No matter the month, all retailers can think of is the holiday season — the quarter that plays a crucial role in profits of the entire year. And why not, retail sales during 2022 November-December holiday season grew 5.3% over 2021 to $936.3 billion. It’s no wonder that retailers are doing everything they can to make the end of the year memorable.
Get Ready, the Festive Season Starts Now!
E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart start their holiday sales as early as October to extend the holiday cheer. No one can prepare for the holiday rush in a single day, as the classic 12 Days of Christmas carol indicates.
But what good are golden rings and turtledoves to your e-commerce site?
The holiday rush is not just about mass production anymore. In the age of digital commerce, customer want seamless online and in-store interactions, with personalization being the key draw.
Here’s a quick 12 step guide to ensure your ecommerce site is ready for the holiday rush. Some of these approaches can even be turned into Q1 sales opportunities to counterbalance the customary new year downturn.
1. Captivate Your Audience with Stellar Page Design
Page design works holiday magic by captivating shoppers with festive visuals, highlighting promotions, and guiding easy navigation. It subtly encourages higher spending through cross-selling, builds trust with security features, and evokes emotions for a memorable shopping experience.
Salesforce OOB – Design, schedule, and publish pages with page designer. Drag-and-drop interfaces and powerful reusable components make it easy to build pages with clicks – not code.
2. Elevate Your Visibility with a Robust SEO Strategy
Will potential customers reach your brand’s website when they search for a product you sell online?
Few consumers go past the second page of search engines, so your best hope is to develop a winning SEO strategy that works to position you on the first page while gradually ramping up efforts to reach the top.
Improve page rank, build traffic, and grow faster with SEO optimization — from product pages and categories to metadata and images by making SEO URLs easier to understand. For a cleaner finish and greater readability, try adding your keywords to your URLs.
3. Win Customers’ Hearts with Personalized Recommendations
The holiday season is a time when people are actively seeking inspiration for gifts. Make it easier for your customers by showing them what others are buying. This not only creates a sense of urgency (FOMO) but also provides social validation.
Utilize the Product Recommendations feature in your Salesforce Commerce Cloud e-commerce site to display relevant suggestions. For instance, if a customer is searching for a gift for their parents, it makes sense to show them popular gift ideas for adults rather than children.
Tools like Salesforce Commerce Cloud allow you to filter recommendations based on various criteria such as categories, pricing, and product tags to ensure relevancy.
Example: Cox & Cox employs this strategy to keep customers engaged and reduce the likelihood of them leaving the site. By showcasing appropriate recommendations, you can enhance the shopping experience and increase the chances of conversion.
4. Leverage Online Marketing to Boost Sales
With salesforce commerce cloud you can build and launch innovative campaigns, promotions (at different levels – Product, Shipping, Order), and A/B testing based on consumer behavior, channel, and location — all without technical support.
5. Grab Attention with Strategic Messaging
Display messages on several pages of your website so that they are visible to the customer – especially the front page, PDPs, and the checkout page.
Whether the customer barely missed the window to get the item before Christmas or shipping delays are longer than usual, presenting this information in overlay-pop up guarantees that your shoppers see this information and the expectation is established the moment they approach your website.
Here’s an example of how Skinny Dip sets the tone for consumers, taking every opportunity to increase visibility with email reminders and offers:
6. Master Catalog Management for Seamless Operations
With cloud-based multisite management and localization, going live with new brands or geographic sites has never been faster. With the multisite architecture, retailers can host multi-site and multi-currency environments with the same product line, by leveraging common code, processes, imagery, and a master catalog.
7. Streamline Operations with Salesforce Order Management Integration
The SFCC application environment is built to easily integrate with third-party applications. You can easily import data from other systems into the SFCC environment and vice versa. Comes with OOB integration with Salesforce Order Management (SFOM) which can hold Enterprise Inventory, Distributed Order Management, Store Fulfillment, Customer Service Offerings, and Order Data Tracking. All this information can be shared with SFCC.
8. Fortify Your Storefront with Robust Security Strategies
Now is the best time to lay down, recheck, and improvise fraud management rules. Bigger buying also attracts individuals and malware that are up to no good, so minimize fraudulent transactions and protect your customer so they proceed to the checkout. Providing an added layer of security with https ensures customer and merchant data and connections stay safe. Don’t skimp by skipping!
9. Facilitate Convenience for Last-Minute Shoppers
A ‘quick handoff’ doesn’t just refer to selling and handing over products to the customers quickly. It also includes all the different ways that you can offer your customers their products.
- Curbside delivery
10. Offer Unlimited Choices with Commerce Cloud
Surpass customer expectations by offering endless purchase options and providing a consistent experience both online and in-store. Connect with B2C customers across every touchpoint, backed by a single, 360-degree view of all activity, orders, inventory, and more. Empower store associates with easy-to-use and customizable mobile apps.
11. Enhance the Customer Journey by Optimizing the Storefront Experience
The Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) from SFCC includes a mobile-first approach. Built-in features and components give a plethora of possibilities for tailoring the site to your specific requirements.
Any storefront sorting options you create a display at the top of search results in the Sort By dropdown list. All storefront sorting options are available across the site. Retailers must create storefront sorting criteria that include things that haven’t been selling or moving as quickly to stimulate sales during the peak shopping season.
12. Unlock the Power of Einstein AI with SFCC
If you need to write the Next Christmas Hit, using Einstein SFCC AI to spice up your holiday retail sales is the way to go! Though it may take some time to implement, it is the magic wand that you need.
Einstein SFCC AI (OOB integration) – Inspire and convert more customers with highly personalized, AI-powered experiences – no data scientist required. Retailers can:
- Recommend the best products at every touchpoint
- Generate 1:1 prediction for every single shopper in real-time
- Get smart and boost conversions with data-driven commerce insights
- Save time and effort with automated merchandising tasks.
What’s Next? Get a head start on your Q1 setup
Q1 is one of the most difficult periods in e-commerce, with higher-than-usual return rates, overstock on specific goods, high abandoned cart rates, overlooked sectors of customers, and hefty discounts that reduce margins. Not to throw a damper on the holiday season, but the last few weeks of the year are essential for ensuring you’re ready to start the new year.
In summary, preparing your e-commerce site for the holiday season involves several key steps, including optimizing page design, ramping up your SEO strategy, customizing product recommendations, leveraging online marketing, managing catalogs, ensuring storefront security, facilitating last-minute shopping, and utilizing AI-powered tools like Einstein SFCC AI. Implementing these strategies will not only help you maximize your sales during the holiday season but also set the stage for a successful Q1.
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