The holiday sales season without exaggeration can be called the most important period in eCommerce.
Despite the difficult situation in the world, Deloitte forecasts an increase between 4% and 6% in total $1.45 to $1.47 trillion from November to January. Adobe estimates a generation of above 11 billion dollars for Cyber Monday and 9 billion dollars for Black Friday in online sales in the US.
This also means that you and your team need to be prepared to get the most out of those weeks of cheer.
At vConnect, when the time comes to talk about the holiday sales season with our clients, we are always looking at it through the prism of the 3 ‘cares’.
Care about your customer
Announce your Black Friday sales
Make your lovely customers happy by providing an outstanding shopping experience and telling them about the benefits and advantages of purchasing on your website.
Use different marketing channels (e.g., emails, social media, push notifications, targeting advertising, etc.) to attract your audience by providing an omnichannel experience for great deals, and discounts.
Make your site shout about the sales campaign! Use banners, and pop-ups and create thematic landing pages and categories for products that will be on sale.
Don’t forget to update the FAQ section on your website to help your customers to find answers to the most common questions regarding your sales campaign. Research shows that in most cases, customers try to solve their problems on their own before reaching the Customer Service team. So, it would be a win-win action for everyone.
Fortunately, Adobe Commerce’s Staging Content feature will become an excellent solution to manage your content upfront and release exactly on the date when the sale starts. You can read here how to utilize the feature here.
Create a sense of urgency
Use timers countdown, stock indicators, and stock availability to create a sense of urgency to push more sales (a.k.a. FOMO effect) and to be sure that end-of-sales and unexpected sold-out products won't frustrate your customers.
Avoid oversells and double-check that your website stocks are aligned with actual supplies. Be ready to reward and compensate your thwarted buyers in case such an inconvenience is caused.
Make sure you have great deals and extras
Be creative! Do not hesitate to monitor the plans of your competitors and beat them with even greater sales campaigns. Think out-of-the-box about a unique format of sales to provide an outstanding shopping experience.
A higher discount percentage on your goods is not always the most efficient way to make sales.
Free shipping, buy 2 get 3, and personalized coupon codes with a limited timeframe could open more attractive and beneficial opportunities for your customers.
If you know that people have a warm feeling after they hear the name of your brand - do not underestimate its superpower!
Add extra value! For such an audience, a small, branded gift from their favorite brand will be the icing on the cake! For example, stickers or samples.
Implement Gift Card feature
Some customers will look for gifts for their family and friends. And for some of them, it could be a hard choice to select a gift.
Utilize Adobe Commerce Gift Cards feature to make it easier for them and to bring a potentially new loyal customer to your store.
Infom customers of extended delivery times
If you are aware that during sales your warehouse is expecting higher demands and needs more time to fulfill orders avoid frustrated customers by informing them upfront, for example displaying a notice in the checkout or in a small bar at the top of the website.
Care about your platform
The most critical thing that could happen during a sales rush is that your website is down.
Thousands of customers will continuously refresh their page in a browser, while your tech team is frustrated trying to figure out the root cause of an issue.
The key to avoiding such a situation and minimizing the negative impact is to be prepared.
- Do not release any major updates right before sales. Try to make a code freeze on your website at least 2 weeks before the sales campaign and make sure that all key functionality has been double - or even triple-tested.
- Identify the size of your website traffic and verify with your tech team that the website can handle it.
- Let you technical team run stress and performance tests to simulate similar loads on the platform to make sure it is fully functional in the peak period.
- We recommend doing a technical review of website performance a few months before sales to find and resolve any possible bottlenecks.
- Increase the capacity of your platform in times of sales rush to match expected traffic. If you are using on-premise hosting - multi-tenant server architecture could be a key for scaling your platform up in the most important period of the year.
- If you are using cloud solutions - consult with your provider regarding the capability and traffic that you expect.
The speed of your website front-end is no less critical than the server back-end speed.
Use services like Lighthouse or Google Page Speed Insights to resolve as many front-end performance issues as possible to be sure that your visitors receive the best mobile and desktop shopping experience.
- Utilize all possible Magento caches including Varnish full-page caching. Try not to flush caches during peak hours while in a sales campaign.
- I have experience with websites where a few tens of thousands of visitors blew up the site in a moment after the ‘Flush all caches’ button was clicked in the Magento admin panel.
- Make sure you are having proper monitoring for your platform. In case of any emergency, your team will be notified immediately if a problem occurs.
This is how you can manage customers’ expectations and avoid hundreds of frustrated customers calling your Customer Service team and complaining about some issues.
If, for some reason, you cannot temporarily scale your shop or do not have time to prepare the platform for sales, utilize ‘Virtual Queue’ solutions which would ask your customers to wait in a queue before reaching the site in case the traffic reaches the platform capacity.
Care about your team
The worst your team could experience is starting to prepare for sales in the ‘last moment’. People will be stressed out and, as a result, tend to make more mistakes.
Make sure you create plans for the sales campaign upfront and share them with your team.
Do not try to fit into the ‘zero time' and always reserve some buffer in the plan.
Be ready that some great ideas require more time for implementation and it’s better to leave them for the next season, rather than test on live during an active sales campaign, just to find out there are bugs with the new feature.
Talk with your tech team
Discuss with your tech team to have someone duty while running big campaigns, so you will always have people in standby mode in case of an emergency or critical bug.
This is much better than trying to find someone during non-working hours if an incident happens and every minute will cause a loss in sales.
Equip your Customer Support team
Make sure your Customer Support team is equipped with everything they require to do their job successfully (services, tools, etc.) and that they know everything about your sales and how to handle different scenarios. If there is a longer than usual wait time for customers to get through on chat or phone, inform them where they find this information so that they are prepared.
You can also higher seasonal or temporary workers, or make use of outsources customer care team for a limited time. This way, your customer support team won't be overworked, and can continue to provide a high level of service during and after sales.
Have fun and enjoy
And the most important is to have fun! Do not forget to cheer your team on and motivate them.
Sometimes, ordering pizza and the words “thank you” could be a key factor in motivating everyone working on your shop during sales. Happy employees results in happy and loyal customers.