Online spending will hit $910 billion this holiday season, up 11 percent year on year (Adobe Digital Economy Index.) It’s no surprise that online shopping continues to shatter expectations due to its ease and convenience. With Q4 quickly approaching, holiday planning is very important in order to set your business up for success.
Be sure to check out our eCommerce holiday trends report 2022 to help you plan for the rush!
To help you prepare for the holiday season, we’ve created this eCommerce holiday planning guide with key tips and helpful information. Skip ahead to the section that benefits you:
- Digital shopping trends in 2022
- Major eCommerce shopping holidays in Q4
- Promotional ideas to maximize profits
- Boosting CX for the holidays
- Effective customer support during Q4 and beyond
- Outsourcing during the holidays
- Scaling during the holidays
- Launching a new product in Q4
- Writing an excellent eCommerce return policy
- Holiday support with Influx
Digital shopping trends in 2022
The beginning of 2022 was a bit slow for consumers, as many people tightened their budgets due to rising inflation and fears of a recession. The good news is that the pandemic increased retail flexibility like never before. There are a few key shopping habits that you should keep an eye on to increase your sales growth in 2022 and beyond.
1. Using social platforms to shop
With the introduction of Facebook Shops in recent years, the number of users who purchase in-app is rising. According to Sprout Social’s study in 2021…
68% of shoppers bought at least one item directly from social media last year.
Social media is an integral part of most people’s lives, especially true for younger audiences. By embracing social commerce, you set your business up to outpace competition this holiday season and in upcoming years.
2. Ethical concerns impact purchase decisions
The sustainability imperative has been driven primarily by the consumer. Some even choose to spend more simply for sustainable products. Now more than ever, consumers care about environmental and social issues. Check out how five of our awesome, eco-friendly clients are fostering sustainable business practices.
3. Shoppers listen to influencers to inform purchase decisions
Hand in hand with social commerce, influencers have more power than ever in affecting purchase decisions. The expectations consumers have for influencers has been fickle in the past, but it currently requests authenticity. Buyers are no longer interested in sponsored posts that feel like ads - they desire genuine partnerships where the message doesn’t feel forced. It can take some time to find and work through a bona fide partnership, but once this agreement is set in place it creates an eCommerce opportunity to increase both social reach and boost sales.
4. Customers want and need you to respond quickly
Providing support that allows customers to reach out whenever they need assistance is vital during the holiday season. Unceasing support for your customers doesn’t need to cost a fortune or overwhelm your current team. Read more about how to provide 24/7 support here!
Major eCommerce shopping holidays in Q4
1. Black Friday (Friday, November 25, 2022) - Consumers have been shopping earlier and earlier every year in an attempt to keep their budgets in check, though traditionally, the Christmas sale season begins with Black Friday. Consistently the “Biggest Shopping Day of the Year” in the United States, Black Friday is beginning to lose traction as it shifts toward ‘Black Weekend’ - a strategic marketing decision to increase sales that can often come across as gimmicky to consumers if ‘deals’ are not worth it. Controversially, many large retail establishments open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, also known as ‘Gray Thursday’ in an attempt to maximize profits.
2. Small Business Saturday (Saturday, November 26, 2022) encourages shoppers to support small and local businesses. If you have a small to medium-sized business, this is a great opportunity to promote your brand as an alternative to larger corporations. Although giants like Amazon can be difficult to compete with, consumers are looking to keep money in their local economy and want to support smaller creators. To give you a better understanding of what type of audience you should be targeting, check out these statistics from Intuit…
45% of millennials and Gen X consumers are more likely to support local businesses by only shopping online. While 56% of people who choose to shop in-store at a small business are mostly over the age of 45.
3. Cyber Monday (Monday, November 28, 2022) has quickly become Black Friday’s online equivalent and is arguably the biggest shopping holiday for eCommerce businesses in the United States each year. If you plan to offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, it’s imperative to make sure that you have enough stock to keep up with demands.
4. Giving Tuesday (Tuesday, November 29, 2022) isn’t necessarily a heavy shopping day for eCommerce but it is a great way to improve and maintain your brand’s reputation by focusing on giving back. Consider getting involved by implementing a giving campaign that doesn’t break the bank, but be sure to let your customers know that you’re participating! When your customers see that you care about others and are not just interested in sales, it will do wonders for customer loyalty.
5. Green Monday (Monday, December 12, 2022) is known as the third-best online shopping day of the year, right behind Cyber Monday and Black Friday. This is a good time to offer your steepest discount of the year as one last reminder to buy for the holidays.
6. Christmas Day (Sunday, December 25, 2022) is when many shoppers realize they have forgotten to purchase gifts and are looking for a last-minute present. In the days after your last reminder to purchase in time to receive by Christmas, it’s a good idea to promote electronic gift cards or holiday-centered products that you most likely won’t be able to sell again for another 10 months.
