The Kensium 2021 Ecommerce Holiday Readiness Guide

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The Kensium 2021 Ecommerce Holiday Readiness Guide

02/09/2021 Categories: Articles

The Time To Start Holiday Prep is Now. The holidays, AKA the most enormous time of year for ecommerce, are coming up and it's time to start preparing NOW. Like the previous year and the year before that, this year has shown monster growth in the ecommerce industry. It will be a lot to handle, so we've created our annual expert guide to ensure you and your customers have a delightful holiday season. We broke down the top 5 issues we believe you need to address running up to the holiday season efficiently and concisely, with a full infographic at the end to tie everything all together (and to keep for easy reference). Check it out! Holiday Issue #1: Steep Increase in Traffic The "Cyber 5", aka the five-day shopping weekend that begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends the following Tuesday, are the peak shopping days for your business all year. It also means a massive outpouring of site visitors. According to Deloitte, "At 62%, online retailers are the top holiday destination for shoppers."  You need to make sure your website can handle the traffic; there is no worse nightmare for an ecommerce business owner than a site outage during the Cyber 5. Our Recommendation:  Reliable hosting services and infrastructure are crucial to your site's ability to handle any influx of traffic, whether you expect it or not. Your eCommerce hosting service affects almost everything involved with the online shopping experience, so you need to be confident you're receiving the following benefits from your hosting service: Stellar website speed with the ability to scale according to increasing traffic. A trustworthy payment gateway. Security of customer data and backup. Excellent technical know-how and support from the hosting service. If you feel that your hosting service is not providing these advantages, it's time to work with them on changing that. Otherwise, it's time to start looking for a new hosting service. Additionally, ensure you have more than enough inventory prepared, especially for popular items; increased customer means more merchandise on hand.  The Issue in a Nutshell: Holiday Issue #2: Audit Your Site and Page load speed It may not seem like a big deal, but even a second too long of page load speed can turn a customer away from your website. The amount of options customers have online means they can always find an alternative with a more usable website.  Slow page load speed can cause a snowball effect. Skyrocketing bounce rates are in direct correlation to slower page load speed. As a result, search engine algorithms crawling your site will conclude that users don't receive much value from the page, resulting in slipping search rankings.  The checkout page is of crucial importance: if the checkout is even a little bit slower than your direct competition's, you will inevitably lose customers. "A 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%," according to LoadStorm.  Our Recommendation: First things first, monitor daily activity on your website and record the uptime of each page. Using that data, determine if you are reaching expectations or need to start looking at the problem.  Low page speed can come from several places, including complicated webpage design, bandwidth in motion, too many page elements, etc. However, these are easy to identify and fix based on uptime tracking and the site log. Harder to pinpoint are minor errors that may be having a considerable effect.  Kensium is partners with Noibu, an Ecommerce error monitoring platform. By actively monitoring daily activity on your website, Noibu records precisely where a checkout didn't go through or a page timed out due to server issues. Through just a single audit from Noibu, you can determine what the problem may be.  The Issue In A Nutshell:   Holiday Issue #3: Customer Experience Take a good hard look at your current customer experience. Go through it from start to checkout and note where you can improve your design and copy's ability to hook customers. The main idea is to make the site as easy as possible to navigate, with minimal bells and whistles (if it fits with your brand).  Our Recommendation: We recommend a more minimalist approach in general, but it might not

holiday ecommerce tips

before that, this year has shown monster growth in the ecommerce industry. It will be a lot to handle, so we've created our annual expert guide to ensure you and your customers have a delightful holiday season.

We broke down the top 5 issues we believe you need to address running up to the holiday season efficiently and concisely, with a full infographic at the end to tie everything all together (and to keep for easy reference). Check it out!

Holiday Issue #1: Steep Increase in Traffic

holiday readiness image 1

The "Cyber 5", aka the five-day shopping weekend that begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends the following Tuesday, are the peak shopping days for your business all year. It also means a massive outpouring of site visitors.

