Tips for Driving Ecommerce Holiday Profitability: Part 2

Driving Ecommerce Holiday

As children go back to school and the summer days quickly turn into fall, ecommerce retailers continue to prepare for the busiest time of the year.   We gave you some holiday preparation tips in our last blog post; here are some additional ways in which you can ready yourself for holiday 2013!

Multichannel approach for additional reach and branding:

  • Are you selling only on your own website or do you support sales through multiple channels including marketplaces like Ebay, Amazon and Rakuten?   Does your inventory and order management software allow you to consolidate orders from these multiple channels in order to understand real time demand and support optimized delivery of your inventory?
  • By leveraging multiple channels for selling, you may be able to increase visibility of your brand.  If you are working with an outsourced fulfillment provider, make sure they are able to handle orders from all of your ecommerce channels and can fulfill those orders in a way that helps you to increase both speed of delivery to your customers as well as decrease shipping costs for you by using multiple warehouse locations.

Understand your consumer demographics to drive relevant promotions:

  • Do you have a clear understanding of your consumer?   Are they millennials or baby boomers?   Urban or rural shoppers?  Different consumer groups have different expectations of how they interact with retailers and what kind of offers will drive the most appeal.  While the majority of consumers expect free shipping offers to some degree, they may not all expect offers via Twitter.
  • Having an  understanding of the type of consumer that you cater to can help  you craft the holiday offers that will appeal to your most profitable spenders as well as to increase their chances of coming back to shop with you in 2014.

Don’t discount social media as a way to drive sales & customer loyalty:

  • Not only is mobile becoming increasingly important in online holiday traffic, but social networking is another way to engage with consumers during the holiday season to drive engagement and sales.
  • According to the 2103 UPS Pulse of the Shopper study, 84% of those surveyed uses at least one social media site, Facebook being the most popular among them.  Many of those Facebook users have “liked” a brand in order to receive a promotion or an incentive from the retailer and 86% of those who “like” a brand pay attention to their updates.
  • Consider how you can use social media as an additional driver of sales when coming up with various holiday marketing plans and promotions.

Delivery expectations:

  • Consumers have become increasingly conditioned to expect more for less.  Faster shipping for less cost.  But research shows that as long as you are being transparent with expected delivery dates and shipping options, consumers will choose what works best for their timeframe and budget.  For example, according to research from Boston Consulting Group, a very niche group of wealthy urban millennials are most likely to want and pay for options like same-day delivery.    If that is a large part of your consumer demographic, then it may be worth investigating how to provide such a service, but the majority of consumers simply want their expectations met based on the information you provide them.
  • The UPS survey found that several factors are important options to consumers at online checkout before they have entered all their information.  Most important are free shipping options (76%), while 53% want estimated delivery date and shipping costs offered to them.  This allows consumers to decide the speed of delivery that they are willing to pay for.   Just make sure that their order is delivered on or before the estimated delivery date so you don’t lose business.  Nothing is worse for your reputation than buying a holiday gift and not getting it when expected!
  • Tracking is also something that is expected by most.
  • If you have a loyalty program, understand what kind of special offers you could offer premium customers such as upgraded shipping at no cost.

Engaging with your consumers in a number of different ways, being transparent with them about your various promotions and holiday specials and under promise and over delivering is always a good rule of thumb in order to have a seamless holiday season!