Optimize your website for mobile and load speed.
2.3 Create holiday-themed content for your website.
2.4 Ensure secure and smooth checkout.
3.1 Plan and schedule holiday email campaigns.
3.2 Create social media holiday-specific content.
3.3 Set up coupon codes or special offers.
3.4 Develop loyalty program and partner with relevant companies
3.5 Promote special offers via ad campaigns.
3.6 Activate cart abandonment alerts
4 Analytics and Monitoring:
4.1 Set up tracking for website traffic and sales.
4.2 Monitor social media engagement and ad performance.
4.3 Analyze email campaign metrics.
5 Customer care:
5.1 Review and update your return policy.
5.2 Offer a wide variety of payment options
5.3 Communicate holiday shipping deadlines and offer expedited shipping options.
6 Post-Holiday Planning:
6.1 Plan for post-holiday eCommerce sales.
6.2 Analyze holiday season performance.
6.3 Gather feedback for improvements.
By following this checklist, you can ensure that your business is well-prepared for the holiday eCommerce season, making it a successful and profitable time for your company.
Effective holiday campaign planning and execution require seamless coordination among three fundamental components of the business:
- Technical part (website, hosting, apps)
- Marketing part (ads, e-mails, content in social media and on the website)
- Merchandise turnover (Logistics, operations, returning)
The holiday season is one of the busiest times for businesses in terms of online sales and customer service which means it’s essential to properly prepare prior to this period in order maximize profits while providing a pleasant shopping experience.
It's a long-term hard multi-layered effort, but one that will not only increase revenue, but also win the hearts of customers by improving the user experience.
What holiday shopping trends dominate in 2023?
Holiday shopping trends in 2023 are marked by customer preferences for complimentary shipping, swift 2-day delivery options, and hassle-free returns. Anticipated sales figures for the year are projected to surpass previous records, underscoring the need for eCommerce brands to delve into consumer behavior data. This involves providing personalized product suggestions, releasing comprehensive gift guides and more extensive blog articles, initiating a holiday-themed blog series, and employing a range of holiday tactics to convert potential customers and enhance the shopping experience for returning audiences.
When should I start to prepare holiday marketing?
The timing for preparing holiday marketing campaigns can vary depending on the specific holiday and your industry. However, here are some general guidelines to help you plan your holiday eCommerce strategy:
Time to start early: It's advisable to start planning your holiday marketing well in advance, ideally several months ahead. For major holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, consider starting your planning as early as six months prior.
Set Clear Goals: Determine your marketing objectives and goals for the holiday shopping season. Are you looking to increase sales, attract new customers, or boost brand awareness? Your goals will inform your marketing strategy.
Create a Content Calendar: Develop a content calendar that outlines when you'll launch specific eCommerce marketing campaigns, holiday promotions, and content. Be sure to include important dates like holiday sales, special offers, and shipping deadlines.