This is part two in a two-part series. You can read part one here.
In part one of this two-part season on getting geared up for the holiday shopping season, we discussed some things you could do today to start preparing for the customers who will be knocking on your door come Black Friday.
In part two, we’ll look at even more things you can do to make the sales process easier and more pleasing for that customer base. Although eCommerce order fulfillment is gaining ground year after year, there’s no guarantee that a shopper is going to choose yours over the next shop just because you have a website.
Upping Your eCommerce Game
eCommerce is the name of the game these days. From old-fashioned brick-and-mortar retailers to fully online Internet shops, almost every business has some kind of eCommerce presence today. The challenge this holiday shopping season is making it better, smarter and more secure.
Here are three ways to take your eCommerce customers somewhere fantastic:
- Add more mobile integration for shoppers. Smartphone users are everywhere, and they’re using those phones more and more to look into every aspect of their purchases, according to UPS’s report Pulse of the Online Shopper. Sixty-nine percent of respondents say they’ve used their smartphone in a retail store to look up product reviews, read more about a product or to compare the price of a product among retailers.The Think With Google blog reports that mobile searches for “near me” have increased by 146 percent year over year, meaning that more people want “pizza near me,” “shoe stores near me” and “bicycle shops near me.” Adding any physical locations to Google Local can help your mobile users find you even easier.
- Evaluate your shipping options. Many small retailers don’t offer free shipping because they think it’s simply not cost-effective. However, during the holiday shopping season, you should reevaluate that stance and find a way to make free shipping and expedited shipping options work. Maybe you can allow customers to pick up their orders in your brick and mortar shop, in a brick-and-mortar shop that you have an arrangement with or give them free shipping with a certain dollar amount in sales. During the holiday season shoppers are extremely budget conscious and free shipping can make all the difference in your shopping cart abandonment rates.
- Have a backup plan. There’s no time more chaotic for retailers than the holiday shopping season and it’s made doubly so by the weather that’s likely to greet a significant portion of retailers this year. Snow, sleet and ice have done plenty to wreck havoc on shipping schedules, both for inventory restocking and for order fulfillment.No matter if you’re a B&M or an eCommerce shop, have one ear to the weather and a backup plan for handling supply chain problems. This is where working with a really excellent 3PL comes in handy since they can reroute deliveries that are already on the move.
Creating a happy holiday shopping season for your customers means a lot more than simply opening your doors and waiting for them to show up. Online or off, customers want more and better ways to interact with your business, better shipping options and some kind of plan in place in case their long awaited gifts get caught in an unexpected winter storm.