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  • Ecommerce Holiday Planning and Tips

    8 Things to do Right Now to Prepare for The Holiday Ecommerce Shopping Season It’s never too early to begin preparation for the online retail bonanza now. In fact, the earlier you start preparations, the better, as you will have ample time to test, implement and iterate what’s working. To truly position your eCommerce business for the holiday shopping windfall you must think ahead. The thing is, the holiday season has become an increasingly important sales window for retailers to balance their book and end the year on high. The recent report from the National Retail Federation is sure to make you appreciate just how vital the holiday shopping season is and the magnitude of the impact on revenue growth for e-tailers. According to the federation, over 30 percent of annual retail sales are generated in the last six weeks of the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shoppers spent $123.90 billion shopping online during the last holiday season, a 16.7 percent increase from 2017’s figures. Interestingly, Cyber Monday overtook Thanksgiving and Black Friday as the heaviest online spending day in history with a $7.87 billion in sales; while Thanksgiving and Black Friday pulled in $3.7 billion and $6.2 billion respectively. And, the trend is reasonably expected to continue into 2019, considering that most retailers are beginning to spread their promotions over a wider period giving shoppers even more days to hunt for deals. So, how can you get your eCommerce store ready for the big shopping weekend? Here’s our top 8 best checklist to help you prepare for the holiday eCommerce shopping season: 1. Dig into historical industry data As part of your planning for the holiday eCommerce shopping season, be sure to spend some time going over the important industry trend for the previous year’s sales cycle. Combine the insights from the broader industry trend with your internal data to gain a 360-degree view of overlooked areas you might need to pay closer attention to going into the new holiday shopping season. With these data at hand, you can confidently begin to plan your sales and promotion campaigns. We usually recommend that you have everything – marketing material, ads, landing pages, content – queued up and ready to go before October 31. Creating a marketing calendar beforehand helps you track the progress of each task that needs to be done before the October deadline. So, you can confidently focus on selling and serving your customers as the big day arrives. 2. Optimize your store for user experience Imagine this, you have done all the planning and hard lifting to send traffic to your eCommerce store. Streams and streams of users are visiting your website. But they are not converting. As you know, that’s a retailer’s worst nightmare. So, how do you make you every user that lands on your website complete the checkout process? First, you may want to make sure the shopping experience is as frictionless as possible by ensuring users can quickly discover products on the website. In fact, the rule of thumb is to make the product page simple. Eliminate anything that would distract or confuse buyers on the page. Also, where it makes sense, implement a one-click checkout process to reduce the number of clicks a user has to go through before paying for an item. 3. Test load speed and server’s ability to handle a massive spike in traffic Your site’s load time is absolutely crucial to how well visitors convert. According to Kissmetrics, 40 percent of users will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So, you may want to test site load speed beforehand the holiday shopping season starts. Use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to understand how fast your site loads. There are also suggestions of possible things you can do to improve your website’s load time. You may also want to know whether the server on which your eCommerce store is hosted can handle the expected huge traffic spike. You don’t want a case where the website crashes right in the middle of a busy shopping season. Hence, think of upgrading to a higher plan with capacity to handle surges or move to a new server as the case may be. 4. Optimize for mobile users Fact is, almost half of the visits to your store is going to come from mobile users. So, while you make plans to conduct a sitewide optimization, be sure that mobile users also have a seamless experience shopping from their smartphones. 5. How ready are your customer support processes? Be sure you’re going get an incredibly large volume of calls and inquiries from customers. You must be prepared even for the worst-case scenario. So, you may want to factor in whether your current customer support will be able to handle a significant increase in customer inquiries. Do you need to hire an extra pair of hands for the shopping season or get every employee to come in? 6. Optimize your shipping process to handle the enormous demand How are you going to get the buyer’s order delivered to them in time before the holidays? Though it is likely, you are not directly involved with handling order fulfilment and shipping. However, you may still want to find out the potential shipping cut off time for delivery before the holidays and effectively communicate that to your customers. Consider working with your distribution partners to work out convenient cut off time to get the orders in for it to be delivered in time. And be sure to make the shipping terms clear, this way, your customers can know when to expect their orders to arrive. 7. Ramp up email marketing in the build-up to the holiday sales Email marketing is a valuable arsenal in your toolkit to get customers excited before the big rush. Be sure that the initial messages to your list are not overly salesy, focus more on sending out valuable emails first. Gradually build up anticipation for your products, then as the date draws near ramp up your efforts. To maximize results from your emails, you may want to stage your email offers 4 to 6 weeks out. Also, segment and personalize your offer to increase relevance. Consider including coupon codes and discounts for shipping as incentives to get customers to pull out their wallets. 8. Set up metrics to measure the success of your campaign At the end of the holiday shopping season, you want to look back at the data and see what you did right and things to improve on. The common metrics for most retailers is to look at the number of sales and how many people they were able to pull through the door. However, take it a step further by tracking how many of these new customers became repeat buyers. Finally, remember to succeed with your holiday eCommerce shopping campaign you must: plan ahead of time, leverage the power of email marketing to get your customers excited about your offers. And ensure your website is easy to navigate and can withstand surges in traffic without crashing. Want to improve your eCommerce conversion rates during the holidays? Contact us today and see how we can help you make small changes that make a big impact.

