It’s beginning to look a lot like… well maybe not just quite yet, but the 2016 holiday season will be here before you know it. While most people are thinking about pumpkin spiced lattes and their new flannel shirts, online retailers are already gearing up for what’s to be the biggest ecommerce holiday season yet. With November right around the corner, here at Blueport Commerce we are making a list (and checking it twice) to help online furniture retailers prepare for this upcoming season.
#1 Optimize Your Mobile Experience
It’s no surprise that mobile has erupted as a major shopping channel and continues to outpace desktop in YoY revenue and traffic growth. 82% of customers this year will use their mobile device while shopping inside a brick and mortar store to compare products and conduct research1. Retailers across the Blueport Platform have seen impressive mobile results during the peak holidays. For instance, during Presidents’ Day last February, retailers leveraging our technology saw a 65% increase in mobile revenue YoY, which accounted for 35% of total platform revenue.
It’s crucial that your retail store has an optimized mobile site that allows customers to research products, utilize a store locator or complete a seamless checkout process from their mobile device. As consumers have been accustomed to getting what they want when they want it, a responsive mobile site is key to driving mobile site engagement and capturing increased revenues.
#2 Prepare to Fight Fraudsters
It’s no coincidence that fraud attempt rates peaked on Christmas Eve in 20152. As the holiday season drives strong growth in revenue and traffic for ecommerce retailers, it also attracts cyber crooks. Last year, fraudulent attempts were up 8% YoY 3 during the holiday season which presents a major challenge to online retailers. Segments that were targeted the most for fraud included electronic gift cards, the “buy online/pick up in-store” option, and international transactions. Make sure your fraud systems and resources are in place and prepared to approve good orders, reduce customer friction, and minimize risk when fraudulent activity spikes this holiday season.
#3 Deck Your Site with Boughs of Holly
Gift buying and special deals are top of mind for your customers come holiday season. Take advantage of this opportunity and tailor your site content to capture these customers. For example, change your email sign-up messaging to copy relevant to the holidays—something like “be the first to know about holiday deals.” Keep close tabs on product availability and prominently call out which items can be ordered now for delivery before the holidays (remember, your shoppers’ online experience should match the in-store experience!).
And remember that the occasional brand message (without any offers or discounts) will help you stand out from the noisy competition, reminding your most loyal customers why they love you so much.
#4 Offer Free Shipping, Financing and Special Off-Hours Promotions
Because standard delivery fees are very high in the furniture industry, a free delivery offer can easily make or break a sale—we already know 44% of shoppers won’t convert if delivery costs are too high and 73% of shoppers want free shipping4. Free delivery promotions can prevent customers from abandoning the site during the checkout process and are effective in driving stronger conversion rates. Finding the optimum threshold amount that will qualify orders for free delivery will lead to less abandonments and an increased average order value.
Another major barrier of high ticket items during the holiday season comes down to consumer spending. Many shoppers have tight holiday budgets that do not lend themselves to big ticket items, like furniture. Providing flexible finance plans will allow budget-conscious customers the financial means to convert on a higher priced item while not cutting into their entire budget.
While your brick-and-mortar stores can’t stay open all the time, your online store is open 24/7! Take advantage of these hours and boost sales with special online promotions in off-hours. Begin early, or extend special, time-sensitive deals to capture late-night shoppers or those customers who want to shop during the holidays when stores are closed.
Make your holidays merrier this year by staying ahead of the last minute crowd. Planning ahead and putting these optimizations into motion now will position your online business for a rewarding and successful holiday season. If you’re looking for some last minute help for the holidays, our Marketing, Merchandising and Fraud Prevention teams are ready to talk with you about driving sales this holiday season.