By Zohar Gilad, InstantSearch+
The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s is typically reserved for family dinners, hot chocolate, and snowball fights. But retailers are not on hiatus once the gifts are unwrapped.
What started as Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) in the United Kingdom, now extends to the six days between Dec. 26 and Dec. 31 globally. Boxing Week, or “the week after Christmas,” has quietly become the third biggest shopping week of the season in some countries. Retailers slash prices to clear out the year's stock, and buyers are on the lookout and ready to spend on bargains.
In its Annual December Holiday Consumer Survey 2019, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that 68% of holiday consumers were expected to shop the week after Christmas. With U.S. online sales for November and December 2020 forecasted to reach $189 billion—a 33% YOY record-breaking increase and the equivalent of two years’ growth in one season—-there’s reason to believe that the week that wraps up the holiday shopping season will surpass previous years as well.
For retailers that missed the mark during the season’s biggest shopping days, the week between Christmas and New Year’s offers an opportunity to play catch-up. Even if you’ve been successful, this is a great time to pivot and re-evaluate your selling strategy.
Before the calendar turns, take these steps for one final boost in 2020 sales.
Strategic Collection Merchandising
Because online purchasing lacks the sensory experience of a physical store, eCommerce leaders must compensate for the absence of perceptible input like touch, smell, and taste. Since more than 80% of product views occur when shoppers are exploring collections online, strategic online merchandisers must incorporate the art, science and data needed to successfully increase conversions and average order value (AOV). Merchandising can be done manually, using rules, or AI. There are many merchandising strategies that can be employed and tested, including:
- Cross-merchandising: Group together products that complement one another with similar colors, styles, and designs to create a clean look.
- Push high-stock and high-conversion items up top for increased visibility, boosting the likelihood that the items will sell. This also works for high-inventory items, helping to prevent dreaded surplus and heavy discounting.
- Margin optimization: Interweave high-margin items with best sellers to create desire and maximize margins.
Personalizing Search And Collections
Personalization is one of the most abused words in eCommerce. So, what’s new? Unlike old school personalization that is costly and slow to implement, new AI-driven technology has significantly driven cost down while accelerating adoption. Personalizing collections, search, cross-sell and upsell recommendations are done today by literally flipping a switch. Some packages are even integrated with email marketing to convert shopper signals into email marketing in real-time. The goal is to reach alignment between what the shopper is interested in purchasing, and what the merchant is interested in selling.
Research finds that 77% of online shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer that provides a user-friendly mobile experience, facilitating quicker purchasing decisions. Combined with the fact that 53.9% of all retail eCommerce is expected to be generated via m-commerce in 2021, and it is critical to reduce friction at all turns, meeting buyers on the device in hand - pun intended - in the moment of desire.
Research finds that making products easy to find through simple search and navigation is the most important attribute of the online shopping experience for 61% of shoppers. So if your mobile site search is weak, begin by taking these steps:
- Make your mobile search box visible and open by assigning it prime real estate. Ensure the search box is obvious on the small mobile screen so mobile shoppers can easily find what they are looking for quickly, accelerating conversion.
- Use rich autocomplete with error-correction to engage shoppers. In addition to saving time, this implicitly assures the shopper that they’re in the right place, since they are not the only one searching for this particular term, phrase, or item. Autocomplete on a mobile device holds even greater importance, since screen real-estate is scarce, and smartphone typing is error-prone and somewhat harder to execute, compared to desktop. Help your shoppers and in return, they’ll help you.
It’s been a long season but at the very least, ensure the basics are covered: ensure your checkout process is streamlined, user-friendly and technically sound. Implement an effective cart abandonment email campaign—sometimes shoppers just need a little nudge to complete a purchase. Take some time to verify the basic strategies are in place and avoid simple mistakes that can trip up your strong finish to the year.
Though the 2020 holiday shopping bonanza is almost done, don’t wait to employ these tips for greater success during the week following Christmas - and all year round. But in order to prepare for a more fruitful season in 2021, prioritize your online strategy all year-round. Things change very quickly, and success means having the ability to change with it.
About The Author
Zohar is an experienced technology entrepreneur and executive. In 2013, Zohar cofounded Fast Simon, Inc. (the company behind InstantSearch+), leveraging his experience to bring state-of-the-art site search to millions of publishers and e-tailers at an affordable cost.
Throughout his career, Zohar has been the driving force behind over 20 software products that have since been used by millions of users worldwide. Zohar has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Technion, Israel, and an MBA from INSEAD, France.