  • What is Ecommerce?

    You’re on this page because: One, you’re researching different online businesses to start. Two, you want to deepen your understanding of what eCommerce means. Third, you want to familiarize yourself with the term. No matter why you are here, one thing is sure; you want to learn about the ins and outs of the industry. Thankfully, that’s what this piece is for – to let you into everything you need to know about e-commerce. What is Ecommerce? The meaning of eCommerce can be pieced together from its name — e for electronics and commerce for activities that involve buying and selling. So, E-commerce is any transaction that takes place over an electronic medium, usually on the internet. Interestingly, e-commerce covers a wide range of businesses. From retail, through to digital platforms, to auction sites, and websites focused on B2B transactions. Ecommerce enables you to have a global reach. To sell or buy without a time limit – you can log in online at any time to conduct a transaction with someone on the other side of the globe. Care should be taken though, not to confuse e-commerce with e-business. While the former refers to buying and selling services and products over the internet; the latter refers to the full spectrum of operating a business on the internet. Ecommerce had grown rapidly since the first successful transaction in 1994 when a young man sold a CD to his friend through his website NetMarket – this transaction indeed marked the beginning of conducting transactions over the internet. Since then, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds. According to the online data website, Statista e-commerce is expected to hit the $4.135 trillion mark that’s only for the retail sector. Types of Ecommerce Ecommerce is categorized based on the kind of clients the business focuses on and the business model it adopts. Depending on buyer type, an e-commerce business can be: Business-to-Business – Here, e-commerce focuses on other companies. An excellent example of a B2B e-commerce business is a Chinese website Alipress.com which focuses on selling to businesses. Another perfect example is a construction material company selling their products to Architects and home designers through their website. Business-to-Consumer – These are businesses that sell directly to consumers. B2C companies are prevalent, and usually the website you’d go to when shopping online. An excellent example of B2C e-commerce is Amazon. Consumer-to-Business – This is an e-commerce platform that enables consumers to offer their services and products to businesses. Freelance marketplaces fall into this category. Consumer-to-Consumer – A business that facilitates peer-to-peer buying and selling. Think of the eBays of the world. Other types of e-commerce you could find in this category include Government-to-Consumer, Consumer-to-Government, and Business-to-Employer. Business model-based types of e-commerce Now, depending on its financial and business model, an e-business can be classified as: Affiliate eCommerce – You’re not selling any product or services directly; instead, you direct the buyer to another website where they finally pay for the product. Commission junction, WarriorPlus are few examples of affiliate-based e-commerce. Membership – In this business model, what you’re selling is membership into exclusive groups where members receive high-impact information or products you can’t get anywhere else. Dropshipping – is an e-commerce model where you don’t owe any inventory. The buyer purchases a product from a site and a third-party business fulfills the order. Online shop with its products – this is the most widely recognized model. It’s probably the one you thought of when you read e-commerce. Online shops have the same characteristics as a physical store; only that, this time, it is online. Marketplace – Another widely recognizable form of e-commerce model; Amazon fits right in with this model. A marketplace creates a platform for different sellers to offer their products and services on the website. Buyers can browse through different products offered by several sellers before completing a purchase on the platform. Want to improve your eCommerce conversion rates? Contact us today and see how we can help you make small changes that make a big impact.

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