eCommerce Expert Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching. With less than 2 months until the official holiday sales kickoff, is your online storefront ready? We spoke with some of our favorite partners within the ecommerce space to get their most helpful tips and ideas on how to make the most out of your Q4 selling strategy. You’ll hear from platforms and technologies such as BigCommerce, eSSENTIAL Accessibility, Bold Commerce, and more.

Whether you are a physical retail store with an ecommerce presence, or solely selling through an online storefront, there is no doubt that your digital presence will play a huge role in your sales, promotional, and awareness strategies. This year comes with a new set of challenges and opportunities, as more users than ever before are heading to their digital devices to do their holiday shopping.

eMarketer (opens in a new tab) reports, “we forecast that total US holiday retail sales in 2021 will rise 2.7% to $1.093 trillion, while the season’s ecommerce sales will rise 11.3% to $206.88 billion. Ecommerce will account for a record 18.9% of total holiday season retail sales.”

With that in mind, how are you planning to stand out from the competition and increase customer conversion this holiday season?

  1. Increase AOV through Upsell and Cross-selling
  2. Support Those Last-Minute Shoppers
  3. User-Friendly Checkout Options
  4. Make Your Site Accessible for All Users

Increase AOV through Upsell and Cross-selling

Our partner, Bold Commerce, has some specific recommendations around how to increase your customer’s average order value (AOV) heading into Black Friday Cyber Monday week (BFCM). Shannon Griffiths, Senior Partner Marketing Manager at Bold Commerce shares, “two quick techniques that you can apply to your store today: upselling and cross-selling.”

  • Upselling – a customer is about to checkout on a bag of coffee beans. Suddenly a pop-up asks them if they would like to upgrade their purchase to a larger bag for a better price. The customer knows they’ll need the coffee beans anyways, so why not take the deal? Success. The customer gets better value, your average order value increases. It’s a win-win.
  • Cross-selling – refers to asking the customer if they would like to add an additional item to their purchase. To roll with the coffee example, a cross-sell might look like a pop-up asking the customer if they would like to add a package of coffee filters along with their coffee beans, for a reduced price.
  • Mixed together – Upselling and cross-selling can be used simultaneously as well. This might involve multiple requests of the customer to: (a) upgrade their original purchase to a larger size or quantity to save and (b) asking them if they would like to add on a discounted additional item.”

Shannon continues, “Add custom upsells, cross-sells and more to your online BFCM sale this year with Bold Upsell.” (opens in a new tab)

Support Those Last-Minute Shoppers

Moving away from some Black Friday Cyber Monday tips, BigCommerce (opens in a new tab) VP of Agency Partnerships, Dan Fertig shares some insight to support those last-minute buyers. He suggests:

“Create a ‘last minute shopping’ type category: goods you know you have in stock and can be delivered with little complexity,” including no LTL/freight, maybe uses a 3PL network, no complexity to packaging.

For those shoppers that are rushing to get that one final gift in time to complete their holiday shopping list, or something for a person they may have forgotten- having a special category or homepage banner callout dedicated to gifts that can arrive quickly is key. By ensuring the product will arrive swiftly and in time for the holiday, a consumer will be more likely to order it from your store rather than a competitor selling a similar product.

Another idea for last-minute shoppers is to offer curbside or in-store pickup for items available if there is a local store nearby.  Not only can they swing by to pick up the gift on the way to their holiday party, but for consumers who are still uneasy with health concerns, curbside pickup allows for shoppers in a pinch to still get their gift without stepping foot inside the store.

User-Friendly Checkout Options

Holiday shopping often finds users on eCommerce sites shopping for friends and family. If the shopper isn’t the one receiving the merchandise, they may be more inclined to use Guest Checkout. iMedia’s Brian McGovern explains, “we’re finding that the usage of Guest Checkout has increased conversion on many of our merchant’s sites, even regardless of the holiday shopping consideration. That feature caters to a growing cohort of users who is becoming more sensitive to the privacy of their data.”

Another must have is payment flexibility, and ease of ordering. “We advise our merchants to offer as many payment options as possible, specifically adopting payment options of commonly used platforms (PayPal Checkout, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay).” This will speed up checkout and centralize payments using options already setup on these large, highly adopted platforms.

Offer credit for high-cost items, Bread Finance & Klarna are easy add-ons to your eCommerce platform, that allow users to apply for and transact on credit quickly and easily. For holiday shoppers this may be more attractive as the spend increases during that time.

Additionally, allow recurring buying for items that qualify. Merchandise that is consumable, wearable, or subject to replenishment over time may not be top of mind for holiday shoppers. But given the increased traffic to eCommerce experiences during this period, having this convenient buying option may be attractive to buyers who stumble on your offer, while looking for other items. Take advantage of the traffic and attempt to increase your revenue with recurring revenue streams.

Make Your Site Accessible for All Users

The final tip really goes beyond just holiday season and should be adopted (if not already) across all web properties – digital accessibility compliance. Ian Lowe, CMO at eSSENTIAL Accessibility (opens in a new tab) shares:

“An estimated 26% of U.S. adults identify as having a disability, whether blindness, hearing impairment, trouble lifting and grasping, cognitive issues, or other. Their unique needs impact whether they can engage with your online storefront. If your site or app isn’t designed with their needs in mind, at best, their online interaction is frustrating. At worst, they simply cannot navigate it at all. The result — a significant percentage of your customer base may be entirely excluded from your e-commerce experience.”

Thus, it is important to take the necessary steps to make your site WCAG 2.1 compliant to support each customer that may shop on your site this holiday season. There are a number of ways to get started, some are quick wins for issues that are more common and can be easily resolved, while others may take more effort or additional support:

  • Check your images to add any missing alternative text.
  • Make sure your videos have accurate audio descriptors as well as closed captioning.
  • Use a proper heading structure so that someone navigating with a screen reader or other assistive technology can tab through your content in a meaningful way.
  • Watch your color contrast — or how well one color stands out from another. Someone with color blindness or low vision may have trouble seeing light text on a light color.
  • Align with an experienced partner to help you navigate the complexities of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and various legal regulations.

Making these modifications will remove a significant number of barriers for individuals with disabilities. These changes will also improve the overall experience for every user. Learn more about digital accessibility for your online storefront in our recent blog.

For more strategic ideas and ecommerce support, contact our team today. We want to help you finish the year off strong and successful.

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