With the holiday season quickly approaching, retailers are preparing for what they hope to be a massive holiday shopping rush. As ecommerce is becoming more prevalent as a preferred method for consumers, now is the time to ensure that your online store is ready to convert interested shoppers into buyers. After all, the holiday season can make or break your business.
So, once consumers have landed on your website or storefront, how do you persuade holiday shoppers to make a purchase from your shop when there are so many options available to them? We’ve compiled the 11 best ways to entice holiday shoppers in ecommerce. Read on to see which of these methods you should be taking advantage of this holiday season.
Using compiled statistics from 37 studies that included ecommerce shopping cart abandonment, Baymard Institute estimates an average cart abandonment rate of 69%. If you’d like your brand to avoid these high rates, make sure you’re resolving the most common reasons that shoppers abandon the checkout process:
1. Avoid or reduce extra costs wherever possible.
Offer free shipping to gain a competitive edge. If it is not sustainable for your business to offer free shipping, consider offering standard shipping at a nominal rate such as $3 or $5 – or offer free shipping with a minimum purchase amount, such as “Free shipping on orders over $50”.
2. Don’t require shoppers to create an account prior to checkout.
Offer simple checkout with a “checkout as a guest” option and consider including a universal 1-click login utilizing Facebook or Google+.
3. Streamline the checkout process for desktop and mobile shopping.
Lower the barriers to conversion by simplifying your order form. Baymard’s study found that 27% of U.S. online shoppers abandoned an order due to a long or complicated checkout process. Eliminate extra steps and streamline required steps. Don’t ask any questions that are unnecessary for the order fulfillment process. Now is not the time to attempt to collect marketing data such as age, birthday, company name, or “How did you find us?”.
If any fields are able to be auto-populated, make it happen. With the right technology, asking a customer to input a zip code first can auto-fill the City and State fields. Similarly, the “credit card type” field can be populated based on the first few digits in a customer’s credit card number. This will speed up checkout process, leading to increased conversions and impressed customers.
You can also prevent frustrated customers by adding a progress bar to your checkout page, indicating how far along a shopper is in the checkout process.
4. Calculate total order cost up-front.
Wherever possible, take out the guesswork for your customers. Put the most relevant information in a visible location. On the first page of your shopping cart, enable your customers to enter their zip code in order to populate total cost including tax & standard shipping.
5. Optimize your overall customer experience.
Have both a proofreader and UX specialist verify that your website and promotional emails are free of spelling errors and broken links. Mistakes like these can greatly reduce shoppers’ confidence in your brand and deter them from making a purchase. Similarly, if your website loads slowly with a high volume of traffic, you can kiss your sales goodbye.
6. Increase social trust and consumer confidence.
Shoppers that have not purchased from you before will be more wary of trusting your website with their credit card information. Include elements on-site that increase social trust such as user reviews, consumer ratings (such as ResellerRatings and TrustPilot), SSL certificate, and badges from trusted institutions (such as PayPal, BBB, Norton, or McAfee).
7. Offer faster delivery options + Include a clear way for people to calculate their order delivery date.
If you don’t already offer expedited shipping options such as Overnight Shipping or Next Day Air, consider doing so. Delivery timelines matter to customers, especially during the holidays. If customers are unsure that they will receive their order in time from your company, they may choose a competitor that includes clear delivery timelines.
8. Offer free and easy returns.
If your return policy is unclear or unsatisfactory to shoppers, they are more likely to abandon their shopping cart. Adding a simple guarantee such as “Free returns within 30 Days” can give shoppers peace of mind on their purchase, especially if they’ve never purchased from your company before.
9. Offer multiple payment methods.
Every customer has their own preferred payment method. Offering various methods of payment can entice more shoppers to purchase from your store. If you only offer payment via credit card, consider adding options for checkout with PayPal, Google Wallet, or other well-known services.
10. Enable real-time support via Live Chat.
Avoid customer confusion and abandoned carts by offering live support. Remember that the majority of holiday shoppers will research and purchase from their mobile device this season, so ensure this feature is also streamlined for mobile.
11. Offer holiday-themed promotions and flash sales.
Capitalize on increased traffic by capturing email addresses in exchange for a discount code or free gift with purchase. Retarget subscribers with targeted promotions, cart recovery emails, and holiday-themed campaigns. For example, send an email blast letting shoppers know how many days they have left to order with guaranteed delivery before big holiday deadlines. Flash sales and countdown timers can also be promoted on-site and via email to promote urgency and increase sales.
As you prepare for an influx of holiday orders, make sure your business is ready for a sharp increase in order fulfillment. If your company cannot handle the logistics of hiring and training seasonal warehouse staff, consider offloading responsibility to a reliable ecommerce fulfillment warehouse. Missed deliveries, fulfillment errors, and late packages can be hugely detrimental to your brand and customer experience.
Which of these methods are you already using? Which ecommerce hacks will you be implementing to increase your sales conversions this season?