Posted by Rob Coon, President of Dydacomp
Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means that the holiday shopping rush is upon all merchants that take and process orders in online shopping carts, offline or through multiple channels. Most retailers, including catalog fulfillment and traditional brick-and-mortar stores, have thoughtfully and strategically planned for the 2010 holiday season and are anxiously anticipating results from their tireless efforts. For those that concentrated on ecommerce and online shopping carts, the forecast looks good.
Ecommerce sales for this holiday season are expected to increase 14.3% from last year, according to eMarketer, with an expected $51.4 billion in ecommerce spending during the 4th quarter of 2010. This increase in expected ecommerce spending is a direct result of consumers’ willingness to make purchases online. eMarketer predicts that customers are 58% more likely to buy gifts online and more than 46% of online retailers are expecting a double digit online revenue growth this holiday season.
The opportunity for ecommerce revenue is at an all time high, but in order to capitalize on this potential, retailers must ensure that their ecommerce stores are able to offer consumers an optimal shopping experience. Many miss out on important sales opportunities by overlooking the importance of tools to provide their customers with the best online shopping experience possible. Many fail to realize that additions to ecommerce stores, such as product reviews, personalized shopping experiences like wishlists, social networking integration, database driven cross-sells and recommendations, substitute items, and easy-to-navigate stores, can make all the difference.
The focus for this holiday season should revolve around going above and beyond customers’ expectations. This involves keeping your ecommerce store dynamic with new features that can help to attract customers. For example, consumers respond well to buyer reviews, multiple product images, zoom functions, and much more. It is also a good idea to provide customers with personalized promotional messages as an attempt to drive them to your site.
Once a customer visits your site, make sure it is easy to navigate and purchase products. Customers are likely to abandon their shopping cart if they feel it is too difficult or time consuming to purchase items. To help you gain a better understanding of your customers, monitor your site activity and performance with services like Google Analytics to ensure that you are able to make improvements to enhance customer experiences.
Though the next month is a crucial time to capture sales, it is important to remember that many consumers will continue to shop and spend into January. Therefore, retailers must continue their efforts beyond the holiday season into the new year to capture more ecommerce revenue.
Consumers are more willing than ever to shop online and therefore ecommerce merchants have a real opportunity to enjoy their best online shopping season yet and a 2011 that is even better.
Look forward to your comments about the 2010 holiday season and things you are doing in your ecommerce store and online shopping cart to help your 2011.