Sales are expected to increase 11% over last year during the holiday season in 2021, setting a record for eCommerce. Additionally, merchants are expected to compete more aggressively this season than in the past. Our eCommerce holiday revenue experts gathered their top tips and advice to help you prepare for the holiday shopping season.
One key takeaway that we have found after collecting all the feedback is “don’t wait!”
In order to strategize effectively, holiday planning should begin early (with data) because 1) time is needed to strategize and 2) the holiday season begins earlier each year than it does traditionally. It is expected that holiday shopping will begin in September.
As we begin our discussion, let’s understand how the 2021 holiday season differs from prior years.
What will be Different About the Holiday Season in 2021?
Considering the pandemic and the booming e-Commerce industry plus record-breaking growth in online shopping, this is a great question and one that will be studied in the coming years!
The situation is still somewhat ambiguous. The rules differ according to the country and city where you live. As some areas start extricating restrictions, others are ramping up restrictions again in response to new outbreaks. Shopping in person is likely to be discouraged during the holiday season.
Considering how complex the pandemic has been on many social activities and relationships, the trend toward personalization, health, and wellness, or personal items makes a lot of sense. Customers today want products that are tailored to suit their situation or relationship rather than generic products. In place of jewelry, you’ll observe personalized jewelry that states things like “I’m with you always” or have memes, rants, or political messages on them.
A multivitamin will not look like your typical gummy vitamin; it will be called something like “Multivitamins for the Self-educating Mother.” Shoppers spend hours looking for the ideal gift to show someone they cherish because they want to perceive that they are genuinely thinking about them and still value them.
Therefore, retailers with brick-and-mortar stores that also sell eCommerce products or those that sell only online must be familiar with the impact on their eCommerce store. In this environment, what can you do to minimize your risks while also capitalizing on your strengths?
I have rounded up some competent advice for your coming holiday season to help you succeed:
Shoppers are Flocking to Mobile Devices
Mobile and social commerce between 2021 and 2022 will most likely remain lucrative – consider Instagram Checkouts and Facebook Shops. Making purchases using mobile is the one to watch. The growth in smartphone retail e-commerce earnings in the United States is anticipated to exceed 432 billion U.S. dollars by 2022, from 148 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. The mobility of mobile devices makes it easy for shoppers to shop on the go, especially when it comes to last-minute purchases. In addition, there is forecasted to be a boom in subscription-based eCommerce as well.
As consumers become more aware of the environment, e-commerce brands that can demonstrate their sustainability credentials (such as eco-friendly packaging, ethical manufacturing) have a better chance of making sales.
Prepare Ahead of Time for Shoppers
Early shopping will be a trend for consumers. Perceptions have been impacted by the disruptions in the supply chain over the past year. 70% of shoppers said they would shop early last year in order to avoid crowds and out-of-stock items. Likewise, shopping is expected to follow the same pattern this year. Holiday promotions and plans should be launched earlier than usual by retailers to meet early demand.
Over the course of this Christmas season, there will be fewer opportunities for offline shopping and socializing. Due to the pandemic, many consumers will order Christmas gifts well in advance, even sending them directly to family and friends. Therefore, it would be helpful if retailers started marketing and promoting Christmas deals well in advance and offered more flexible delivery and gifting options to cater to their customers’ shopping needs.
Engage Customers to Experience your Brand First-Hand
Digital Direct to Consumer purchases is predicted to increase 16% from last year by 2021, according to research firm eMarketer. Both new and returning customers will increasingly visit your brand’s website in the holiday season. Make the most of this critical opportunity to increase sales and grow your customer base through paid loss-leader efforts such as small-sized products, ‘buy one, get one free offer, free trials, ‘best of’ bundles, and gift cards promotions.
Every sale is an opportunity for you to uncover more about your customers and ultimately increase repeat purchases through retargeting paid advertising, customer journey mapping via email, and a fully customized buying experience.
Merchandisers Should also Prepare Inventory Early
A stock shortage and lost holiday sales are the two worst things a company can experience. “Recognize the limitations” of the supply chain. In the attempt to process orders on time for the holidays, retailers typically need to order items 3-9 months in advance. Despite rising consumer demand and tapped-out production capacity, world supply chains are experiencing significant shortages. Are businesses able to procure enough inventory? If so, will it be delivered on time? Will the consumer demand spread out as stores reopen, or will carriers’ workloads be lighter as stores reopen?
Consider making your inventory more secure in advance as you prepare for BFCM. To capture sales during the holiday season, you need to increase ad spend on your holiday marketing strategy and optimize your ad campaigns early. Having adequate cash flow during the holidays can help support your success in handling ongoing costs such as marketing and inventory.
Social Media’s Relevance will Grow
More people will use social media to purchase holiday gifts than ever before. The pandemic may not be a new phenomenon, but consumers are turning to more digital channels after the effects have been felt. Moreover, web users are increasingly discovering brands on handheld devices – more often than not, and especially during the holidays. People found new things online last season as 45% said it was a gift for someone using social media. You should ensure your social strategy has tons of potential this holiday season, and for this, you can hire the best eCommerce web development service providers.
With BigCommerce and Facebook for Business, merchants can thrive across social media platforms. You can check out how to set up product tags on Instagram, as well as how to sell on Instagram, by checking out our guide.
A Lot Depends on Reviews
As the holiday season approaches in 2021, reviews will become a crucial factor. A recent study indicated that reviews and social proof were essential for success. Consumers should be offered anything that will assist with educating, encouraging, and increasing their chances of converting.
More than 70% of shoppers read reviews before making online purchases (source: BigCommerce report). Consumers prefer to have full knowledge before they buy and are willing to do their research. Retailers must offer this information to consumers before they make a purchase, or they risk losing sales.
The consumer also looks for three factors in the reviews: authenticity, relevance, and relationships. Positive thoughts and negative reviews are equally important to the consumer. Therefore, one of the essential factors of reviews is trust, and it is vital for conversion increase.
Get in Touch With Your Customers Early
You must reach out to your subscribers so that you can increase your revenue during the holidays. If you are e-mail, SMS, etc., marketing your brand in November, then you should send multiple emails several weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A letter from the president, or a mystery sale, are two campaigns that get many opens and clicks. In that case, your subscribers will recognize you when Black Friday comes around because they have recently engaged with the brand.
Put the Emphasis on Exceptional Customer Experience
Customer service will become increasingly important with increased competition. Customers will be loyal to businesses that provide them with supreme service, and companies that provide substandard or average service will find it challenging to grow. It makes sense to audit the service you provide to your own customers.
Moreover, Augmented Reality (AR) is starting to transform how we interact with products in the future, thus further intensifying the evolution of user experience. When the product arrives at the customers’ homes, they want to see it in their homes first. A 3D model of a store’s development will allow consumers to see it from all angles before purchasing it.
There will be an increase in channels, and customers will have more and more options for buying online. As a result, it may be problematic for them to move away from their preferred platform, and this may cause them to have an entirely different purchasing experience. There will be more in-app purchasing on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as well as in individual apps in the future. Businesses will rely more on multichannel marketing in the future.
Summing It Up!!
During the holiday season, only time will tell whether or not things go smoothly. Can shoppers expect to enjoy the convenience of online holiday shopping, or will they continue to shop in stores? Will consumers flock to specific channels or purchase certain features?
Taking as many steps as possible to cover your bases is the best way to prepare. Organize your site as early as possible. Provide services in various locations where the customer shops and facilitate a pleasant purchasing experience. If you want to increase your sales in the upcoming months, you can implement countless tips and tricks.