With hope of a less stressful holiday season, consumers have shopping on their minds. In fact, according to a webinar from Digital Commerce 360, 26% of shoppers plan to buy earlier than usual this year and 37% plan to start before October (which is now!) In a recent projection by Deloitte, retail sales could rise 7%-9% on top of 2020’s 5.8% growth.
With the prospective surge in sales fast approaching, we wanted to provide you with our top 5 tips on getting prepared for the holiday season.
Tip #1: Offer free shipping
For better or worse, customers have become accustomed to free shipping policies. With the advent of Amazon Prime and other services that allow for no shipping costs, it’s important to weigh the option of offering it for your subscribers. In fact, 71% of consumers say free shipping is the biggest motivator in purchasing a product. To enable this, you can set shipping rates to free or a custom rate within Recharge settings. You can also further customize by designating specific products or a cart threshold that customers need to meet in order to qualify.
Tip #2: Offer expedited shipping
This year, 23% of merchants will offer expedited shipping. With that number so low, offering shipping options to get packages faster will set you apart from your competitors and help you stand out to your customers. To set this up, visit your Recharge settings to adjust your shipping offerings. We also offer third-party integrations for more granular options.
Tip #3: Position your product for the holidays
Retailers predict that 58% of consumers will buy more as they travel to see family for the holiday season. Be sure to frame the product conversation around bringing people together through your goods or services. Offering gift-box options or ways for customers’ friends and families to also use your products is a great way to make more than one first impression. Be sure to leverage communication channels such as email, social media and SMS to get in front of your customers more easily. Your website should also reflect the season appropriately and you should highlight your holiday offerings up front to generate excitement.
Tip #4: Bring the in-store experience online
Traditionally, consumers have flocked to brick & mortar retail locations to check off their holiday shopping list. Over the last 18 months, many consumers have found comfort in being able to shop online, versus battle the crowds. According to the Berkeley Research Group, nearly 60% of shoppers will use a mix of online and in-store for the holidays, where almost a quarter of all shoppers (24%) will shop entirely online. One way to bring the in-store experience online is to offer personalized services like virtual shopping appointments. These appointments create an intimate experience where your customer can feel as though they are getting the benefits of both being in-store, but also from the comfort of their homes. Shockingly, only 10% of apparel companies currently offer online appointments which means there is a huge opportunity for your business to offer a differentiated experience.
Tip #5: Get ahead of the inventory challenge
We all know this year is going to be a bit more challenging from a logistics perspective. With fewer workers, raw material shortages and increased demand, this ultimately leads to higher costs for your business. We recommend getting merchandise closer to the source of demand, communicating shipping delays early and often and allowing for pre-orders. Ensuring customers are aware of the potential delays and sending regular updates helps mitigate concern over not getting their packages on time. If you foresee a cut-off deadline for orders to be in in order for them to be shipped in time for the holidays, indicate that ahead of time, and in the checkout process so your customers can have the information up front.
Making your list, and checking it twice
Remember, the most important thing to prep for the upcoming holiday season is communication. Giving your customers effective, timely communication is imperative to maintaining an excellent customer experience throughout the entire process.