Promotional ideas to maximize profits
During Q4, there are many different holidays that encourage spending. Perhaps you want to participate in all of them, or maybe you want to select a day or two to offer substantial deals. To stand out from the noise and offer a promotion your customers will want to partake in, consider the following:
- Create mystery campaigns where your customers have the chance to win a free product or a $5 gift card with a $25+ purchase.
- Send loyal/VIP customers special offers, sneak peeks, or early bird discounts.
- Launch a new product at a discounted rate.
- Put a virtual wheel on your website that customers can spin for their deal upon landing on your homepage.
- Hold a different sale every hour.
- Offer a buy-one, get-one 50% off.
Boosting CX for the holidays
Customer experience is crucial to the success of your business. During the holiday season, CX could make or break a customer’s reason to shop with you or not. Here are five of our top tips that you can easily incorporate into customer communication to boost CX. Click in to watch our full video description!
- Understand the product and customer question
- Personalize your responses
- Clarify with informative gifs and videos
- Make sure the customer feels heard
- Don’t be afraid of emojis
Taking proactive steps in solidifying your brand’s CX strategy and protocols will help keep customers satisfied and take stress off of your support team. Create a positive customer service experience for your brand today in preparation for the holidays!
Effective customer support during Q4 and beyond
There are many moving parts for a business during the busy holiday season and to make room for important responsibilities and ideas, customer support can sometimes get pushed to the back burner. However, without proper attention to effective customer support, the impacts can be devastating. According to Zendesk…
Roughly 61% of customers say they would switch to a new brand after one bad experience.
- Meet customers’ needs where they are
- Delight your customers
- Integrate all customer touchpoints with a single platform and use automation
- Give your customers the gift of self-service
- Personalize your communication with customers
- Be fast, and free when possible
- Use customer service reviews and data to track and troubleshoot for future growth
Effective customer support can differ depending on your audience and what they expect from your business. Nevertheless, we have created a guide to managing the most common eCommerce customer service complaints and questions. Feel free to read through it and take what’s valuable to you!
Your customers are the most important part of your business. By putting the effort in to consistently meet your customers’ expectations, you radically increase customer retention- and therefore revenue. Watch our customer support simplified video for more on the importance of customer support from three successful brands we’re working with!
Outsourcing during the holidays
Outsourcing, especially during the holidays, can be beneficial for a number of reasons including enhanced scalability, cost-effectiveness, access to a highly specialized workforce, and increased revenue - amongst other things.
Flexing CX teams during seasonal months and having a knowledgeable, experienced outsourcing partner helps to ensure that consumers are well-cared for and your team is supported. If you’re considering outsourcing this season, check out our complete guide to outsourcing your eCommerce customer service in 2022 to pinpoint the specific type of support you’re looking for.
Scaling during the holidays
Scaling up during the holidays allows you to add more resources to easily handle peak workloads. Then, when resources are no longer needed, scaling down lets you go back to your initial workflow and cut back on unnecessary costs when the busy season is over.
Here are our7 steps to prepare for a season of scale:
- Plan for known issues
- Onboard a support partner
- Specialize your workflow
- Communicate transparently
- Automate where you can
- Identify your most substantial support issues
- Celebrate the wins!
Influx provides an extra layer of support for your existing team. We help businesses scale by providing top-tier sales, lead development, and customer support. We can get you up and running in a week or less. Scale your business with support on demand.
Launching a new product in Q4
When it comes to holiday launches, promotion is the key to success. You’ll also want to create your launch strategy as soon as possible to thoroughly map out a successful marketing campaign and allow enough time to reach your audience at a number of different touchpoints. Utilizing our tips to drive new product sales, you can arm yourself for the holiday season with a well-thought-out marketing plan that multiplies sales and boosts conversions.
Discussed briefly, here are our 8 tips to drive new product sales:
- Accurately determine your marketing budget
- Gather your content assets
- Define your target market and ideal customer
- Collect pre-launch reviews and consider feedback in beta testing
- Build anticipation and draw out suspense across channels
- Create a waitlist
- Offer an early bird or pre-orders
- Don’t lose your momentum
Launching a new product can bring buzz and excitement focused on your brand. It can also direct traffic from current and new customers to your website which has the potential to escalate other product sales as well.
Writing an excellent eCommerce return policy
The ideal return policy for online purchases achieves a careful mix of solid business economics and client centricity. Finding this delicate line can be challenging, so we’ve mapped out how you can create a great eCommerce return policy.
Holiday support with Influx
Our experienced agents are trained to match your brand voice and seamlessly fit your current operations in as little as one week. Influx gives you scale-up capacity and provides flexibility across any channel, 24/7. Build a flexible, holiday support solution for your business that can be fully integrated into an existing workflow and team structure. Get started now!