What does this mean for companies with an online store component? It means that somebody's online store is going to be raking in their share of that $10 billion dollars and you want to do your best to make sure it is yours. In this post, learn what steps to start taking now to be sure your online store is up and running and ready for holiday shoppers.
Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
More than half of all retail shoppers start their online shopping browsing from small screen smart devices and 23 percent finish their purchasing from that same small screen device. If your ecommerce site does not operate well when viewed on small screens, you can be sure customers won't go back later when they get home to their laptops.
As well, Google's newest algorithms actively favour mobile-friendly sites, ranking these higher in search engine results than their old school counterparts.
Work Towards Guaranteed Up-Time
Many online marketers have found out the hardest way possible that their online store site couldn't handle a sudden influx of traffic. Once you've had this experience, you won't want to have it again.
If you are new to the ecommerce marketplace, however, you want to know in advance that your site can handle it if 10 or 10,000 shoppers suddenly decide now is the time to buy from you. Be sure your hosting provider has the bandwidth to guarantee you up-time during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Start Your Marketing Engines
Is it too early to start your holiday marketing engines? According to recent retail research, right now is prime time to start marketing towards holiday shoppers. This is particularly true if your company works in the "department and variety stores" industry, as 34 percent of Australians report they do most of their shopping in this category online!
Let's Talk Price
If there is one season of the year when shoppers are poised to price-compare, it is the holiday season. And don't assume your prospects won't go international to get the lowest price. So long as the total cart price is under AU $1,000, customs fees do not apply.
So not only do you want to be sure your pricing is competitive for what you are offering, but you want to work to bundle appropriate items together in special deals to help shoppers feel like they are getting the most for their money by shopping with you.
There are two words nearly guaranteed to make even the most indecisive shopper hesitate to abandon their online cart - "free shipping." If you offer it, your customers will want it. This is not to say that if you can't afford to offer free shipping that you won't make any money this holiday season.
But if you can swing some wiggle room on profit margins - enough to issue a free shipping code for, say, purchases over a certain dollar amount - you will be doing your store sales a favour.
Plan Towards Building Relationships
With the advent of social media, relationships went real-time nearly overnight. So the interactions you have with prospects and customers today will have their own real-time ripple effect - including whether or not happy customers share their experiences of your store with their own networks...or whether unhappy customers do the same.
In summary, this holiday season brings with it more than just good cheer - it brings the opportunity for big profits for online store owners who are ready and waiting well before they hear first knock on their virtual door.
About the Author
David Rose is a Social Media Manager at Woocom, a dynamic, full service multi-channel web marketing agency specialising in every aspect of web marketing from content management systems through to social media and custom application development, based in Perth, Western Australia.