The holidays are almost here and with it, the biggest sales season of the year.
And while it’s the most wonderful time of the year, there are trends and economic factors that will impact holiday shopping, including rising inflation and prices, continued supply chain issues, and additional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these challenges, you as a retailer can have some fun and bring joy this holiday season by helping customers get what they want quickly. This includes staying on top of inventory and communicating with customers regarding product availability, fulfillment options and estimated shipping times.
Now is the time to update your online customer experience to seamlessly guide consumers from product discovery to purchase, making shopping easier and more convenient during this peak season.
Tip No. 1: Optimize the landing page for mobile.
With consumers looking for a quick and easy shopping experience, you should limit the size of landing page hero images for mobile experiences — and avoid videos altogether, if possible.
High-bandwidth creative content slows down performance and deters visitors from continuing their journey down the funnel, especially during high traffic seasons.
In other words, on mobile, you want to make the shopping experience as easy and as seamless as possible to enable consumers to quickly purchase items on their gift lists.
Tip No. 2: Include personalized messaging.
Personalized messages can help clarify shipping costs and timelines based on the shopper’s location to reduce cart abandonment. Consumers may experience frustration and cut their shopping journey short if they were expecting free shipping or a quick turnaround and it was not communicated up front.
Tip No. 3: Promote fulfillment options early.
Retailers should also promote fulfillment options such as buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) and buy online, pickup at curb (BOPAC) on product pages. In-store locators can also be promoted when a store is within a specific range of the user’s location. Visitors are more motivated to convert if delivery times or costs are favorable.
Additionally, if you’re exploring curbside pickup, you should consider the following:
- Making sure the e-commerce platform has curbside built in at the store level so you can customize the process.
- Using personalized communication with customers that offer lots of detail, including a map to the store, directions on how pickup will work, and even promotions and upsells that can be fulfilled upon pickup.
- Preparing for heavy volume by creating specific pickup time windows. Consider adding messaging for customers via emails and SMS that allows them to tap a button upon arrival.
Tip No. 4: Simplify the checkout process.
Don’t let small distractions stall a purchase once the shopper has made it to the checkout page. Remove large or complex creative pieces from the cart and checkout pages, such as high-resolution photos, GIFs or videos. This is especially important for mobile users who are looking at a smaller screen. Ensuring that the cart and checkout process render seamlessly can prevent any hang time during payment processing.
Tip No. 5: Use social proof.
Don’t leave your holiday sales to chance. Encourage visitors to make decisions more confidently by adding social proof messaging to key pages. You can build visitor trust by showing would-be customers which products are performing well, adding a sense of urgency with FOMO (fear of missing out) messaging at key stages.
Consider adding messages that identify products likely purchased as gifts on product pages to steer shoppers toward additional purchases. A study found that 66 percent of customers seek out signs of social proof before making online purchases, illustrating the power of the crowd to influence shoppers’ purchase decisions.
Delight Holiday Shoppers This Season
By offering a personalized, engaging online experience, customers can easily find the perfect gifts. Streamlining and customizing the shopping experience provides a smoother shopping journey for new and returning customers. Furthermore, leveraging other merchandising tools, like social proof, guarantees success for retailers by harnessing the power of personalization and customer insights with a touch of popularity messaging and product scarcity.
These tools drive increased conversions and top-line revenue while showcasing an innovative and engaging shopping experience. At the height of retail’s biggest season, these tips will improve customer satisfaction and leave a positive impression for future holiday seasons.
Brian Wilson is the chief operating officer of Kibo, a leader in composable commerce.
Brian Wilson is the chief executive officer for Monetate and is driven by providing solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s digital experience. Customer value has always been at the center of Brian’s philosophy of how to build successful companies and organizations. Prior to Monetate, Brian held executive roles at Zenoss, Quest Software, and Convergys Corporation.
Brian is thrilled to be based in Austin, TX, home to a vibrant running community and with abundant activities to keep his family of 5 active and outdoors.