Holiday E-Commerce: How to Make the Most of Your Site

Young couple with laptop and credit card buying online


Remember this story? Internet retail has allowed people to avoid holiday crowds that were once dreaded by all. It has also allowed us lazy people to shop from home, or wait until the very last minute to purchase our gifts, all in one shot.
According to Google’s Post Holiday Survey, online retail spending grew 15% from 2010 to 2011, with $37.2 billion dollars in online sales in November and December alone. That sounds like an opportunity to us for e-tailers to optimize their shopping experience, to help shoppers make the decision to buy from them.

First of all, you have got to have a deal. People expect to see sales during the holiday season, like gift bundles, free gift with purchase, or a percentage off. And according to Google’s survey, 55% of online shoppers in 2011 expected free shipping during the holidays. During this time, people are buying from several different retailers, so they want to cut down their shipping costs as much as possible.
Whatever you do, make sure you are competing at the bottom line – at the end of the day, price is everything.

Well, maybe not everything.
Shoppers also want to have confidence in what they are buying. Because they are not visiting the stores themselves, they cannot touch and feel a product to make sure that it is that perfect gift. Online video is the best way to give your shoppers confidence in a product. In fact, according to Internet Retailer, 52% of shoppers who have watched product videos online say that those videos made them more confident in their purchases. Not only do people find them helpful, but shoppers are beginning to expect to see video: Craig Wax, the CEO of Invodo in Austin, TX, has said, "it is crystal clear that consumers expect video as part of their shopping experience, and rely on it when making purchase decisions.
And like we have said in the past, your online videos need to be good – consumers need to be able to trust that they are receiving quality goods, and what better way to show them that through putting forth the effort of creating the same quality of videos?

It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone who shops online will pull the trigger online – people use the internet simply for research and comparison shopping. Those shoppers should not be neglected – give them a reason to buy from you, right now. Again, you can use incentive like a sale or free shipping, or engaging information offered through product videos. We recommend pulling out all the stops; a study done by Stampede Global shows that 41% of consumers say that they will comparison shop on smartphones this year, and according to Google, "nearly 70% of online shoppers that did shop in-store say online research influenced the brands they bought, the retailers they shopped and the gifts they selected."

Finally, don’t forget Christmas Day – last year there was an 173% increase in mobile shopping on December 25. Perhaps they got clothing that did not fit, or items of the wrong color. Or perhaps they received gift cards, and want to use them right away. It used to be that nobody shopped on this day, because storefronts are closed, but with the internet, people do not need to wait for anything these days. And they are certainly not going to wait to spend their Christmas money or make exchanges. Make sure that your site is up and running, and in stock for Christmas day – you don’t want to miss out on this big shopping day.

How do YOU shop during the holiday season???