The holiday season is just around the corner. For eCommerce business owners, that could mean your busiest time of year is coming up. Within the last decade, eCommerce has completely changed the way people do their holiday shopping.
ECommerce sales through the holiday season will reach nearly $240 billion – a significant increase from the year before.
While some people still prefer camping out in front of department stores for Black Friday deals, many now prefer shopping in the comfort of their homes. Instead of the hustle and bustle of mall shopping, they would enjoy a cup of cocoa in their pajamas while purchasing their family gifts.
So, what can you do to capitalize on holiday shopping this year and beyond? How can you make the experience easier for your customers, so they continue to connect with your business year-round?
There’s always room to grow, change, and adapt to the ever-advancing digital world. Consumers have high expectations when it comes to their online shopping experiences, especially as technology continues to advance.
Let’s look at how you can streamline that experience and bring your customers back every season.
Make Your Site Accessible
One of the best ways to boost interaction in your online store is to ensure it’s accessible to everyone. According to the CDC, 26% of adults in the U.S. have a disability. Some might deal with vision issues, while others have limited mobility.
Making sure your website is accessible will broaden your audience and allow people to spend more time in your online store. Some of the easiest ways to improve accessibility include:
- Utilizing alternative text
- Creating accurate form labels
- Implementing color contrast
- Implementing keyboard navigation,
- Fixing automated captions.
It’s also essential to ensure your site is user-friendly for those with neurodivergence. Neurodivergence refers to individuals with brains that work “differently” than what’s considered the norm.
People with autism, dyslexia, and ADHD are referred to as neurodivergent. You could make the eCommerce experience more accessible to them by offering things like text-to-speech options and sending out reminder emails if they forgot something in their cart.
Limiting distractions and implementing strategies that will help them stay focused will make it easier for them to browse and make the purchases they want.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Nowadays, nearly 70% of consumers use shopping apps on their phones. Chances are, you’ve made multiple purchases from your smartphone or tablet, so consider what the experience has been like for you. Was the mobile site easy to navigate? How hard was it to insert information and ultimately make your purchase?
Mobile eCommerce isn’t just a trend. Billions of people across the globe use their smartphones for nearly every aspect of life – including shopping. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly or you don’t have an app that makes it easy for people to see your products clearly, you could be missing out on tons of sales this season.
You can ensure your site is mobile-friendly by offering one-click ordering, utilizing mobile chatbots, and providing load times as fast as possible. If your mobile site is hard to navigate or takes too long to showcase your products, your audience will look elsewhere.
Utilize Artificial Intelligence
The use of AI across eCommerce platforms has continued to grow in popularity over the last decade. Now, consumers expect artificial intelligence to have at least some presence in their shopping experience.
As a business owner, taking advantage of this trend is essential. Not only will it create a more personalized experience for your shoppers, but it can take care of a lot of extra work for your team, so you can delegate more jobs to different people and improve efficiency.
The best ways to integrate AI into your eCommerce site this season include:
- Product recommendations
- Personalized ads
- Inventory management
While AI can create a boom in business this season, don’t rely on it to handle everything. Customers don’t want a bombardment of intrusive ads based on their search habits.
Be prepared to find a balance between effective AI marketing and taking things too far. When used correctly, it’s a great tool to boost your business and free up more time for your employees.
Include Customer Reviews
Adding customer reviews to your eCommerce shop might seem small, but it can make a big difference – especially around the holidays. You could be attracting new customers for the first time who have never shopped with you before. People like to do their research before deciding whether to trust a company, and reading reviews from others is a great way to get information quickly.
If you put a lot of time and effort into your digital experience and customer service, your shoppers will take notice. Encourage people to leave a review, talk about their experience, and use those positive remarks to market to new audiences. Customers who feel more informed about their choice are more likely to spend more and continue shopping with you.
Make sure to respond to positive and negative reviews on social media. Don’t feel you have to ignore or “hide” reviews that aren’t wholly glowing. By addressing negative reviews, you’ll show your audience that you care about their experience and are working to make things easier.
The holiday shopping season is stressful enough and can often feel hectic for the average consumer. The last thing they want is more hassle when they’re trying to purchase their gifts. When you actively engage and make your brand a presence, you’ll establish lasting connections and relationships that will keep your business going throughout the year.
Now is the time if you haven’t already started preparing your eCommerce site for the holidays. Keep these suggestions in mind to optimize the customer shopping experience, boost sales, and become a more prominent household name to turn first-time shoppers into loyal customers.