For many retailers, the holiday season will determine whether or not their year is a success. While forecasters are predicting a strong online holiday shopping season, nothing is ever guaranteed. Without the proper preparation to ensure success, retailers can encounter various obstacles, from marketing efforts falling short to costly returns or downtime. For e-commerce merchants and brick-and-mortar retailers alike, preparation for the impending holiday shopping season should start now with these smart strategies from entrepreneurial leaders.
Boost Sales With Exclusive Holiday Bundles And Products
The global gift market was valued at $62 billion in 2019. With an annual growth rate of 2%, it is projected to reach $68.45 billion by 2024.
Tap into the holiday spirit with holiday-themed campaigns to build excitement, increase engagement, and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Durana Elmi, Founder of Cymbiotika, explains, “We offer limited-edition holiday bundles and our biggest discounts of the year. Our investment in holiday-themed creatives and messaging aligns seamlessly with our customers’ values. These strategic initiatives have notably enhanced both customer satisfaction and loyalty.”
Elmi highlights one of Cymbiotika’s particularly successful holiday promotions — an advent calendar called Twelve Days of Wellness. She says, “This strategy not only boosted sales but also introduced customers to new products they may not have heard of.” The introduction of new product offerings can not only strengthen brand loyalty but keep a customer returning throughout the year.
Create An Irresistible Offer To Beat Out The Competition
The holiday season is a time when competition is at its highest. The value of offering seasonal products and promotions can’t be emphasized enough. With retailers seeking to lure consumers to their particular products, marketing efforts need to be flawless.
“Many e-commerce stores are simply trying to sell a product, but they don’t necessarily have an offer,” says Zach Wade, Founder and CEO of Wade Marketing, a leading digital marketing agency driving the job stacking era. The real draw, however, is an offer consumers simply can’t refuse. “This should be something with a high perceived value, expendable to the business with little to no cost.”
Just as the offer needs to be irresistible, so does the ad. “The goal is to sell the click, which means the ad needs to be enticing enough that consumers will want to see where it leads.” With so many retailers offering similar products, make sure yours stands out. Even if you offer the same promise or result as your competitor, differentiate by how your product or service works.
Invest In Returns Technology To Maximize Profits
A smart strategy for managing returns is critical for a profitable holiday season. While fast returns are the rightful focus for many retailers, speed isn’t the only important factor. “There should be an equal focus on ensuring a great customer experience,” says Gaurav Saran, Founder, and CEO of ReverseLogix, “A return isn’t inherently bad; retailers can view it as an opportunity to engage a customer and make the return faster and easier than expected. Prove to them that no matter how they interact with your brand, it will be fast, easy, and satisfying.”
To effectively manage the influx of product returns during the holiday season, proactively invest in advanced returns technology. “The sheer volume and diversity of product returns, repairs, and exchanges can overwhelm a warehouse or store that’s not equipped to efficiently manage returns,” says Saran. This system should offer comprehensive visibility into products’ purchase histories and detailed customer information to assist in monitoring potentially fraudulent activities. This technology automates workflows, accelerates processing, reduces costs, and simplifies the customer experience, handling a broad spectrum of product returns with efficiency and ease.
Optimize The Shopping Experience
Experts anticipate a surge in e-commerce driven by a generation that aligns its loyalty with influencers and authentic brands they trust. The allure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals only intensifies this wave.
“It’s crucial for businesses to prepare for this uptick in traffic,” says Oliver Goulden, Founder of brand developer of FounderSix. “Enhance the consumer’s shopping experience by focusing on elements like rapid page loads, engaging product visuals, a simplified checkout process, and guaranteed pre-holiday delivery timelines to convert sales,” explains Goulden. Failing to optimize e-commerce platforms, particularly for mobile interfaces, can cost companies thousands in potential sales, especially during the holiday shopping frenzy.
Set Your Store Up For Success With An Internet Contingency Plan
With buying behaviors and expectations being dramatically different during the holiday season, contingency planning is a must-do. Being that outages can hinder the functionality of POS systems and other business-critical applications, network health can make or break a business this time of year. “During the holiday season, internet servers are bustling with activity, working tirelessly to support the massive wave of online shoppers hunting for the perfect gifts,” says Lori Stout, CMO of Bigleaf Networks, the award-winning network optimization solution. “Without the proper contingency planning, if these servers become overwhelmed, it can cause slowdowns or, worse, downtime.”
Stout adds, “The stakes are exceptionally high, and ensuring a smooth, uninterrupted online shopping experience is crucial for hitting the season’s profit goals.”
Seizing Seasonal Business Success
Small businesses should tap into their entrepreneurial spirit to find creative solutions and innovative strategies for managing the challenges and opportunities the festive season brings. From exciting holiday-themed promotions to software that simplifies the management of returns and enhances the customers’ experience, online retailers can turn a new holiday customer into a lifelong brand loyalist.
Understanding current trends and being ready to go with the flow of the customers’ expectations and wants will be the difference between a mediocre and a stunning holiday season. Consumers are ready to buy and ready to buy early — they also expect to get the best deal possible and feel valued as they complete transactions. Plan early and be prepared to make the most out of this year’s holiday season.
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