It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like a Digital Christmas: How eCommerce Owners Can Prepare

With the holidays just around the corner, the shopping season is already in full swing. In light of the unique situation created by the pandemic, it seems clear that online sales will skyrocket in comparison to in-person sales.

Keeping this in mind, preparing for this rush of business should be any eCommerce owner’s priority. Building a seller-friendly marketplace can help distinguish your site from the competition and give you an edge this holiday season.

Standing out from the crowd will take more than just an easy to work site, however, and below are a few effective tips for preparing your site for the holiday season.

Offer a broader range of prices

Even before the pandemic, there were a large number of digital buyers. In fact, there have been 2.05 billion digital buyers in 2020 already. With the holiday season not yet factored in, this number is only going to rise.

However, there will be a wider range of people purchasing goods online this year. Caveats to online purchases such as shipping fees and wait times have caused many to stick with in-person shopping in the past. In light of the pandemic, it’s not likely that these stipulations will turn those customers away.

With that said, it’s important to offer a range of prices this year to appeal to a wider audience. As a result of the economic fallout created by the lockdowns from the pandemic, many people are strapped for cash. The unemployment rate hit the highest rate since the Great Depression, many consumers have been forced to live off of savings or credit cards, and a whopping 53% of Americans have had new credit applications denied due to a low credit score. 

As a result, we can only expect people to be even more on the lookout than before for the best deals that they can snatch up. During this season of giving, consider offering more discounts and deals that can attract customers of all types, rather than those with the deepest pockets. Even a simple “on sale for a limited time only” or “ships free” next to a project can be enough of a psychological incentive for people to want to make a purchase. 

Even the simplest of discounts can go a long way and help you stand out from the competition. The online payment systems you use, for instance, should only charge a 1% fee per credit card transaction when it’s common for many online retailers to charge 3%. Advertise this to customers who visit your site, and it can be a massive psychological incentive for them to shop from you. 

Improve the infrastructure, security, and speed of your site

The stability and safety of your website should be top-notch to attract customers. Did you know that in 2019 alone, 4.1 billion records were compromised due to breaches of data? With larger amounts of people comes a large potential for issues to arise.

As mentioned, there is going to be far more traffic to eCommerce stores than ever before this year. With so many people visiting your store at one time, it’s easy for servers to overload and crash, which is the last thing you want when trying to attract business.

Look no further than the 2018 Black Friday. Major companies’ websites, such as Walmart and Target, experienced technical difficulties as their servers were crashed by large amounts of visitors trying to score deals.

Focus on improving the speed, security, and reliability of your site this holiday season. Improving all three of these measures in preparation for the coming weeks can help improve your eCommerce store’s overall performance. The last thing you need in addition to a slow site is a serious data breach that leaks your customer’s information to the Internet. These are all concerns that, under normal circumstances, may not arise. But considering the increased Internet presence due to the pandemic, it’s easy to see why hackers are on the rise as the year wraps up. 

Learn to attract customers in unique ways

Digital marketing is a tricky business for any eCommerce store, and standing out from the millions of other online retailers is easier said than done. Attracting more customers this season is all about finding unique ways to bring attention to your store in the first place.

One of the best ways to connect with your customers is to be more interactive with them as a whole. Build a relationship with those who visit your site that goes beyond a mere transaction by considering strategies such as adding an eCommerce blog. The main reason why creating a blog can be so effective at attracting customers is because it can bring people who may be searching for valuable information on topics relevant to what you sell but who also otherwise would not have found your site on its own. 

Some of the most popular blogging platforms, such as WordPress or Wix, make it easy for store owners to help improve the functionality and appeal of their blogs, with features pertaining to customizability with branding, social media integration, and even the ability to set up or integrate with online stores. What’s more, is that setting up a blog should be a minimal financial investment as well. The VIP version of Wix, for instance, costs just $25 a month and offers you an online store, a free domain, and unlimited bandwidth. 

Additionally, blogs are a great way of converting website visitors to customers. Making the decision to purchase a product can be difficult with no information, but a blog post on that product can remove that barrier.

Getting people to read your work seems difficult on the surface. Yet, many eCommerce supportive marketplaces offer built-in blog platforms with SEO and marketing features that can also help get your posts to more eyes. 

Another strategy of attracting customers to your site is by engaging in social media marketing. 

Even though creating successful social media ads doesn’t mean converting one billion people into customers, if even one percent click through to your website then you just gained millions of eyes. 

Alternatively, local-based social media marketing allows you to use geo-specific functions to display social content to users in a certain area, which can be more useful when it comes to targeting. Your competitors are likely taking advantage of these opportunities and you should too.

Conclusion

Dealing with the rush of shoppers and getting items delivered on time are all factors in a successful holiday season for an eCommerce store. However, being successful this season is about so much more. From simply offering more products and better deals to buffing up the infrastructure and security of your eCommerce store, there are a number of steps you can take to set your store apart.

This year in particular will be unlike any other and customers from around the world will be looking to eCommerce stores for the gifts they wish to purchase. Rely on a multi-vendor platform that can enable you to sell all of your goods through one online storefront. 

Doing so will allow you to focus more on the development of your beloved products and take some of the holiday stress away. With a digital Christmas on the horizon, it’s becoming clearer that eCommerce stores will need to adapt to be successful.

About the author:

Sam Bocetta is a freelance journalist specializing in U.S. diplomacy and national security, with emphasis on technology trends in cyberwarfare, cyberdefense, and cryptography.