3 Ways eCommerce Merchants Can Prepare for the Holiday Influx

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It seems that the holiday shopping season keeps happening earlier. Black Friday has gone from a one-day event to a week-long span. This tactic started last year to counter inventory and supply chain issues, with brands like Walmart beginning to offer these discounts in early November. Amazon recently announced a second Prime Day in October, dubbing it the “pre-Black Friday” online shopping event. Other eCommerce retailers, such as Target and Overstock.com, are stepping up to compete.

Most of these sale events are historically “online only” deals, driving high-volume traffic to eCommerce sites, leaving merchandisers to plug any holes in the boat as early as possible. But thanks to technology, it’s easy to handle these gift guides already hitting inboxes.

Below are three tips to prepare eCommerce merchandisers for the end-of-year holiday traffic.

Follow Through on Marketing

Brands are putting more effort into competing for consumers during holidays and all year, so consistently following through on marketing is essential.

Outside of your typical advertising, like banners and pop-ups, there are essential tools in social media, SMS, and email marketing. A recent Digiday article claimed that social commerce will grow from 10% of all commerce activity today to 17% by 2025. With more than two billion buyers on social media platforms, using tools like visual search in your holiday marketing can take your brand’s posts directly from inspiration to sales.

Another great strategy is integrating Klaviyo and Attentive to create highly personalized email and SMS marketing campaigns. Engaging customers in upcoming deals on items they are interested in increases your conversion chances.

Move Your Merchandise

With high volume comes the potential for a considerable inventory shift, which can cause chaos if left unhandled. Merchandisers can rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to help move merchandise faster than usual.

Bolstering your merchandising with AI can keep high stock or high conversion items at the forefront of your store. It can also allow the merchandiser to set rules for those days and avoid additional stress. Filtering can also allow merchants to promote high-inventory products or hide certain products they are not focused on during this period.

Personalize the Customer Experience

Consumers expect a tailored experience. Using personalization tools can take the customer experience from average to excellent. A great way to do this is machine learning which matches the right content and products with the right shoppers, allowing each buyer to have a unique journey, even anonymously. With more than 60% of Black Friday purchases being deemed “impulse buys,” the goal is to direct shoppers precisely to the products they’re interested in buying or might be based on their behavior. Suggestion features such as “Related Products” or “Complete The Look” are also great; suggesting similar products relevant to the customers’ interests and intent can boost average order value through cross-selling and upselling.

With $8.9b spent on Black Friday last year and sales happening earlier than ever, merchants hoping to see a portion of that must go above and beyond to meet consumers’ needs. Managing customer expectations during the busiest time of year can set the stage for future success. Using this advice and technology tools, merchants can boost products and breeze through the holiday season.

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