Consumers spent approximately $122 billion with online retailers during the 2018 holiday shopping season.
If you’re an ecommerce business, this probably sounds great! However, if you’re an ecommerce business that hasn’t optimized your marketing strategy in a while, take this as a warning sign. Quarter four (Q4) is a great time to be an ecommerce business with multiple major holidays and shopping holidays in quick succession, but you could run into major problems if your website isn’t optimized to sell.
With only a few weeks left until we are deep in the throes of the holiday season, many consumers are already eager to begin crossing products off their gift idea checklist. What does this mean for ecommerce businesses? The time to step up your conversion rate optimization (CRO) is now – well before the holidays have officially arrived.
Of course increasing your web traffic is important, but the real key is to focus your attention towards increasing the conversion rate of your web traffic. To help you get started, we compiled 6 tried-and-true tips for optimizing your ecommerce conversion rates this holiday season.
Integrate Live Chat
Customer service is just as important from the comfort of your home as it is in person. The heart of ecommerce conversion rates is not letting customers leave your page, and integrating live chat functionality is a great way to avoid customer discouragement and webpage abandonment. Holiday shoppers are likely to have questions related to specific products or sales, and making someone available during their shopping experience – whether a human representative or an automated chatbot – will help to reduce uncertainty so your customer feels confident making a purchase.
Appeal to Wavering Shoppers
All consumers shop at different paces, especially early on in the holiday season. Some take their time, weighing costs and comparing products, while others want to check every item off their shopping list as quickly as possible. The quick deciders can usually be swayed by a beautiful website and easy checkout, but it’s those wavering shoppers who could really make the difference between good profits and great profits if you are able to win them over.
How do you nudge them to buy? Make saving easy. There are a number of strategies you can use to present special offers to fickle shoppers, such as:
- Creating an abandoned cart email campaign with a prepopulated discount code link
- Integrating a horizontal banner at the top of your website for active sale announcements
- A pop-up coupon that appears when a user is on a specific webpage for a set period of time
If a potential customer is on the fence, finding creative ways to present an opportunity to save could be the element that leads them to convert.
Create a Sense of Urgency
There’s nothing that can prompt an online purchase quite like the fear of missing out on a great deal. Retailers have mastered this technique by implementing a figurative (or in some cases, literal) ticking clock on sales, forcing customers to watch their opportunity to save money slip by second by second. It feels threatening – and at its core, it is – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Many shoppers will go out of their way for a great deal during the costly holiday season even if that means making a quicker purchase decision than they would normally. Utilize time-sensitive phrasing like “limited time”, “last call” and “final hours” to create that “ticking clock” feeling of urgency in your customers to nudge them towards that checkout page.
Ship For Free
Nothing speaks to consumers quite like one four-letter word: FREE.
In fact, 79% of consumers said they would be more likely to purchase from an online retailer if free shipping was available. Of course, the easiest way to incorporate that magic word into your holiday sales strategy is to ship every order for free, but that probably isn’t the most financially sound option for most businesses. Instead, consider integrating some of these freebie offers into your sales cycle to increase your Q4 conversions:
1) Free shipping on all orders for one day only. This will appeal to customers with products already in their cart who need that extra push to pull the trigger on their purchase.
2) Free shipping on purchases over a certain dollar amount. Whether it’s $30, $50, $100 or more – you would be surprised how many customers will add extra products to their order just to hit that free shipping threshold!
3) Free shipping with the purchase of a specific product. If you’re trying to move inventory, this is a great way to clear out your slow-moving stock. That promise of “free” can make a shirt that customer had no intention of buying before seem like a must-have.
What makes humans tick? Think about your own experiences as a consumer: what calls you to action and pushes you towards making a purchase? Through each and every phase of the customer journey lies dozens of subtle psychological tactics designed to guide shoppers down the sales funnel in as little time as possible. The language, photos and even colors you choose all take into a customer’s psyche, and simply changing the color of an Add To Cart button from black to green (the color signaling “go”) can increase your conversions. Experiment with a variety of psychological tactics this holiday season to determine which ones are the most effective with your unique customer base.
Enhance Your Email Marketing
Did you know links from emails generate more ecommerce conversions than any other marketing resource? There are a few key reasons for this:
1) They’re singularly focused. Websites containing dozens if not hundreds of products require a time commitment to sift through multiple pages before making a decision. Ecommerce sales emails, on the other hand, help to direct their subscribers’ focus by drawing their attention to a specific type of product using one call-to-action.
2) They’re repetitive. With 8.1 billion emails sent during the holiday season, a one-off email is likely to get lost in a hectic inbox. Sending multiple emails about a sale can help to catch your customer’s eye if they missed your initial email, or remind hem to make a purchase before that promotion has ended.
Like all elements of a holiday marketing campaign, the key to converting is to craft your emails strategically. Check out our ultimate holiday email campaign checklist to help get you started if you haven’t hit the ground running on this already.
Santa’s reindeer aren’t the only things coming in hot this year – your customers are, as well. It’s no secret that ecommerce retail is extremely competitive around Q4, and ecommerce conversion rate optimization will be more important than ever as we quickly approach the holiday season. Working with a digital marketing agency to create a concrete strategy will help your business stand out, boost conversions and solidify sales so you can end your year strong.
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