The holiday season has officially started with eCommerce sites like Amazon.com and Walmart offering advance Christmas sales. For online retailers, the holidays are an opportunity for more sales and increased profitability.
Online sellers should be prepared for the potential challenges during the holiday season to maintain such a revenue stream.
To give you an idea of some of these issues online sellers encounter during the peak holiday season, here are some typical holiday challenges that contribute to poor customer service, low engagement, and sales conversion of an online retail business.
Holiday Challenges Faced By Online Retailers – Common Christmas Sale Issues
Bad User Experience
Bad user experience or “Bad UX” is one of the issues online retailers encounter when running an online business. When customers shop online, they seek convenience, which is why your eCommerce website must be user-friendly.
Customers will likely leave your website when your eCommerce site is too slow to load or has poor design and navigation. Such inefficiencies influence your engagement and sales conversion.
Optimizing your eCommerce website is the most logical approach online retailers must take. However, before performing some optimization, you should take a consultative approach to improve the user experience of shoppers.
Try to ask customers what they dislike about your website interface. From thereon, you can perform the necessary optimization or updates to provide a better customer experience.
Some of the essential website optimizations you can introduce to your online business includes but are not limited to:
- Improving page load speed
- Optimizing users’ mobile experience
- Optimizing content for both shoppers and search engines
- Improving website navigation and responsiveness
- Including social network links
The holiday season brings an influx of customers to eCommerce sites. Along with the increase in site traffic and engagement comes the issue of cart abandonment.
Online retailers are often faced with instances where would-be customers simply abandon their cart at the very last minute of the checkout process. Thus, resulting in revenue loss.
It has been reported that online stores, including eCommerce retail websites, lose around $18 billion in sales revenue due to cart abandonment. Thus, making it a primary concern for online retailers.
One of the main reasons why online shoppers choose to abandon their cart is because of a complicated checkout process. Instead of instructing customers to create an account to finalize the checkout process, you can instead offer a guest checkout.
A guest checkout means customers can purchase items without logging into or creating a store account. Therefore, allowing a faster checkout process for customer convenience.
Intense Price Competition
With numerous traditional businesses turning to eCommerce for more sales, intense price competition is unavoidable. Whether a Black Friday sale or a Christmas sale, online sellers are competing against each other to offer the lowest price possible.
However, intense price competition drives some online retailers to lower their prices to a price point detrimental to their profit margin. For example, some Amazon sellers compete against other sellers by driving their listing prices to the bottom without considering the business’s profitability.
You can use repricing software to overcome price competition without sacrificing your profit margin. If you are selling on Amazon, an advanced Amazon repricer can help you automatically adjust your listing prices to a competitive price point but still keep a healthy profit margin.
Furthermore, if you wish to avoid intense price competition, it would also help to avoid niches or products that are highly competitive. It can be beneficial, especially if you are a newbie online retailer in the eCommerce space.
Poor Website Traffic
It is known that website traffic generates interest in your business. One of the problems faced by newbie online sellers is the lack of visitors to their websites.
Having no presence online means no sufficient sales conversion and unremarkable business growth. Hence, it is vital for online retailers to generate traffic to their eCommerce sites.
There are multiple methods that online retailers can do in order to increase visits to their website or online stores. The best way to increase site visits is to create strong content for your website.
When we speak of strong content, it does not only mean creating grammatically correct and properly formatted sentences. Good content should be original, answer a question or problem of online users, and should be SEO friendly.
For the latter, technical know-how is required. An SEO-friendly article would mean utilizing proper keywords, observing keyword density, and adding meta tags and appropriate links. It would also help if you could optimize other aspects of your website, including its backend.
Moreover, other ways to increase traffic to your website include keeping active social media pages, engaging in advertising, blog post outreach, and influencer outreach.
Last Minute Promotions
Some online sellers also face difficulty setting up and running last-minute promotions. With all the available marketing strategies, online retailers find it challenging to choose effective last-minute promotional campaigns to run amidst the holiday rush.
Ideally, running a holiday campaign should start in August or at least at the beginning of September. However, if you cannot run a proper promotional campaign on the aforementioned dates, you can still do so even in the Q4 of the year.
Some of the easy and low-budget promotional campaigns you can run, even days before the Christmas sale, includes:
- Creating data-rich infographics to cater to consumers’ curiosity.
- Offering “Buy One, Get One Free” sales promotions or even bundle offers.
- Offering free shipping or welcome gifts to drive more conversions.
- Posting on social media engages audiences and drives more website traffic.
Another Christmas sale problem commonly encountered by online sellers is task overload. Sellers are often overwhelmed with the demands that the eCommerce business entails during the peak holiday season.
From the preparation stage to the operational phase, online retailers are faced with the demands of the business, including but not limited to product sourcing, fulfillment, pricing, and marketing.
The best way to reduce the burden of running an online store, especially during the holiday season, is to delegate some tasks. You can hire part-time remote workers to help handle mundane tasks just for the last quarter of the year.
Alternatively, you can also automate some aspects of your business operation. Some automation tools, including AI repricing software, inventory management tools, and data analytics tools, help you save time and resources while delivering improved productivity and task accuracy.
Optimize Your Business Operation
The peak holiday season brings more challenges to online retailers. However, there are some solutions and remedies for each eCommerce business concern you will face throughout the holiday period.
Optimizing business processes, introducing improved strategies, and utilizing advanced seller tools can help you achieve successful Christmas sales and other year-end sales campaigns. You can always refer to the recommendations mentioned above for better results.