4 Ways Small Businesses Can Win This Holiday Season
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales surged to new highs in 2018, breaking online spending records with over $2 billion in sales coming from smartphones, according to an Adobe Analytics report. This year's trends are already showing strong signs that consumer spending will again reach record levels during the rapidly approaching holiday season. While big-box retailers can dominate the holiday conversation, small businesses can also reap the rewards of the bustling shopping season as consumers increasingly search for unique gifts and ways to avoid brick-and-mortar crowds.
So, how can small e-commerce businesses ensure they can compete?
First and foremost, start with your online store. Specifically, your landing page, which is a crucial way to attract consumers and drive them to purchase. Here are four key ways for small business retailers to ensure this holiday shopping season is a success.
Plan and Schedule for Maximum Impact
For most brands and retailers, the 40-day period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day determines their success for the year. To maximize the impact of holiday content, be sure to account for the whole holiday shopping season, including beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when planning holiday promotions. If you’re going to launch a sale, social campaign, newsletter or a combination of these, be sure to schedule when each will go live to best engage with an eager audience. For coupon offerings, make sure to start them early and provide clear instructions on how and when they can be used.
Don’t Forget to Decorate Social Media Channels
In today’s competitive market, a social media presence is essential. However, just having social profiles isn’t enough. Don’t forget to decorate channels just as you would a window display to let users know holiday promotions are in full swing. Start sharing and regularly updating festive content across channels, not forgetting to link to any sales, promotions or blog posts. Social media is a great way to engage and assist your customers, address any questions they have on your products, and solicit feedback on their shopping experience and needs.
Mobile Will Continue to Drive Sales
In 2018, Cyber Monday sales topped $7.9 billion, making it the single largest shopping day in U.S. history. Small businesses must make sure that their sites are optimized for mobile shoppers. Mobile currently accounts for 44.7 percent of all e-commerce sales, with forecasters projecting that total will increase to 53.9 percent of sales by 2021. Ensuring your website looks great and functions well on mobile will provide consumers with a seamless and positive user experience that directly impacts your success as a seller.
Painless Shipping and Returns Process
Same-day delivery has had a huge impact on consumer expectations when it comes to receiving online orders. According to Shippo’s 2018 State of E-Commerce Shipping report, 15 percent of shoppers want same- or next-day delivery. Your business should offer a seamless fulfillment process to make the point of sale a painless experience for both you and the customer. This requires checking that all inventory is ready to be packaged and shipped quickly; reviewing agreements with shipping partners to ensure you're offering the best rates possible; and making sure customers know the last day they can purchase to have merchandise arrive in time for the holidays. Also, if certain items aren't eligible for return or there's a specific return window, make sure that details are clearly displayed for customers before their transaction is final.
With advanced planning, an engaging online presence, and access to a suite of tools designed to help small businesses grow and scale, your company can be sure to benefit from a successful holiday shopping season.
Shelly Cohen is head of business development, e-commerce at Wix.com, a web development platform that lets anyone create a professional website and manage a dynamic digital presence, and currently supporting over 150 million entrepreneurs and small businesses.
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