How To Prepare Online Stores For Festive Season In 5 Simple Steps
Festive season is here, and it’s here to stay for quite a long time. This period from October to December is considered as the peak time in festivities. Especially in India. Right from Navratri, Durga Puja, Diwali to Christmas. This period is regarded as the ripe time for both offline and online stores.
And why not? The online stores and businesses would want to cash in the most sales they can – in this festive season. But for the online festive sales in ecommerce sites, they need to put on some extra efforts. For spicing and grooming up their stores. Whether online or offline. The big brands have their own trademarked “days’ booked for this season. They have different names too for upping their sales game and attracting maximum buyers. And the results have been amazing too.
Taking advantage of these holidays can be tough though. Every day you’re in the trenches, marketing, managing, shipping and providing great customer service. The downside of being in the trenches of your business is usually a lack of planning for future events. For many ecommerce entrepreneurs in their first few years, this usually means missing important holidays.
So now you know why it’s important to plan for the holidays. The are a few components to an effective holiday marketing campaign. Before you begin executing on campaigns, you need to begin by planning a few critical components. So, what is it that should be done to help stay ahead of your competition and plan for the upcoming holiday season?
Here are some simple steps which you can incorporate in your site to make the best out of this season :
Secure Your Online Stores Website
Site security is an important factor for your customers to build trust on you. Trust is an important factor for a site to make its customers loyal in the long run. Securing your website will give the customers a sense of belief that their money is going in right hands. As it is an important factor in customer’s mind while making a purchase online.
Validation should always be done both on the browser and server side. The browser can catch simple failures like mandatory fields that are empty. And when you enter text into a numbers only field. These can however be bypassed. And you should make sure you check for these validation and deeper validation server side.
Studies have shown customers would not make a purchase on a site that temporarily lost the green bar SSL validation. Ensure that your website has SSL encryption certificates. To boost customer confidence and increase your site security. Also, using Trust badges/seals has been known to boost customer confidence in site security. Especially those coming from reputed online security brands. Lastly, ensure the integration of multiple payment gateways to offer a multitude of choices to your customers.
Optimize How Website Loads
Humans hate to wait. So the last thing you want is a slow-to-load website. Instead, render a more positive user experience. By optimizing your site and reducing load time across all your web pages. The key is balance. Optimizing your website load-time will fast-track your site. So you can satisfy your users’ need for speed. Without compromising the look and functionality of your pages.
Before diving in on how to optimize the load time of your web pages, you must first get clear on two things. What you have and what you want. This requires a closer investigation of your target audience, their needs. And how well your site meets those needs. Every possible site-speed profile exists on the web. Which is why you must be sensitive to your own requirements. Your efforts will only pay off when aimed at a limited segment. And when you understand the root cause of performance issues.
Accurate, low-cost monitors for page loading are readily available online. First, check with your server hosting provider. You might already be paying for this service. Once you land a monitor you like, measure the bottlenecks that matter for your site.
Optimize Customer Support
Understand the trends that are shaping the future of online stores customer service. Changes in communication usage. Mobility solutions for customer service. The rising importance of outsourcing, cloud-based technologies. And the evolving technology landscape. And then assess your current operations against best practices. To understand your strengths and pinpoint areas of opportunity. This will help you build a concrete plan for improvements. And lay out a technology adoption road map.
After you have planned, it’s time to choose. Whether to outsource customer service operations and/or technology, buy it from a vendor, or, in unique cases, build it yourself. This decision is very important. As the vendor landscape is broad, mature, and rife with mergers and acquisitions. Partnering with the right technology provider can make or break your online stores and operations.
Customer service is no longer viewed as just a cost center. All that matters is the focus on productivity, efficiency, and regulatory compliance. Instead of customer satisfaction. However, forward-thinking organizations are gradually adopting a Balanced Scorecard of metrics. That includes not only cost and compliance, but also customer satisfaction. Which is more suited to drive the right agent behaviour. And deliver outcomes better aligned to customer expectations.
Optimize Web UI
Website designers often overlook the importance of providing a pleasant environment for their online stores visitors. They succumb to the tendency to take a best guess at what visitors want, and then guess again if too many visitors click away. It could be argued that if designers guess often enough, they’ll eventually get it right; however, each wrong guess creates the obstacles on the road to profitable website conversion.
Never automatically play any sound. Visitors don’t appreciate the interruption of unnecessary pop-ups too and often don’t trust them. However, lately to use windows that gently slide-in from the side or bottom – are perceived as being more acceptable, as they provide service when needed. The browser’s cursor should change to a pointer when hovering over a link – people won’t click on a link unless they know it’s a link. Conform to the natural flow of reading – the opposite polarity should be used for right-to-left (RTL) web pages.
Visitors should never question what is happening or lose their way through your site. The shopping cart page suddenly appears, where visitors can select the quantity as well as check on the price. But if you don’t provide a way back to the exact same page (and position) where the item was initially selected, your visitors may get lost and abandon the cart. Issues with flow can also occur when you provide a link on a product page. Alternatively, by moving visitors off your site, you break the flow, requiring your visitors to navigate back to your product page on online stores.
Many ecommerce providers mistakenly assume that the online stores customer experience ends when the customer completes the checkout process. But this experience extends till the package arrives at the customer’s doorstep. As a result, shipping plays an important role in your brand’s customer experience. So, to improve the quality of the customer experience, you need to optimize shipping processes in ways that excite customers—while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing supply chain efficiency.
From free shipping for minimum order amounts to fast standard shipping and next-day or same-day delivery. Customers want the flexibility to align shipping processes with their needs and preferences. Ineffective fulfillment routines and unreliable fulfillment can jeopardize your ability to live up to the brand promise through on-time order delivery. Real-time inventory visibility, combined with advanced planning and forecasting, can mitigate the risk of shipping delays and ensure your brand’s ability to meet your customers’ high expectations.
From order processing to fulfilment to inventory management, every aspect of your logistics and shipping program needs to cut across all available channels, providing a consolidated, 360-degree view of orders, demand and merchandise. It’s time to take a closer look at new ways to optimize shipping in your organization. Faced with rising shipping costs and rising customer expectations, online retailers require strategies that enable them to leverage shipping for both business improvement and enhanced customer experiences.