It’s no surprise that the holiday shopping season comprises the bulk of yearly retail sales, but Coresight Research predicts that ecommerce will be a growing force in this year’s total revenue, encompassing 20 percent of all non-food sales. If you’re an ecommerce seller, you can expect a high traffic and high volume selling season. These numbers should excite online retailers, but it also means that it’s time to kick your pre-holiday preparations into high gear.
The fourth quarter is the most important time for businesses. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas all present an opportunity for online retailers to score points with consumers. Advances in this year’s tech trends provide a significant opportunity for e-retailers to maximize holiday sales. From artificial intelligence to new features on social media, technology presents Shopify businesses with the ability to best connect with consumers, drive sales, and score those end-of-year sales goals.
While priming your Shopify store for the holiday season, be sure your site is equipped with these essential tech functions.
- Live Chat
A growing volume of online sessions also means a stronger demand for customer service capabilities. The easier and faster consumer questions and concerns about your Shopify business can be answered, the more likely they are to make purchases. Live chat is a great way to engage with shoppers on your site and it enables you to answer queries they might have while they’re still planning to buy. In fact, 51 percent of customers are more likely to purchase from a site that offers live chat.
Artificial intelligence powered chatbots can provide an instantaneous response when customers have an inquiry concerning product details or shipping information, for example. Chatbots are available 24/7 and can emulate a typical human salesperson or customer support representative, while saving time for both customers and vendors. You may feel too intimidated to launch your first chatbot if you know little to nothing about programming — don’t worry! There are plenty of platforms out there for building chatbots that accommodate all skill levels.
- Optimize Product Pages
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of optimizing your website for on-site conversions and increased sales. Practicing CRO helps you identify problem areas on your site and can help you in determining what factors are driving your customers to execute sales or abandon them. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis, CRO can help your business identify challenges and opportunities for sales growth. CRO plays a major role in impacting current site visitors to make a purchase. Like traditional business strategy states, it’s much easier to convert a current customer than recruiting a brand new one.
CRO can inform your ecommerce business as to what stage of the sales funnel you may be losing potential customers, and can help to improve sales conversions. For more information on CRO, visit Shopify’s blog post, which includes a step-by-step explanation on CRO analysis.
- Design Your Site for Mobile
By 2021, more than half of all online shopping is expected to happen on mobile devices. Many consumers prefer shopping on-the-go, which means that they resort to smartphones or other mobile devices as their online shopping vehicles. According to Techcrunch, “mobile traffic and sales are breaking records compared with years prior” and Thanksgiving has officially become one of Amazon’s busiest shopping days.
A site that is mobile optimized should offer a responsive design, where mobile users can effectively, efficiently, and easily navigate, search, select, and purchase items. For example, a mobile product page might feature a larger shopping cart graphic, so viewing the cart doesn’t require shoppers to zoom in on the page. If you’re unsure whether your site is mobile-friendly, you can utilize Google Search Console’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.
- Link Your Shop to Social Media
In the past year, Instagram has launched its shoppable posts and stories feature, which seamlessly sends traffic directly from Instagram posts to a Shopify ecommerce site. 80% of Instagram users following a business account, and with a global community of over 600 million, shoppable content is sure to drive revenue for brands on Instagram. Because consumers consistently rely on social media platforms, like Instagram, for online shopping inspiration, shoppable posts can facilitate the customer buying journey and more quickly lead them through the sales funnel.
Aside from social media’s new sales channel function, the holidays are the perfect time to launch new social media campaigns to engage your viewers and boost sales. Beef up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other pages to better integrate them into your ecommerce business. This will aid sales generation and help you promote your holiday marketing plans.
With the rush of holiday shopping right around the corner, Shopify users will need to rely on their technology capabilities in order to survive. Taking the time to prepare your ecommerce site will ensure that your business glides through the busiest selling time of the year— without a digital catastrophe.