Ecommerce Holiday Sales Checklist For Pandemic Season

October 19, 2020 Written By Hemant Parmar

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Here come the holidays of 2020 but they are unlike any other holiday season we have seen in the past. Thus, people are wondering how this year’s holiday season will look like. Many eCommerce brands and companies have been blooming in this pandemic stricken world. On the other hand, many companies shut down their business operations temporarily.

Other service-based companies like Yoga Classes and gym training were conducted on online platforms, while travel and hospitality remain the worst affected ones due to the spread of COVID-19. But shopping for necessary items like grocery and food takeout had shown tremendous growth.

And now as the holiday season is nearing in this unprecedented year, retailers and consumers both know that traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping aren’t an option now. One survey by Bazaarvoice on 6200 brands & retailers suggests 85% of the respondents think that online sales will rise for this holiday season compared to last year’s. And 55% of the surveyed retailers are investing in upgrading their eCommerce websites for this year’s holidays.

With more focus on eCommerce shopping, sales are likely to increase in the last quarter of the year. eTailers are leaving no stone unturned because Ecommerce sales cover the major chunk of their annual revenue. But how to prepare for your Ecommerce store for this much anticipated holiday season? Well, our holiday sales checklist is a great place to start.

Ecommerce Holiday Sales Checklist:

With the changing habits of consumers, businesses still expect a boom in sales and want to prepare their store to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers to keep them loyal to their brand. Thus, we have prepared a checklist to ensure that there is nothing left unchecked for increasing sales during this holiday season without getting affected by Pandemic.

1. Elevate the User Experience of customers:

One way to do so is personalizing the shopping experience of customers. This is something every online shopper craves for and can’t get in brick mortar shops. And for the same, you need to have a top-notch infrastructure, leading uptime capabilities, and implementing platform & third party upgrades.

The first thing you need to do is to evaluate your store’s overall experience and make the necessary website design changes to bring your brand to life for providing a personalized shopping experience. Personalizing the shopping experience means cross-sell and up-sell products based on past shopping behaviour and complement the customers’ current sales as well.

Your eCommerce store will likely experience a surge in traffic, thus test your infrastructure if it is capable to handle such a surge. Also, another factor that could affect the user experience is page load speed. Ensure that it is kept under 2 to 3 sec. Use tools like PageSpeed Insights to find problems & solutions for page speed so that you can achieve a 100/100 score. Check & upgrade the version of your eCommerce platform as well.

2. Form a Merchandising Strategy:

If you don’t have a functional merchandising strategy, then you are risking to lose many sales during this holiday season. Plan out a robust merchandising strategy that captures customers’ attention immediately when they land on your store.

One way to approach that is by showcasing holiday-specific products or bundle of products that your target audience wants and display them under a holiday special category for easy navigation from your homepage. Fine-tune your on-site search with tools like autocomplete search to present accurate products that help customers find what they want. Doing so will help you provide a frictionless shopping experience to holiday shoppers.

Also, simplify your checkout page as per your users’ preference. One page checkout Vs multi-page checkout is an endless debate. While one-page checkout is for the younger and more tech-savvy generation, multi-page checkout works best with everyone. Choose the one that will be more convenient for your users.

3. Expand Sales with Other Channels:

Ecommerce websites aren’t the only place where consumers are actively looking for holiday specials. Expand your business on other channels like marketplaces, social commerce networks, brick & mortar shops, etc. Treat them the way you would treat your website to make the shopping experience as smooth as possible for customers.

For brick & mortar shops, you can offer to buy online & pick up in-store option (BOPIS). This is a great option for customers who search and browse products online but prefer to pick it up from your physical store on the same or next day. Also, due to the pandemic, the BOPIS has seen a 195% year-on-year increase.

4. Determine and Automate your Shipping & Fulfillment:

The holiday season is that time of the year when retailers can earn up to 4 times more revenue compared to the rest of the year. The traffic will rise and with that, the number of orders will also rise, and to handle that order surge you need to determine & automate your shipping processes.

You can go for in-house shipping & fulfilment with the help of tools to measure accurate shipping charges. This method is best but can be overwhelming for some after orders cross the limit they can handle or they can simply outsource the whole thing to third-parties. The later will enable you to offer bulk shipping discounts, advanced tracking methods, faster delivery, and frees you from this aspect of your business so that you can focus on other important aspects.

5. Make Goals & KPIs for Upcoming Holidays:

Numbers say nothing until you measure them against your goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They help you understand the overall performance of your eCommerce store during the holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. KPIs such as sales, average order value, conversion rate, traffic, cart abandonment rate, and others need to be taken into account.

These KPIs help you measure the success of your eCommerce store as defined in your business goals. You can use last year’s campaign data to evaluate and set your holiday-specific goals and KPIs accordingly.

6. Ramp up Your Customer Service & Support:

Providing support is an essential part of your eCommerce business & customers as well. Customer service and support is often the overlooked part of any online business and it has the potential to make or break your path to success.

Customers now need instant support and answers to their queries in a quick possible way. Most of the brands use social networks like Twitter or Instagram for providing quick customer service and support 24/7. Allowing customers to reach out to your social handles not only provides frictionless support but also makes it more streamlined, rapid, and effective, which your customers will love and appreciate.

Final Thoughts

The holiday season of 2020 has become the most sought after thing by businesses as well as consumers. Consumers are looking to end the year on a positive note by buying gifts for themselves or sending them to their loved ones. And retailers are looking to start a new year on a good note by making up the lost revenue.

And preparing the whole store specifically for that time of the year when the traffic and conversion and the number of orders are usually too high is no simple task. Thus, we prepared a checklist that covers almost all things exception general points like making return policy clear, ramping up inventory, and others which are the basic things to start with.

If you still need a helping hand, then consult our Ecommerce experts for robust advice and solutions to kick start your holiday season for the highest sales and conversion ever.

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