Despite the impact of inflation on US consumer spending in 2022, Deloitte still projects year-over-year ecommerce holiday sales to rise between 12.8% and 14.3%.
But this growth doesn’t mean that ecommerce businesses can simply rely on their 2021 holiday marketing strategy. Customer loyalty continues to wane, putting pressure on brands to look for fresh holiday promotions to keep their target audiences engaged.
According to McKinsey, “More US consumers reported switching to different brands and retailers in 2022 than at any time since the beginning of the pandemic — and most of them say they intend to incorporate that behavior into their routines.”
By following these tips, you stand a better chance of attracting and keeping loyal customers, making your holiday season — and the year ahead — merry and bright.
Returns are a costly fact of life for online stores, especially during the holidays.
But if you clearly convey to your customers how fast and easy you make them — and follow through with your promises — you’ll help customers feel more confident in their purchases. As recently as early 2022, Dynata found that one-third of global online shoppers were experiencing enough “complicated” returns to call them a “drawback” of ecommerce.
Brands like Traeger tackle this problem head-on with a clear link to its return policy in the footer and an intuitive interface for initiating a return.
But even with return policy transparency, customers still have the hassle of taking unwanted products to the post office or FedEx. Luckily, there are a few ways to minimize this friction.
Merchants who use FedEx can send customers return labels as QR codes, removing the need to print a physical label. Associates just need to scan the label at the drop-off location.
And thanks to a partnership with Happy Returns, some FedEx drop-off locations don’t even require the customer to package the items. Happy Returns will bulk-ship items headed back to a single merchant, saving you, the merchant, money on the returns themselves.
If you use Shopify, use the Returnly app to show customers items they might want in place of the unwanted one. Now you’ve converted a refund into an exchange. If the customer still insists on a return, send a questionnaire to learn if it would be less costly for you to let them keep the unwanted item.
Harness the holiday enthusiasm of your Instagram followers and acquire new customers with a live shopping experience. Shoppable Instagram posts aren’t new, but linking to products in a live broadcast on the platform is — and it’s a very popular medium.
McKinsey estimates that by 2026, up to 20% of global ecommerce will consist of “live-commerce-initiated sales.”
This figure includes live Instagram shopping and brands with dedicated online channels, like Nordstrom. As more social media networks like TikTok adopt live shopping, this figure could increase even more.
With Instagram, first, connect your Shopify or BigCommerce product catalog to the social platform so customers can simply tap products to buy. Then, prepare a video script so your brand representative on the broadcast knows what products to feature and how to present them.
Instagram lets you go live with another person, so consider expanding your holiday reach by partnering with a like-minded influencer. Their followers could end up becoming your customers. Use Upfluence to help you in your influencer search.
Don’t surprise customers at checkout with unexpected shipping costs, or you risk cart abandonment. The Baymard Institute found that 48% of consumers abandon carts because extra costs like shipping are too high.
In its homepage header, The Vitamin Shoppe states right away that it only offers free shipping on purchases totaling $25 or more.
Wellness brand The Honest Company goes a step further. Say a customer lands on a product page whose item doesn’t automatically qualify for free shipping. Just beneath the all-important “Add to Bag” button is a reminder about the minimum purchase threshold for free shipping to kick in.
All it takes is a small tweak to the code of your BigCommerce or Shopify store to insert shipping policy reminders. WooCommerce users have access to a plugin that lets consumers calculate the shipping cost of any item before heading to checkout.
Say a customer abandons their cart despite your best efforts to be transparent about shipping costs. Remind them with a prompt in your recovery email or SMS notification.
Not all merchants can offer free shipping on every order, even though a sizable share of customers demand and expect it. According to a 2022 Shopify report, 75% of global consumers say that free shipping has a “significant influence” or “very significant influence” on their decision to buy from an online brand.
A common strategy is to boost prices to make up for some or all shipping costs. But another angle is to coax shoppers into increasing their average order values by showing them how much they need to buy to get free shipping.
