The eCommerce industry has boomed in the last few years. A decade ago, most people were shopping at physical brick and mortar stores for their every need, only going online when the stores did not have something in stock. These days, consumers are more apt to hop online on their phones or tablets and place an order as soon as they need anything, complacent in the knowledge their item will arrive in just a few days in the mail.
Clean up your site.
To capitalize on this shift, you need to first and foremost ensure that your site is optimized for mobile and PC shoppers so that your pages load quickly and your customers can easily find the items they need. A large percentage of your shoppers will most likely be mobile shoppers so invest time and money to make it the best it can be. If your user interface (UI) is clunky or your servers are not equipped to handle a large load of traffic, frustrated customers will leave your site for other smoother and faster ones. The holiday season can bring you 20-30% more sales than you’ve made in the previous quarters so make your preparations early. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in a scramble when the season is in full swing - that could cost you many sales.
Repetition is the key to success
Marketers know that the chances of a customer buying a product increases the more they are exposed to an advertisement about it. Out of sight truly is out of mind in this case so leverage your advertising to remind your customers about your products, services, and sales as often as you can. Contact your customers by email, through the airways, on Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube, direct campaigns on your site, and on Social Media. It can take seven to ten exposures for customers to take notice of what you have to offer. However, balance is essential - if you bombard them with advertising, they will become annoyed and avoid you. Keep your advertising simple, but focused.
Create a need
Show your customers why they need the services you provide, create a desire in them to fulfill that need. People are more willing to spend during the holiday season than any other time of the year because it is the time to give and receive gifts. More than any other time, consumers make impulse buys and, if they come across a good deal, justify spending more than they had planned. Take advantage of the season by offering your customers a deal they would not want to pass up. If your sale is offered for a limited time, say a day or three, you will create a sense of urgency in your customer because they know they may not get such an offer again. You should also offer exclusive sales online that cannot be found in stores to incentivize your customers to buy from your mobile site. If you have repeatedly exposed them to your products in advance, you will do very well during the sale.
Hassle free returns - or if possible, free returns, should be offered to mobile shoppers because the main fear of online consumers is that they will be dissatisfied with a product they bought and will not be able to return it for a refund or exchange. A flexible return policy that reassures shoppers they can buy without worry or risk will encourage them to buy more items from you. To avoid high return rates, be as transparent as possible about the product and its condition and encourage honest feedback from people who have already purchased the same item. If a customer is educated about a product as much as possible before they buy it, they will be less likely to experience buyers remorse and return the item.
In preparation for the coming holiday retail boom, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If your first priority is ensuring that your operations are streamlined and optimized for their ease of use and benefit, they will shop with you. If however, you are only concerned with your business and turning a profit, your customers may decide to spend their hard-earned money elsewhere. If you take care of your clients, they will take care of you.
About The Author: John Munday is the head of marketing at GravIT - an IT Company based in Geelong, Australia. They specialise in IT solutions for small to medium sized business. In his spare time, he enjoys giving back to the community by sharing his knowledge on marketing.