Each year something exciting happens, as we want to spend endless hours looking through retail shelves during holiday sales in search for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. However, holiday season for business owners is a time, which is marked by ceaseless frustrations and anxieties. There are way too many things to deal with and things worsen when you find your customers jumping ships and fleeing to your competitors because you have neglected some valuable insights about customer preferences.
But fear not, since there are myriad of information and research online, which can reveal the wants and needs of your customers.
Based on the forecasts for this year, it has been predicted that this year’s holiday season sale will be a blast, as US consumers are planning to spend 3.5 – 4.5 percent more than they did in 2016.
How the US Consumers plan to shop this season
According to a forecast by Forrester Research, it has been suggested that online sale will increase by 12 percent this holiday season compared to 2016. While in another research, it has been pointed out that more than 82 percent of shoppers in the US are planning to buy their gifts online.According to a forecast by Forrester Research, it has been suggested that online sale will increase by 12 percent this holiday season compared to 2016. Click To Tweet
While this may seem to be a positive trend for online stores, there is another insight that you should also be aware of. According to Forrester three-quarter of all holiday shoppers expect to buy their gifts from Amazon. This means although e-commerce sale is expected to grow, Amazon will take a large chunk of the sale.
Another interesting trend revealed by Forrester shows the consumer’s tendency to procrastinate. The said research has brought out that in 2017, shoppers are expected to wait even longer before buying their gifts, which means, that in-store pickups and expedited shipping, will be most valuable from the customer’s perspective.
As an e-commerce business owner, you probably already have a 2017 Holiday Plan in place, but still, it is worth reconsidering the plan to see if it aligns with these recent researches.
Here are a few more suggestions based on the research findings:
Tips on how you can increase sale during Holiday Season 2017:
#1. Get an online store
If you have not yet tapped into the power of online selling, get on the bandwagon now. Although it is true that people still love to touch and feel their products before purchasing them, however, holiday season purchases are more about giving others, which means that generic product mix will sale moreover personalized items.
#2. Review your product assortment
Consumer’s mindset changes radically once the trees change its hue. While consumers try to stay wary of their finances in the early fall, they start buying lavish gifts and start throwing money on unnecessary items as the holiday season approaches every year, and mostly their choices are not thoughtful ones. This is the time to review your stocks and dig out those most costly gifts and pricey toys. Remember, the more creative, pretty and decorative your product offerings, the more sales you can expect during the holiday sale.
#3. Incorporate recommendations
According to Forrester Research, 64 percent of online buyers try to view recommendations or suggested products while they shop. By adding recommendation functionality to your e-commerce website, you can make you of the collected data to find out your customer preferences. To enhance customer experience, you can even allow your shoppers to like and save their favorite items while surfing for their desired products in your online shop.
#4. Provide expedited shipping and pick-up in store
For early buyers consider offering free delivery, since ‘free delivery’ ranked high as a consideration factor in the stated surveys. Moreover, as mentioned even before there are an increasing number of customers those who are postponing their purchases this holiday season, therefore, such services that make sure of guaranteed delivery will be much appreciated.
#5. Update marketing communication across all channels
For this holiday season, remember to align all your marketing materials and website landing page imageries with the holiday theme. It has been observed on several occasions that holiday themes put customers into a buying mode. As most customers have a mental budget of how much they are going to spend during the holiday season sale, therefore, put out your holiday merchandise at the earliest, and create an atmosphere of a joyous celebration online.
#6. Improve customer support
Even when the craze and rush for holiday shopping get out of your control, it is important that you stand apart from your competitors by providing a high level of customer service. According to Forrester Research, 68 percent of online shoppers expect their desired brands to answer their queries within a day and 26 percent wants to receive a response within 2 hours.
As this kind of customer expectations often puts tremendous pressure on business owners during the holiday season, consider streamlining your customer service processes by adopting latest technological solutions such as Chat-bots and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to cater to your customer’s needs.
#7. Optimize mobile experiences
In a report published by Adobe Digital Insights, mobile visits have risen by 33 percent compared to what it was in 2016. Therefore make your e-commerce website mobile responsive and create a speedy mobile checkout process. As everyone is pressed for time during the holiday season, people are more willing to shop online using their mobile device. Offering different payment methods such as credit cards, and digital wallets help in generating more sale and process faster checkouts.
Hence, in a gist, while data provides a complete picture of personal preferences and behaviors of your customers, but as holidays are centered on the idea of gift giving, holiday promotions are here to stay for this year and times to come.