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Consumers are impatient when it comes to holiday savings, so start sales prior to the usual Thanksgiving-Cyber Monday weekend. According to the NRF, 54% of shoppers start researching before Halloween. That’s not to say you must hold a three-month long blowout, but a presence throughout the extended holiday season is imperative. In 2017, Amazon introduced their Countdown to Black Friday sale one month in advance and many retailers extended their Thanksgiving sales into December. The key here is to promote early and often and spread out your promotions to keep consumers coming back for more.
Metrics are your friend. eMarketer projects 15.3% ecommerce growth for the 2018 holiday, which is strong but less than the 17.8% growth we saw in 2017. Take a look at last year’s traffic and sales numbers and project what is expected for the 2018 holiday season, then use those numbers to your advantage by implementing end-to-end performance testing.
Test, test, test until you are confident your site, servers, APIs, and all integrations can handle the anticipated volume with ease. All systems should be tested well in advance of the holiday rush. Based on your test results, scale up databases and severs ahead of your peak days, then scale back down after the holiday season to save on hosting costs.
Make sure you're prepared from an inventory perspective, so you can avoid disappointing or frustrating consumer experiences. Inventory feeds should be set to run on a schedule that accurately exposes and allocates available products during high-volume periods.
It’s every retailer’s worst nightmare to hear a system is down on a holiday, so if you thoughtfully prepare in advance you can avoid the fire drill!
Consumers know what they want, and they want it now. Ensure you can cater to those needs by making it easy for consumers to make a purchase.
Additional Payment Methods – One-click payment methods, like Amazon Pay, are expected by consumers and are an easy way to increase conversion at checkout.
Omnichannel Fulfillment – Increase the number of purchasing options to the consumer, including options like Buy Online Pickup in Store, Buy Online Ship from Store and others. Retail locations can also teach their in-store associates to save sale by incorporating Buy in Store Ship to Home or Buy in Store Ship to Store options.
Ease of Shipping – Provide multiple shipping options to choose from, and allow consumers to receive their items as quickly as possible by sending multiple shipments per order, when applicable. Free or discounted expedited shipping is key during mid-December for last minute shoppers.