It’s one thing to be transparent about shipping costs, but it’s something else to guide customers toward a spending threshold.
Take Yankee Candle. The company inserts a free shipping bar on each product page, saving customers the trouble of doing math in their heads. As an added incentive, the company recommends discounted items that customers can add with a single click, moving them ever closer to the free shipping spend threshold.
Free shipping bars are fairly simple to add to BigCommerce and Shopify stores. The ecommerce app Privy lets users set up a free shipping bar widget as a part of its free plan. The tool integrates with BigCommerce and Shopify, so the bar is easy to add to your online shopping cart.
You already have your Black Friday limited-time offers lined up — but so does your competition. Instead of competing on price alone, why not add customer value by making your loyalty points worth more during the holiday shopping season?
Loyalty programs are popular, and according to a 2022 Clarus Commerce survey, 33% of consumers said that “holiday discounts” would motivate them “to invest in or renew a premium loyalty program.” Redeeming loyalty points, after all, is a type of discount.
Competing on price is a race to the bottom for online retailers. This tactic could end up proving more costly than increasing the value of loyalty points for a limited time. In addition, you’ll give loyalty members a sense of urgency about using their rewards and attract new members if you promote the temporary upgrade with a well-timed pop-up.
Apps like Yotpo seamlessly integrate a points-based loyalty program with your ecommerce store. Show customers how to earn and redeem points and display a participant’s point totals at checkout to encourage redemption.
For example, from your Yotpo account dashboard, easily modify the value of points and how to earn them. During the all-important four shopping weeks leading up to Christmas, make a point worth $1.50 instead of $1. Also, consider making each dollar spent worth two points, not one. Alert your email and SMS lists before the promotion goes live.
Digital wallets save and encrypt information required for ecommerce checkouts, like credit card numbers and billing addresses. Since the holidays are a busy, stressful time of year for many people, adding a digital wallet to the checkout process can save customers time and encourage them to make a purchase.
The key digital wallet players are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Shop Pay. Customers are rapidly adopting these payment options and leaving their credit cards at home. A 2022 Worldpay report projects that credit card payments will decline from 21% of ecommerce spend in 2021 to less than 19% by 2025 in favor of digital wallets.
Many digital wallets offer features that improve the user experience beyond a speedy checkout. Shop Pay has the added benefit of letting customers pay over time, an advantage for holiday shoppers who are buying gifts for multiple people.
Add these digital wallets to your ecommerce store to offer a convenient payment experience. Just make sure the wallets are compatible with your payment gateway — the tool that safely transfers funds from a customer’s bank to your business’s bank. The payment gateway Stripe works with many of the top digital wallets.
Shipping and product protection plans safeguard important holiday gifts from damage or theft during shipping, as well as select mishaps and product failure at home. Add these plans to your store to give shoppers peace of mind and encourage higher conversion rates.
Yes, customers (or you as the merchant) must pay to add a shipping or product protection plan to their ecommerce orders. But when 14% of customers report having a product stolen in 2022, the cost of shipping protection becomes a small price to pay.
Offering these plans can motivate first-time shoppers to buy, but how you handle claims can motivate customers to buy repeatedly. Extend makes filing shipping and product protection claims easy, with a simple online interface that adjudicates most claims in a matter of seconds.
Customers can add Extend product protection plans with a single click just before they add a product to their carts, so there’s no friction.
Merchants even receive a share of the revenue from each product protection plan sold. Find out how much you can earn here.
As you put the final touches on your end-of-year promotion plans, keep these seven tips in mind to increase ecommerce sales.
Track campaign performance data and survey customers post-holiday to understand which tactics were most effective. You might decide to make the most impactful tips a permanent part of your ecommerce customer experience.
Product protection and shipping protection are two of those initiatives that pay off all year long. To learn more about how Extend can help you increase your holiday sales, click here to schedule a free demo.