Retailers and ecommerce sites make an average of 30% of their yearly revenue during their self-defined peak seasons. But, while revenues are magnified during these busy periods, so are operational losses. Many e-tailers incorrectly assume that these losses are simply an unavoidable cost of doing business. In this post, we'll point out common loss leaders so you can prepare for them and make the most of your peak season.
Revenue losses stemming from overstocks, stock-outs, and returns all increase during peak season – especially if your inventory management operations are not prepared for the increased volume. The exact solution varies, but a 3PL provider can make customized recommendations for reducing these losses.
As shopping activity rises, fraud tends to rise right along with it. Before peak season, ensure that your fraud prevention systems are updated and running as early as possible.
Operational & workforce scaling
The ability to scale your operations quickly and cost-effectively can make all the difference in maximizing peak season revenues. For many e-tailers, outsourced fulfillment services provide the flexibility and scope needed to have a profitable peak season with minimal losses.
In order to please your ecommerce customers and maintain a competitive edge, it's important to have features on your website that make it easy to shop. To improve your ecommerce site’s user experience on mobile and desktop devices, here are four features you should have:
Robust search functionality
Site search is one of the main tools customers use to navigate your site and products. If your site search bar is hard to find, hard to use, or ineffective at finding products, they’re more likely to leave without buying. First, make sure your site's search tool is prominent within your site's navigation. Then, enhance its usefulness by adding features like autocomplete, category filters, and click/tap-friendly dropdown lists. In addition, make sure all searches return results. If you don’t have an item a user is searching for, let the user know and show results for “similar products” or “other products you might like” – which are much more useful than an “item not found” message.
Write useful product descriptions
Written descriptions educate shoppers about the product's functions and features, specs and measurements, and advantages over similar products. However, you don’t want to frustrate your users with a wall of text – so keep your product descriptions short and to the point. When possible, summarize the key selling points in a bulleted list and let your images and/or videos do the rest.
Curate user reviews
While product descriptions give shoppers essential information, user reviews give a better (and sometimes more convincing) picture what it’s like to actually own and use a product. By supporting product reviews on your site, you can appeal to the growing audience of consumers who make purchasing decisions based on reviews. To get more reviews for your site, send follow-up emails or push notifications to customers after they complete a purchase.
One-click buying & single-page checkouts
A multi-step checkout process can cause shoppers to abandon their carts, so providing a speedy and simple checkout process is necessary. Make sure your site supports convenient features like guest checkout, mobile-friendly payments, and one-click payments technology.
Using web design features on your ecommerce site to streamline the shoppers' journey is a great strategy to increase conversions, reduce cart abandonment, and improve brand perception. In this post, we'll look at some features you can incorporate into your site to decrease the amount of time it takes to complete a purchase.
Requiring a login to complete a purchase can cause shoppers to abandon their carts - either because they don't want to set up an account, they can't remember their login credentials, or because the process takes too long. For returning customers, you can use a credential management API to automate the login process. The API remembers the account and signs users back in after a session expires, eliminating the need to manually login.
Simplify the checkout process
From the user’s perspective, the less time and effort they have to spend checking out, the better. Look for opportunities to reduce the number of steps or form fields in your checkout. For example, you can get rid of payment fields by enabling native web-based payments through a payment request API.
Add “buy now” buttons
Add instant buying buttons to your product pages so customers can skip the traditional checkout process. Now that Amazon's patent on one-click payments technology expired this year, you will no longer have to pay a licensing fee to add this functionality to your site.
Improve load times
There are a number of ways you can speed up your website, but these can involve cutting away features you like. Consider incorporating a progressive web app, which shows your web pages to shoppers in a way that is optimized to the device and browser they are using.
Customer feedback is vital in any business or industry – after all, the customer is always right. Acting on the feedback you collect through reviews, emails, social media, and surveys not only helps you adapt to shoppers' preferences; it also shows that you value their input. Below are some of the major areas where you can use customer feedback to make improvements.
Customer feedback can help shape your decision-making around merchandise strategy. While the exact approach will depend on your inventory and audience, it’s best to start broad. Start by examining overall customer sentiment according to product category to establish a baseline for expectations. As you narrow the focus of your customer feedback analysis, it’ll be easier to establish whether individual products or a whole category is underperforming. From there, you can discover if there are new SKUs you should be adding to your inventory, or if you should discontinue item/categories that aren’t meeting shoppers’ expectations.
Site usability & design
The UX of your ecommerce site can be one of the most important keys to its success – and customer feedback in this area can help you identify pain points and bottlenecks that you can address to improve usability and eliminate customer frustrations.
If your customer service department uses call monitoring tools, that’s an excellent resource for finding areas of the customer experience that need improvement. Reviewing customer service calls can reveal patterns or errors you may not find by manually browsing your site, such as pricing errors, frequently asked questions, or even areas where customer service reps need more training. You can also assess your customer experience by analyzing product return codes to look for common themes (this can also be useful for shaping your merchandise strategy).
Speed and convenience are the hallmarks of ecommerce. But all too often, these are not reflected in checkout - causing almost 70% of shoppers to abandon their carts at the checkout stage. Any change (however small) that you can make to improve the speed and/or convenience of your checkout guarantees a positive impact on your cart abandonment rates. In this post, we'll go over some easy-to-implement changes to make your checkout process more appealing to customers.
Trim the fat
Part of why cart abandonment rates are so high in the ecommerce industry is because, from the customer's perspective, the checkout process is the worst part of shopping online. Filling in forms, creating an account, seeing the bill – surely we can all agree that it's more fun to fill a shopping cart than empty it. From the user’s perspective, the less time and effort they have to spend in the checkout, the better. With this in mind, try to have as few form fields as possible. If your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, you may want to consider adding Guest Checkout functionality.
Add more payment options
Alternative payment options, like Google Wallet, PayPal, and Amazon Payments, are designed to securely store users’ information and drastically speed up the checkout process by eliminating the multiple form fields associated with credit card payments. Additionally, the more payment options you can accept, the more customers you can cater to.
When all else fails, you can use remarketing to get shoppers to come back to the cart they've abandoned. Whenever returning customers abandon the shopping cart, you can send out a personalized email asking them if they’d like to complete the purchase or get assistance from your customer service team. You can apply the same strategy to new customers if they've given you their email via any of the sign up incentives you have on your site. You can also use retargeted paid advertising strategies to funnel shoppers back to their abandoned carts.