For ecommerce marketers, preparing for the holidays is old hat. But, with November upon us and the unofficial start of the holiday season behind us, it’s time for some straight talk about Cyber Monday.
During the holiday season, retailers pull in 20%-40% of their entire yearly sales, and with a Cyber Monday expected to be bigger than in 2014 – thanks in part to shoppers opting to avoid the crowds and in-store stress of Black Friday – retailers can’t afford to blow the holiday season.
So how are top companies planning to optimize the experience for shoppers across digital channels this year? After all, you certainly don’t want to be that retailer with a terrible customer experience.
Working with a variety of retailers such as Rue La La and Zumiez, I’ve seen a number of trends emerge. Here are a few tips to keep in mind and help you take charge this year:
Shout Out Shipping: Consumers are looking for fast shopping as inventory goes quickly on Cyber Monday. Don’t wait until the checkout process has started to let shoppers know about any shipping offers or whether you support international orders.
One company that does this well is Gardener’s Supply Company. Headquartered in Vermont, the largest business-to-consumer garden retailer ships much of its inventory to customers across the United States and into Canada. To help international customers immediately determine whether they can receive orders – and how much it will cost, Gardener’s features a banner on its homepage with relevant shipping information. This is only displayed to international visitors – Gardener’s detects a visitor’s geography based on IP address, and serves up a personalized experience accordingly. Using personalization strategies such as this, Gardener’s has tripled conversion rates for targeted audiences.
Identify Intent: Successful retailers understand their customers – they know if they’re shopping for themselves or someone else, as well as preferred brands and price ranges. Tapping into the wealth of data available about customers isn’t anything new, but using it to support each individual shopping session is what will make the biggest difference.
Flash sale retailer Rue La La is one company that has successfully changed the game with how it responds to shopper intent. Being able to respond and react to what it knows about individual customers has enabled the company to customize everything from products shown when they log in to recommended items to reminders of credits available to spend and more.
Lead with Social and Mobile: These channels are continuing to reign supreme, with shoppers turning to social for feedback and input on specific products and deals, as well as to mobile for accessing price comparisons, checking inventory in-store, reading reviews and more. A study by IBM of more than 30,000 consumers found that close to 60% of global consumers report their friends’ social media posts influence their purchase decisions.
It’s important that retailers enable visitors to shop based on the most-purchased products of the day, those trending among other website visitors, and those most-popular on social channels. For example, consider adding a sidebar with the top three products currently being pinned or tweeted about. Also, make sure pricing details and availability are easily found on each product page. Shoppers will use their own devices more than a sales person or in-store kiosk to find these details while shopping.
There are many other considerations for retailers to keep in mind this holiday season, but come Cyber Monday, ensuring your digital house is in order will be paramount.
Meera Murthy is a Customer Success Director at Evergage,