E-Commerce Tips for the 2016 Holiday Season
Mobile commerce, after all, is growing at a faster rate than e-commerce. As of February 2016, nearly 80% of all U.S. mobile users owned smartphones, and vast numbers of them are becoming more and more comfortable with their devices. Indeed, in yet another industry first, smartphones accounted for more traffic to retail sites in Q1 2016 than computers did. Furthermore, over half of online retail searches now start on smartphones, and it’s estimated that, by the end of 2017, they’ll be used for 60% of all retail visits.
Clearly, retailers will need to keep optimizing their e-commerce and m-commerce channels throughout the 2016 holiday season (and beyond). While their plans for the Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday should already be well underway, there are a few preparatory actions that they might still consider (or confirm).
Treat customers like friends. That doesn’t mean giving them items below cost, but it does mean addressing them by name, whenever possible, and alerting individual shoppers to deals of specific interest to them. Every shopper should be told about a sitewide free shipping offer, for instance, but customers with a history of purchasing (or even just pondering) a particular item should be alerted whenever that item — and/or related products — are on sale. These might seem like small touches, but they can go a long way toward building loyalty.
Resolve their pain points. Shipping costs have long been the biggest deal-breaker for online shoppers, and return shipping charges aren’t far behind. Retailers might therefore consider joining the 60% or so of stores that will offer free shipping and return shipping over the holidays. At the very least, they should provide a mix of convenient delivery and/or pick-up options, since nearly 40% of consumers plan to use “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPUS) services. Again, making things a little easier for shoppers can help bring them back.
Tom Caporaso is the CEO of premium loyalty solutions pioneer Clarus Commerce, with over 24 years of experience in the retail, e-business and customer loyalty industries. Appointed Clarus’ Chief Executive Officer in 2011, Tom’s leadership has led to exceptional growth for the once 10-person start-up which now boasts over 90 employees.
Under Tom’s guidance, Clarus has cultivated partnerships with brands and retailers such as MasterCard, FedEx, Bluestem Brands and Good Housekeeping; creating and managing premium loyalty programs that reward both the brand and its customers.
Caporaso is a noted expert in the retail, customer loyalty and e-commerce industries who contributes regularly to Nasdaq and has been frequently featured in numerous other outlets.