According to Deloitte, "At 62%, online retailers are the top holiday destination for shoppers." 
You need to make sure your website can handle the traffic; there is no worse nightmare for an ecommerce business owner than a site outage during the Cyber 5.

Our Recommendation: 

Reliable hosting services and infrastructure are crucial to your site's ability to handle any influx of traffic, whether you expect it or not. Your eCommerce hosting service affects almost everything involved with the online shopping experience, so you need to be confident you're receiving the following benefits from your hosting service:

  • Stellar website speed with the ability to scale according to increasing traffic.
  • A trustworthy payment gateway.
  • Security of customer data and backup.
  • Excellent technical know-how and support from the hosting service.

If you feel that your hosting service is not providing these advantages, it's time to work with them on changing that. Otherwise, it's time to start looking for a new hosting service.

Additionally, ensure you have more than enough inventory prepared, especially for popular items; increased customer means more merchandise on hand. 

The Issue in a Nutshell:

Increased traffic

Holiday Issue #2: Audit Your Site and Page load speed

page load speed
It may not seem like a big deal, but even a second too long of page load speed can turn a customer away from your website. The amount of options customers have online means they can always find an alternative with a more usable website. 

Slow page load speed can cause a snowball effect. Skyrocketing bounce rates are in direct correlation to slower page load speed. As a result, search engine algorithms crawling your site will conclude that users don't receive much value from the page, resulting in slipping search rankings. 

The checkout page is of crucial importance: if the checkout is even a little bit slower than your direct competition's, you will inevitably lose customers. "A 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%," according to LoadStorm

Our Recommendation:

First things first, monitor daily activity on your website and record the uptime of each page. Using that data, determine if you are reaching expectations or need to start looking at the problem. 

Low page speed can come from several places, including complicated webpage design, bandwidth in motion, too many page elements, etc. However, these are easy to identify and fix based on uptime tracking and the site log. Harder to pinpoint are minor errors that may be having a considerable effect. 
noibu kensium partnership

Kensium is partners with Noibu, an Ecommerce error monitoring platform. By actively monitoring daily activity on your website, Noibu records precisely where a checkout didn't go through or a page timed out due to server issues. Through just a single audit from Noibu, you can determine what the problem may be. 

The Issue In A Nutshell:

 Page Load Speed

Holiday Issue #3: Customer Experience

Customer Experience Graphic

Take a good hard look at your current customer experience. Go through it from start to checkout and note where you can improve your design and copy's ability to hook customers. The main idea is to make the site as easy as possible to navigate, with minimal bells and whistles (if it fits with your brand). 

Our Recommendation:

We recommend a more minimalist approach in general, but it might not work for your company and its brand. When we say "Minimalist," we don't mean a type of art style or a complete lack of color. What's important is that the website's layout and navigation are user-friendly. 

Think about mobile users most of all. According to Qubit, "35.7% of consumers most often shop on mobile." Make sure your mobile site is rock-solid by doing A/B testing comparing mobile pages to the desktop experience. 

One more tip: If you are running promotions, think about the most prominent areas you can place across the buying journey without overwhelming the customer. 

The Issue In a Nutshell:

Customer Experience

Holiday Issue #4: Personalized Promotions

ecommerce shopping tags

Personalization is not a new concept; it has been in the service industry for years. A simple example would be a waiter in the restaurant who knows the customer by name, greets them personally, knows their food preferences, and keeps their favorite table at the ready. 

This is possible because the customer is a repeat customer, and the restaurant has gathered enough information about the customer to personalize their experience. The idea is to replicate this level of personalization online for your customers. 

Our Recommendation:

An effective way to personalize during the holidays is by presenting the deals and promotions relevant to specific customer groups. You can find the most effective time and place to employ promotions during the shopping journey through site behavior analysis. 

  • Gather data in the lead-up to the holidays: Ask site visitors (via surveys and pop-ups) who they plan to shop for in 2021.
  • By assigning customer profiles to each buyer, you can tag them as a group and send promotional content relevant to that customer group and personality type. 
  • Keywords factor into this too. Search phrases like 'holiday gifts for new dads,' for example, are popular during the holiday season. All should be detailed with the likely recipient of the gift.

