I’ve got some good news and one bad news for you.
The bad news,first.
Amazon, the undisputed champ in the eCommerce space, will be witnessing a *record-breaking holiday season* with almost half of the online sales projected to be happening on Amazon this season. Sigh!
Sad? Don’t be.
Here’s some good news.
As a small business, you may be feeling the heat. But then, don’t you worry. We have a few cards up our sleeves that’d help you take on the giant in their own backyard.
Granted, nothing can beat Amazon’s free shipping feature, PPCs and all. But then, be assured, there are few mundane things, when done right, could help you beat your competitors right under their nose. Also, when 58% of shoppers are going to have more than a perfunctory glance at other online shops, in addition to Amazon this holiday season, there’s a golden chance for you to go big this holiday season.
Here are those 8 ways that would guarantee traction to your eCommerce website this holiday season:
#1. Streamline Processes to Make Shopping Fun
Last year, 27% of US online shoppers abandoned an order mainly because of “too long/ complicated checkout processes.
So, no matter what, streamline your checkout processes.
Now, how do you do that? Simple.
Image source: http://mytotalretail.com
Make your navigation, cart, and checkout process simple and swift. The lesser the effort a customer applies in completing the check out processes, the better the chance of him or her completing the sale.
Every step of the way you need to make sure you are simplifying and not complicating matters for the users. In fact, you should ensure, processes shouldn’t get in the way when the user is on the verge of checking out.
Tips to streamline your eCommerce process
•Swap distracting headers and footers with a progress indicator. This reassures customers that order process is moving forward.
Apple’s Progress Indicator on Mobile
•Keep contact information, such as phone number and email addresses up front. So when in need, customers could easily locate them.
•Use pre-printed labels with key information such as logo, return instructions and addresses in them. This would help you deliver orders as soon as it comes in, only the variables will be required to be added.
•Integrate data in terms of invoices, packing lists, and even shipping labels. This will eliminate data-entry errors significantly. More importantly, data related problems would be minimized.
•Leverage marketing and processing tools such as Shopify, to create an online store if you don’t have one, and also leverage 1ShoppingCart to add merchandising and payment processing services.
#2. Offer Free Shipping No Matter What
There’s no getting around the fact that free shipping is one of the finest services an eCommerce site could offer. These days’ even coupons and discounts don’t count for much.
However, several eCommerce sites are wary of offering this service, despite the fact that paid shipping, time and again, has proven to be the biggest roadblock in terms of customer conversion? According to Baymard.com, 61% of the customers abandon cart because of paid shipping.
Image source: https://baymard.com/
The upshot is that several online companies are moving toward free shipping.
The bottom line? You might as well marshal all your resources toward providing free shipping. And, more than anything else keep customers posted on the same.
Now, the question is how to do that?
Splash banner images on your homepage announcing the Free Shipping offer. If not that, you could also come up with pop-ups and social media ads announcing the same.
Sure, it won’t be easy to take on the likes of Amazon in terms of same-day shipping or next day shipping. So, what you can do is: just play to your strengths. In other words, go the Zappos way and do so something out-of-the-ordinary such as free 30 days return or something along similar lines.
Think. Think. Think. How could you create an exceptional web experience for your shoppers this holiday season? Or, you could take help of top eCommerce development companies who could help you set up powerful eCommerce solutions for offering premium holiday shopping experience to customers.
Tips to consider for free shipping
•Set a minimum order amount. Say $50 dollars or something
•Offer free shipping on just select goods.
•Offer limited-time free shipping service
•Opt for low-cost shipping options such as USPS Parcel Post which can prove to be cheaper than some shipments.
•Promote your free shipping policy on Facebook and also inform through emails
#3. Easy Returns at the Drop of a Hat
For once, you shouldn’t go the Amazon way when it comes to returns. Yes, Amazon doesn’t hold high benchmarks in terms of returns. So you’d be free to pitch your tent without much competition in this department. Offering easy returns facility will ensure stress-free buying.
Image source: https://www.business2community.com/
Tips to consider for easy returns
• Make your return policy is easier to find on your website
• Don’t hide anything. If the customer has to pay for the return, say it loud and clear.
