2020 has been, and continues to be full of unknowns. We’re seeing some trends accelerated and some. This is especially true for eCommerce.
Ecommerce sales have reached an all-time high with our largest percent change in the US (18%) in 2020, totaling to a predicted $710 billion in sales. This trend is predicted to continue for Black Friday and Holiday season shopping.
During any other holiday season “we see online stores reach 40% (and in some cases 70%) increase in their total online traffic” says eCommerce expert David Crow, Ultra Commerce VP of Sales Americas. As a solutions provider with 30+ Black Fridays under his belt helping leading brands such as Nordstrom, Costco, and Best Buy, he sees this trend time and time again.
As coronavirus cases continue to increase in the US, consumer trends are showing 57% of people prefer to shop online compared to 31% in-store.
Retailers are asking what all of this means for them and how to prepare as the ready date rapidly approaches. Our answer is simple: be prepared for anything, because just like the rest of 2020, there’s likely to be some big surprises that could throw your revenue and volume predictions off.
Stakes are high this season as many retailers try to make back lost sales from the beginning of the year. There’s no room to leave money on the table. Are you ready for the 2020 holiday season?
It’s good to know the current and past trends but preparing for the unexpected can be a difficult proposition for some – if you don’t know what to look for. To help in your preparations, we’ve asked our team of eCommerce solution expert leaders to prepare a checklist for retailers.
Holiday Readiness Checklist
1. Check the performance of your online store with increased traffic
Having an online store that poses no interruption to experience during high traffic periods is a must for this holiday season. Customers expect an online store that is always available, loads in less than 3 seconds and has seamless functionality.
Having a high performing online store means you need technology that can handle both expected and unexpected peaks that holiday traffic brings. Having capability such as auto-scaling and disaster recovery could save you millions of dollars of revenue. Read our infosheet to learn how to Perform Online at Scale: 6 Must-Haves to a High Performing Store Regardless of Volume.
2. Run a health check on your availability
We’re years ahead of where eCommerce was anticipated to be, meaning customer expectations and online traffic have risen exponentially. Having an unreachable online store has two significant implications on your business – lost revenue and decreased brand trust.
Site scaling for increased web transactions
To ensure your store is always open for business, you need a Service Level Agreement of 99.999% or higher. Otherwise, you’re going to leave money on the table. Check your contract with your current eCommerce provider to be sure you’re covered.
3. Have promotions and offers across all your channels with a seamless experience
The modern buyer journey incorporates a number of different channels. Retailers need to provide an experience that seamlessly transitions from one channel to the next to build high-converting and loyal customers.
The key for retailers is not to merely add new channels, but to integrate each channel so there is a consistent, relevant customer experience.
Hitting multiple touchpoints across these channels and showcasing the same key promotions and offers to your customers makes for a high-converting channel experience.
4. Prepare for the expected peaks
Although there will be several unknowns you can’t anticipate, there are some that you can and should prepare for.
Being prepared for your high-conversion customers is easy money. Your marketing team has already done all the leg work to nurture these customers and all they need is the green light. Some buyers have the items already in their basket and are just waiting for you to send the email or run the ad saying that the sale is on.
Now, it’s your job to make sure the platform can hold all the customers.
Impact of load time when infrastructure is scaled for additional traffic with extra app node.
Anticipate these buyers. Speak with your team to forecast how many users your site will have and during what times the campaigns are being pushed out. This is an easy precaution to take, all it needs is some communication with your team.
If your platform can’t handle this, consider replatforming before the holiday season. Don’t let a system limitation get in the way of your campaign. It’s not too late, learn how to replatform in 6 weeks or less with no upfront costs.
5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Get a war room together to make the most of the holiday season. Make sure your technology is at its best, your team is aware of all the moving parts, and your eCommerce engine is ready for the strain.
Have all your teams and technology in order and communicating from the get-go. There are many features that will increase conversions during the holiday season, but if your teams and technology aren’t talking correctly it could mean all the work you have put in was for nothing.
Commerce section of site assessment findings for customer
To learn what features and capabilities will significantly increase your online conversion rates quickly, request a site assessment. Our assessment helps customers realize an increase in conversions by 25% – 49% equating to millions in increased revenue for the holiday season.
6. Prepare for the unexpected
Any holiday season sees unexpected user behavior or technology fallouts but this year, this risk has just doubled.
To prepare, you need insurance in two forms, a human team watching your online store at all times and smart technology that knows how to react to the unexpected.
Run a stress check on your platform to see if it can handle unexpected traffic. Having features such as autoscaling and a full disaster recovery plan could save your site from falling over.
Ultra Commerce 24/7/365 technical support team
Smart technology is important but having a team of experts to monitor your online store during the season is a must. Speak with your service provider about having a 24/7 in-region technical team on call and monitoring your online store during the holiday season. Make sure they are running frequent health checks to monitor the performance, scale, and security of your online store.
7. Don’t break the bank in your preparations.
Have the right infrastructure and commercials in place. Some platforms providers and on-premise servers are rigid, forcing you to pay a premium – don’t fall into this trap.
Having flexible infrastructure with flexible commercials, such as pay as you consume, means you only pay for what you need when you need it. Platform providers are then more invested in the success of your online store since they take the risk on with you.
Learn more about a pay as you go pricing model for digital commerce platforms.
You’ve heard it everywhere by now – these are uncertain times. As tired as we all may be of hearing this, it doesn’t make it any less true. But, having an eCommerce platform that is flexible with a strong support team behind it, means uncertainty doesn’t have to be so risky.
Take advantage of this holiday season and make back lost revenue with prepared eCommerce technology and teams.
Our team runs a black Friday every month for customers with billions of dollars running through our platform. Contact us and speak with eCommerce experts to discuss if you are ready for this 2020 Holiday season.