Whether you call it Christmas, the holidays or simply time to re-watch "Home Alone," that time of the year is creeping up on us fast. ‘Tis (almost) the season for serious shopping — and retailers need to make sure their customers’ online experiences are merry and bright.
However, as readers of this article well-know, the holiday season can be challenging for retailers. With spikes in online traffic volume, maintaining stock levels with increased demand, and offering competitive pricing, retailers have additional considerations to address during the holiday season to ensure a positive shopping experience for their customers.
One of the ways to help support customer engagement and positive experiences is for retailers to optimize their website performance. So how can they do this to avoid online holiday shopping fails?
Following are five tips:
1. Schedule and preview content changes.
Misleading or inaccurate discounts in marketing campaigns is one of the most frustrating shopping experiences, especially during the holidays when consumers are eager for sales. Retailers should use a solution that enables their marketers to schedule and preview content changes across all channels before they publish to avoid inaccuracies. This will allow them to make sure any updates are directly reflected in the customer experience, preventing any unwelcome surprises.
2. Utilize excellent product images.
Clear and sharp product images are crucial for engaging visitors and converting them. Image optimization prevents blurry visuals and slow page load times, enhancing the overall shopping experience. To prepare for the holiday season, consider implementing a media optimization solution that supports a variety of channels and formats to ensure superb images.
3. Leverage artificial intelligence to ensure assets are accessible to all shoppers.
While crisp and clear product images are imperative, not every shopper may be able to easily view them. To drive engagement and conversions, it’s essential to make sure that assets are accessible to every consumer, including those that have visual disabilities. By using AI to automate the process of adding relevant and descriptive alternative text to images and videos, retailers can help ensure that shoppers who may not be able to easily see the content can better understand what the content is showing.
4. Ensure correct product availability details.
Retailers don't want to recommend products to shoppers that are out of stock. To prevent this disappointment, they should use an order management system (OMS) to maintain up-to-date product availability information. They should also consider integrating tools to recommend relevant, in-stock products as part of a complementary bundle or outfit, enhancing the customer’s shopping experience.
5. Use a reliable content delivery network.
It doesn’t matter what other measures you have in place if your website goes down. Using a reliable content delivery network (CDN) is essential to ensure websites function smoothly during the holiday season. Increased traffic can result in slow page load times or worse, website crashes. A robust CDN amplifies content availability and ensures uninterrupted shopping, regardless of increased traffic volumes. So, even with spikes during the holiday season, a retailer’s site still performs optimally.
As retailers prepare for the busy upcoming shopping season, they should remember these valuable tips. With the competitive landscape and current economic climate driving consumers to seek out the best deals, retailers need to ensure they're doing all they can to create positive, compelling online shopping experiences. Scheduling and previewing content changes, optimizing product images, supplementing those images and other media with automated text through the use of AI, maintaining correct product details and offering complementary products, and using a strong CDN are must-dos for success. They will make the holidays a joyful experience for one and all.
Ali Hanyaloglu is vice president of product marketing at Amplience, a dynamic commerce experience platform built for today’s (and tomorrow’s) customer journeys.
Ali Hanyaloglu, Vice President of Product Marketing, Amplience
Ali has been in product marketing for the last 15 years at leading tech companies including Adobe, Criteo, and Akeneo. Today, he is honored to be a three-time PMA Top 100 Product Marketing Influencer, and leads the product marketing team at Amplience, enabling him to share his passion for modern experience technologies and storytelling techniques. He has a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from University College London, where he was first bitten by the tech bug. Although originally from the UK, he now calls Massachusetts home. You will often find him behind a camera and lens or reorganizing his record collection: he firmly believes there is no such thing as having too many of those.