• In case of a damaged item, replace the item or offer a full refund.
• Set timeline for return – 30, 60 or 90 days
• Clarify whether the customer will get a cash return or store credit
• Ensure your staff is updated on your return policy
• Use easy to understand English
#4. Optimize YouTube Videos
All roads will lead to web and videos this holiday season. According to thinkwithgoogle, gift guides are making waves on YouTube. And, nearly, 70% of these videos are being watched on mobile.
Still not sure, whether videos could really convince shoppers to buy products from you? Okay. Just check out these stats that show the percentage of shoppers who turn to videos before deciding what they want to buy.
Image source: thinkwithgoogle.com
Tips for Video Optimization
•Rope in a micro-influencer to speak for your products
•Keep the video under 2 minutes, if you are doing it for the first time
•Release as many customer testimonial videos as possible
#5. Don’t tell, Show Them You Care
Don’t you think your patron customers deserve special treatment during the holiday season? You bet! So make sure to take some covert actions such as special gift-wrapping service and things like that. Your efforts won’t go unsung, be assured. Such little acts of gratitude are sure to pull at users heart-strings inspiring them to come to you for more in the future. Even senior and first-time customers should be given special treatment if you want them to hang on to your website for a longer time, if not for a lifetime.
Tips on how to show your customers that you care
• Offer gift-wrapping service for free
• Offer complementary products. Say, with makeup kit you could add branded moisture or things like that.
• Offer limited-edition merchandise which will make your product stand out from a sea of discounted products.
#6. Build Emotional Connect with Existing Customers
Running after new shoppers is absolutely a nonsensical strategy. Rather you should be moving heaven and earth to keep the existing customers happy. And, by the way, that’s the best way to build brand loyalty and LTV. And there are several ways to do that, for one, build emotional connections with your customers. This will make sure that customer stays with you and won’t yield to the alluring offers of your competitors. Plus, they should be happy to adopt your app, website or in-store, without much ado.
Tips to build emotional connect with existing customers
• Offer product and services that solve problems
• Be genuine in your approach and try and establish authentic relationship
• Give individual attention to customers, especially on social media
• Listen to their concerns carefully and answer them satisfactorily
• Use both your ears. Listen to them. Use their lingo while answering them
#7. Nail Down your Niche
Amazon’s business strategy is super broad. It has everything that an online customer is looking for. Nope, you don’t have to go the Amazon way. Choose your niche and be super focussed on a few things. As the author Michael Porter says in his book “What Is Strategy,” the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. With holidays around the corner, it’s better now than ever, to roll up your sleeves and dig your niche that suits you. This is will help you design your marketing campaigns better.
Tips to nail down your niche
• Create email marketing campaigns focussing on your niche
• Optimize web pages and more based on your niche.
#8. Offer Outstanding Customer Service
As it turns out, most of the eCommerce owners fail at this end miserably. Offering personalized, one-on-one service seems a bit too much for them.
But then, in no time, you’d be losing out on your loyal customers and first-time customers, if you don’t take customer services seriously.
One of the major reasons why customers switch over to competitor sites is bad customer service.
So, no matter what, go over and beyond while serving your customers this holiday season. If you think, you need a couple of hands more to serve your customers better go on and hire temporary staff on an incentive basis. You can even rope in part-timers and offer round-the-clock customer care services. No excuses! No bullshit! Customer service should always be on the top of your mind during the holiday season.
Tips to better your customer service
• Know what troubles the customers and come up with solutions beforehand
• Be Friendly. Customers can read your state of mind, be it through emails or telephone calls
• Train the entire staff and not just the customer care people to treat customers with respect
• Listen, Listen, Listen
• Be quick in responding to inquiries. Simply saying *we’d get back to you on this ASAP* is a good enough response and would leave them satisfied.
• Review feedback regularly to identify the areas of improvement
There you have it! 8 Guaranteed ways to attract customers to your eCommerce doorstep despite threats of heavyweights dangling right over your URL head. So make sure, you implement a couple of them, if not all if you really wanna end this year on a high note. Most importantly, optimize for Google micro-moments. In fact, I take it from you that you have already optimized for the same. Godspeed.