These practices can help you edge past your competition.

The Issue in a Nutshell:

Personalized Promotions

Holiday issue #5: Visual Merchandising

Visual Merchandising

In-store visual merchandising is a time-honored marketing concept. It can be as simple as putting the most popular products front and center, or more complex; special show, activity, or presentation that's done in-store.

What about online? How do you replicate that type of visual merchandising experience on a website? The goal is to keep the customer engaged 100% on the website, from start to finish. 

Our Recommendation:

IntelligenceNode states that "Visuals increase message retention by 42%". We say act on this!

Create clear prompts and an intuitive layout that guides shoppers throughout the website. Use a complementary color scheme to please the eye and cast models who fit the brand persona. 

Nowadays, online product cards are practically editorials featuring captivating color schemes and product descriptions that align with a singular brand language to drive sales.

Regardless of how you're selling, striking visual architecture makes the store welcoming, so shoppers feel excited to explore!

The Issue In A Nutshell:

Visual Merchandising

Wrap-Up:

We don't have to tell you about what kind of year 2020 was, but this year's holiday mood is decidedly more hopeful. After the COVID-19 outbreak prevented many Americans from seeing their loved ones during the holidays, everyone is pumped up and ready for the holidays to start. 

We are too, but it's also our job to inform our ecommerce friends what actions they need to take before the Cyber 5 rolls around. That's why we created this handy infographic you’re free to use as a checklist or reference to this blog!

holiday ecommerce infographic

From All of Us at Kensium to You, We Wish You A Very Happy Holiday Season!

Tags

Body

The Time To Start Holiday Prep is Now.

The holidays, AKA the most enormous time of year for ecommerce, are coming up and it's time to start preparing NOW. Like the previous year and the year before that, this year has shown monster growth in the ecommerce industry. It will be a lot to handle, so we've created our annual expert guide to ensure you and your customers have a delightful holiday season.

We broke down the top 5 issues we believe you need to address running up to the holiday season efficiently and concisely, with a full infographic at the end to tie everything all together (and to keep for easy reference). Check it out!

Holiday Issue #1: Steep Increase in Traffic

holiday readiness image 1

The "Cyber 5", aka the five-day shopping weekend that begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends the following Tuesday, are the peak shopping days for your business all year. It also means a massive outpouring of site visitors.

According to Deloitte, "At 62%, online retailers are the top holiday destination for shoppers." 
You need to make sure your website can handle the traffic; there is no worse nightmare for an ecommerce business owner than a site outage during the Cyber 5.

Our Recommendation: 

Reliable hosting services and infrastructure are crucial to your site's ability to handle any influx of traffic, whether you expect it or not. Your eCommerce hosting service affects almost everything involved with the online shopping experience, so you need to be confident you're receiving the following benefits from your hosting service:

  • Stellar website speed with the ability to scale according to increasing traffic.
  • A trustworthy payment gateway.
  • Security of customer data and backup.
  • Excellent technical know-how and support from the hosting service.

If you feel that your hosting service is not providing these advantages, it's time to work with them on changing that. Otherwise, it's time to start looking for a new hosting service.

Additionally, ensure you have more than enough inventory prepared, especially for popular items; increased customer means more merchandise on hand. 

The Issue in a Nutshell:

Increased traffic

Holiday Issue #2: Audit Your Site and Page load speed

page load speed
It may not seem like a big deal, but even a second too long of page load speed can turn a customer away from your website. The amount of options customers have online means they can always find an alternative with a more usable website. 

Slow page load speed can cause a snowball effect. Skyrocketing bounce rates are in direct correlation to slower page load speed. As a result, search engine algorithms crawling your site will conclude that users don't receive much value from the page, resulting in slipping search rankings. 

The checkout page is of crucial importance: if the checkout is even a little bit slower than your direct competition's, you will inevitably lose customers. "A 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%," according to LoadStorm

Our Recommendation:

First things first, monitor daily activity on your website and record the uptime of each page. Using that data, determine if you are reaching expectations or need to start looking at the problem. 

