Many online stores and multichannel retailers double down on their earnings for the year during the holiday season, with eCommerce at an all time high, it’s more important than ever to plan ahead and make sure your site is top of mind for consumers starting now. In this article we’ll look at key steps to take for planning this holiday season, the importance of optimizing your site for a unique customer experience and conversion rate, in preparation for your best Q in 2020.
Have an eCommerce calendar
Advertising for the holiday season is kicking in as early as September for many this year, so it’s even more important to note the important dates customers are looking to make a purchase and get ahead of them. There is a 10 week period we consider paramount for eCommerce to be top of mind with customers, important dates of 2020 include:
- Halloween – Oct 31
- Thanksgiving – Nov 26
- Black Friday – Nov 27
- Cyber Monday – Nov 30
- Green Monday – Dec 14
- Free Shipping Day – Dec 15
- Christmas Day - Dec 25
- New Year’s Eve - Dec 31
- New Year’s Day - Jan 1
Run a customer journey audit
The reason why it is important to start preparing months in advance for this coming quarter has a lot more to do with customer experience than offers. In order to be successful at staying top of mind with customers you need to look beyond the promotions into possible failures and crashes your site might experience and be prepared. Review the data and touch points from your site, look at last year’s metrics and use that to compare the state of your current site. Make sure your order fulfillment, promotion CTAs and customer service outlets are visible, easy to access and working properly for you to respond in a timely manner.
Consider giving special attention to the Mobile and Tablet traffic that is significant on your site to convert. With the likelihood of customers spending time off and with family, your RWD needs to be at its best. Same goes for your site speed and check out, the capacity of your site to load content and allow for high volume order intake is just as important in the success of completing those sales. Lastly, consider if you need to make any changes to your shipping and handling content, you may want to consider adding disclaimers with clear messaging in your shipping cut off and expected delivery time.
Optimize the full experience
Running your customer journey audit will most likely bring up performance issues that should be addressed prior to this quarter as well. UX especially, can tend to fall into the backlog of a sprint, so any items that fall under performance especially for RWD, site speed and check out, are a good idea to complete before October 31st. Content items that may seem a threat for your SEO are also a good idea to fix prior, the last thing you want to experience is going over budget on promotions that didn’t convert because customers could simply not find your page when searching for it.
If you found any errors in your marketing automation or fulfillment integration, now is the time to address them as well. Tactics such as abandoned cart recovery and early coupon sign-ups are both great to maximize conversions off your marketing campaigns, you want to make sure triggers and content set to drive those conversions forward are working properly.
Lastly, bulletproof your performance against customer frustration. Take a deep dive into the current state of customer satisfaction and determine if there are any pieces of content or customer care outlets that you need to optimize for customers in order for them to have a successful customer experience with your brand.
Get everyone on the same page
With social distancing as the new norm and many eCommerce teams working from home it is crucial that you have a game plan in place for your Marketing, Development, Sales and Customer Care teams. A good idea may be to freeze the optimized version of your site during this 10 week period, so you make sure any new features pending to roll out for your site don’t until such time as these sales have passed. However, it is very important for your development team to be on standby in case you do run into any problems and crashes on your site. Make sure you have team leads for this and there are clear communication channels for how to handle issues on the site.
You should make sure your customer care unit knows if you plan to have extended hours anytime during this period and who is responsible for what touchpoint. Same goes for Marketing and Sales, make sure that before campaigns start rolling out they have tested them fully and have worked out any bugs that could hinder conversions with your Dev Team.
Q4 is less than ideal for testing and debugging your site, avoid spending these golden hours on fixes and focus on sales by getting your site one step ahead of your customers needs.
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