With the Diwali season upon us, and Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year close by, eCommerce stores around the globe are gearing up for what is expected to be a highly successful festive season. In fact, during the first festive week of 2022 (September 22 to September 25), eCommerce platforms generated a revenue of $3.5 billion, which was 1.3 times more than what was generated in 2021 for the same time period, according to a report by Redseer.
This increase could be attributed to the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Whatever the reason, the final weeks of 2022 are going to be huge for eCommerce stores. To make sure online stores make the best of this festive season and generate maximum revenue, they have to be optimised for the festive season. To that end, we’ve curated this checklist of 10 things an eCommerce store needs to do to be ready for this festive season.
Checklist for enhancing an eCommerce store for the festive season
1. Prepare the infrastructure for a surge in traffic
The first thing you need to do is ensure the infrastructure can withstand the surge in traffic. Your eCommerce site is going to experience a huge increase in the number of visitors during the holiday season, especially if you’re running promotional campaigns. If the server on which the online store is hosted is unable to handle this increase, the site will crash and be unavailable to visitors, resulting in losses for the business.
You need to check what resources (like RAM, CPU cores, and so on) are currently allocated to you via the hosting provider and how much of it is being utilised. This will help you project if your store will need more resources during the festival season. If it does, you could request additional resources to ensure the store runs smoothly.
2. Ensure your site is mobile ready
In 2021, nearly 40% of all Black Friday sales (online and offline) took place over mobile phones, and on Cyber Monday, nearly 54% of all online visitors came via their phones. The projection for 2022 is that online traffic and sales via smartphones are only going to increase.
You must ensure your online store is mobile-friendly in order to cater to these smartphone visitors. Test all pages and elements on different smartphones (Android, iOS, Windows, etc.) and use Google’s Page Speed Insights to find potential issues with the mobile version of your online store. You could also create an AMP version of the store for mobiles.
3. Simplify the UX
The longer it takes for a customer to go from viewing a product to checkout, the higher the chances of a drop-off. Amazon offers customers two options on every product page — ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’. The Buy Now button allows the customer to go from product to checkout in just one step, reducing any last-minute resistance a customer would have before making a purchase.
The UX decides the user flow, and you should keep it simple and minimal. Allow the user to go from product to checkout in the least number of steps.
4. Simplify the checkout process
A complicated checkout process has the same effect a complex UX does — it creates doubt and resistance in the user’s minds (especially in customers who are making a spur-of-the-moment buy). In fact, a long checkout process is the third most common reason for cart abandonments:
The easiest way to simplify your eCommerce store’s checkout process is by using a solution that offers a simple and streamlined checkout form. Plural Checkout, for example, takes the user through the process in just two steps. Using a third-party solution allows you to quickly integrate an enhanced checkout form and give your customers a simple checkout process right out of the box.
5. Offer multiple payment options
One of the top ten reasons for cart abandonment is a lack of multiple payment options:
Limited payment options becomes a bigger issue during the festive season when customers look to purchase a higher number of products, and the average order value (AOV) goes up. Giving customers the option to pay later or pay in instalments (EMIs) will greatly increase your conversions during a festival sale, as customers can buy more products and pay them off slowly.
But how do you implement multiple payment options quickly and easily? That’s where solutions like Plural’s Affordability Suite come in. Plural’s Affordability Suite allows you to offer many different payment options right out of the box — options like EMI, cardless EMI, and pay later. With multiple payment options, your customers will be more inclined to make purchases, increasing your conversions and AOV.
With Plural’s Affordability Suite, you can also run offers like discounts and cashbacks and no-cost EMIs on products instantly. This is incredibly useful when you’re looking to boost festive season sales.
6. Offer multiple delivery options
Customers will want to take advantage of the short holiday season sale and make as many purchases as possible. They might not, however, be available to collect the products at the delivery location immediately.
It’s important to provide multiple delivery options so your customers can select what works for them best. Some options you can provide are same-day delivery (if the location permits it), overnight delivery, delayed delivery (customer chooses when the product should be delivered) and BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store).
7. Highlight offers upfront
Amazon completely revamps its website every festive season and showcases its best offers where they are clearly visible — all over the homepage and on the top banner of other pages.
Your online store should be tailored to inform customers of offers and sales that are on without them having to search. You can achieve this by creating categories and highlighting the best discounts available in each category.
8. Set up an omnichannel store
A study by Omnisend stated that brands that used three or more channels in a single campaign earned a 287% higher purchase rate than brands that used a single channel.
While you prepare your online store for the festive season, you should also set up other channels through which your customers can reach your brand and make purchases. Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram are clearly a must for any brand today. You can not only use social media to generate brand awareness, but you can even sell your products directly through these channels.
That brings us to omnichannel. Just setting up multiple channels is not enough; you also need to connect them so data can flow through these channels like a web. A user who starts a conversation on the website should be able to continue it via Instagram. This interconnection of channels is what takes your store from being multichannel to omnichannel. You can easily achieve this by implementing platforms like HubSpot.
9. Tailor your content to the occasion
The content on your store, which includes the text and graphics, should be tailored for the festive season. For example, Diwali has a bright and colourful vibe to it, whereas Cyber Monday is more technology-oriented. When customers land on your eCommerce store, the reason behind the sale should be obvious.
10. Optimise backend logistics
It’s not just the frontend eCommerce store that needs to be optimised for the festive season, but also the entire backend logistics process. From procurement and inventory management to distribution, you have to make sure all steps in the logistics process are optimised as well. This will ensure that issues like overselling or underselling, delayed dispatches, and so on do not occur.
It sometimes just takes a small tweak to increase revenue many times over. Customer retention rate, for example, can be increased by 90% just by setting up an omnichannel presence.
Using the strategies presented in this article, you should be able to make the best of this festive season. If you’re looking to implement a simple checkout process for your store and also present your customers with multiple payment options (both of which are known to greatly enhance conversions and AOV), Plural has the right solutions for you. Drop us a line at email@example.com, and we’ll help you with more information.