Low page speed can come from several places, including complicated webpage design, bandwidth in motion, too many page elements, etc. However, these are easy to identify and fix based on uptime tracking and the site log. Harder to pinpoint are minor errors that may be having a considerable effect. 
noibu kensium partnership

Kensium is partners with Noibu, an Ecommerce error monitoring platform. By actively monitoring daily activity on your website, Noibu records precisely where a checkout didn't go through or a page timed out due to server issues. Through just a single audit from Noibu, you can determine what the problem may be. 

The Issue In A Nutshell:

 Page Load Speed

Holiday Issue #3: Customer Experience

Customer Experience Graphic

Take a good hard look at your current customer experience. Go through it from start to checkout and note where you can improve your design and copy's ability to hook customers. The main idea is to make the site as easy as possible to navigate, with minimal bells and whistles (if it fits with your brand). 

Our Recommendation:

We recommend a more minimalist approach in general, but it might not work for your company and its brand. When we say "Minimalist," we don't mean a type of art style or a complete lack of color. What's important is that the website's layout and navigation are user-friendly. 

Think about mobile users most of all. According to Qubit, "35.7% of consumers most often shop on mobile." Make sure your mobile site is rock-solid by doing A/B testing comparing mobile pages to the desktop experience. 

One more tip: If you are running promotions, think about the most prominent areas you can place across the buying journey without overwhelming the customer. 

The Issue In a Nutshell:

Customer Experience

Holiday Issue #4: Personalized Promotions

ecommerce shopping tags

Personalization is not a new concept; it has been in the service industry for years. A simple example would be a waiter in the restaurant who knows the customer by name, greets them personally, knows their food preferences, and keeps their favorite table at the ready. 

This is possible because the customer is a repeat customer, and the restaurant has gathered enough information about the customer to personalize their experience. The idea is to replicate this level of personalization online for your customers. 

Our Recommendation:

An effective way to personalize during the holidays is by presenting the deals and promotions relevant to specific customer groups. You can find the most effective time and place to employ promotions during the shopping journey through site behavior analysis. 

  • Gather data in the lead-up to the holidays: Ask site visitors (via surveys and pop-ups) who they plan to shop for in 2021.
  • By assigning customer profiles to each buyer, you can tag them as a group and send promotional content relevant to that customer group and personality type. 
  • Keywords factor into this too. Search phrases like 'holiday gifts for new dads,' for example, are popular during the holiday season. All should be detailed with the likely recipient of the gift.

These practices can help you edge past your competition.

The Issue in a Nutshell:

Personalized Promotions

Holiday issue #5: Visual Merchandising

Visual Merchandising

In-store visual merchandising is a time-honored marketing concept. It can be as simple as putting the most popular products front and center, or more complex; special show, activity, or presentation that's done in-store.

What about online? How do you replicate that type of visual merchandising experience on a website? The goal is to keep the customer engaged 100% on the website, from start to finish. 

Our Recommendation:

IntelligenceNode states that "Visuals increase message retention by 42%". We say act on this!

Create clear prompts and an intuitive layout that guides shoppers throughout the website. Use a complementary color scheme to please the eye and cast models who fit the brand persona. 

Nowadays, online product cards are practically editorials featuring captivating color schemes and product descriptions that align with a singular brand language to drive sales.

Regardless of how you're selling, striking visual architecture makes the store welcoming, so shoppers feel excited to explore!

The Issue In A Nutshell:

Visual Merchandising

Wrap-Up:

We don't have to tell you about what kind of year 2020 was, but this year's holiday mood is decidedly more hopeful. After the COVID-19 outbreak prevented many Americans from seeing their loved ones during the holidays, everyone is pumped up and ready for the holidays to start. 

We are too, but it's also our job to inform our ecommerce friends what actions they need to take before the Cyber 5 rolls around. That's why we created this handy infographic you’re free to use as a checklist or reference to this blog!

holiday ecommerce infographic

From All of Us at Kensium to You, We Wish You A Very Happy Holiday Season!

Tags
 
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