The holidays are here, which means sellers are promoting their holiday sales and customers are eagerly waiting for their orders to arrive. With so much going on during the holidays, eCommerce sellers are more likely than ever to make mistakes.
Fortunately, this article has everything you need to avoid costly mistakes this holiday shopping season.
Plan Early to Avoid eCommerce Holiday Mistakes
In the United States, the holiday shopping season traditionally begins on Black Friday, but in reality, retailers start promoting the holiday season well in advance of the actual holidays. In fact, last year the majority of U.S. buyers reportedly started their Christmas gift shopping before December,
What does that mean for eCommerce sellers? It means you have to start planning for the holiday shopping season with early promotion of online offers prior to the last quarter of the year.
It also means you only have a short time left to capitalize on the nearly 40 billion dollars Americans are estimated to spend this holiday shopping season. With little time left until New Year, the last thing you want to do is fall victim to a mistake that can cost your business its holiday revenue.
6 Things eCommerce Businesses Get Wrong During the Holidays
You’re reading this, so it’s safe to assume you survived Cyber Week, i.e. the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. But your work’s not over just because you made through Black Friday. You still have to watch out for these holiday mistakes that merchants make leading up to the New Year.
- Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead
We’ve already emphasized how important it is for merchants to plan ahead for the holiday shopping season. But what exactly are you planning for? As the final quarter of the year is typically the busiest retail shopping period, it’s best practice for retailers and eCommerce sellers to plan for an influx in:
- Customer Service Requests
- Expedited Shipping Requests
- Website Traffic
- Inventory Shortages
- Cyber Breach Risks
- Staff and Team Member Absences
- Shipping Delays
- Don’t Assume Your Website is Ready
Hands down, the most costly mistake an online merchant can make during the holiday season is to assume that their website can handle the addition traffic from holiday shoppers. To avoid a crash (and the subsequent loss in sales) you have to ensure your website can handle the additional strain on its resources.
You can do this with regular load testing to determine how your website will react under anticipated peak load conditions. Regular load testing will also help you determine which elements need to be replaced to handle the additional traffic.
You can also improve conversions and decrease cart abandonment by removing unnecessary form fields; optimizing for a better mobile experience, and encouraging customers to trust in your website by showcasing your security efforts.
- Don’t Neglect Marketing and Promotions
If you’re not marketing to your core demographic during the holiday shopping season, you can bet your competitors are. By promoting seasonal holiday promotions and running eCommerce holiday ads, you not only maximize your holiday site traffic, you generate greater customer loyalty.
Things like email marketing and social media are critical to getting customers through the virtual door. Consider offering social media promotions as an incentive for customers to share your website with their social circles. You can also build a sense of exclusivity and encourage customer loyalty by offering an exclusive discount or presale code for email subscribers.
- Don’t Run Out of Packing Materials
Your website is secure and you’ve ordered enough inventory. Now you need to make sure you order enough packing materials to pack and ship out all of those extra packages. You don’t want to wade hip deep into the holiday shipping blitz only to hear one of your inventory pickers say “we’re out of boxes.”
If you estimate that you’re going to ship 10,000 orders during the holiday rush, you are going to need a minimum of 10,000 boxes or bags, 10,000 labels, and the appropriate amount of tape, bubble wrap, and packing materials.
- Be Sure to Order Enough Inventory
Though it’s never a good idea to overstock inventory, running out of inventory during the holiday shopping season is a worst case scenario for online merchants. Stockouts not only affect your sales, they ruin your brand image and tarnish your reputation with your customers.
If a retailer or online merchant can’t provide a customer with the items they want, they will simply get it elsewhere. This is called “The Amazon Effect” and it accounts for more than $1.75 Trillion in worldwide revenue losses each year.
The best thing any merchant can do to avoid stockouts is to closely monitor inventory levels throughout the season, and work with a third-party logistics provider who offers inventory management.
- Don’t Wait too Long to Outsource Holiday Warehousing and Fulfillment
The holiday shopping season is hectic for just about every merchant, but especially for online retailers tasked with shipping their goods to customers. With so many orders coming in and packages going out, Iit can be especially challenging to handle peak season order fulfillment on your own
That’s why best practice dictates outsourcing fulfillment to an experienced third party logistics provider (3PL) like Flowspace. You can avoid all of these holiday eCommerce shipping mistakes by outsourcing warehousing and fulfillment to Flowspace.
With over 1000 warehouses and fulfillment centers nationwide, Flowspace is the solution for eCommerce businesses and merchants looking to gain a strategic advantage this holiday season. Get started today!