Despite many states loosening their shelter-in-place restrictions and businesses reopening, online shopping popularity isn’t diminishing. In fact, there are millions more online shoppers in the U.S. today¹ than there was last year. And many of the same online holiday shopping trends that existed in the 2020 peak season – including earlier shopping – look like they’re here to stay.
But if last year’s sales numbers are any indicator, the 2021 peak season will be another roaring success for retailers and eCommerce businesses. Here’s how you can capitalize on it with a digital-first holiday eCommerce strategy.
Offer New Shopping Channels
In 2020, many businesses leaned heavily on their eCommerce store to sell products during the holiday season. However, this isn’t the only channel businesses can use to drive sales. In the past few years, shopping on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook has taken off dramatically. And now, even TikTok is looking to get in on the action.²
As a result, retailers and eCommerce businesses that strategically expand their shopping options to social media channels will have more opportunities to reach consumers and encourage them to buy.
Elevate Your Online Experience
Customers can toggle between apps and channels in a matter of seconds. And they expect your online experience to keep pace with them as they do.
For example, if customers start “shopping” your social media catalog, but jump over to your mobile eCommerce app to finish browsing, they expect to be able to pick up where they left off. They want your catalogs to be organized intuitively and have robust search features that allow them to find what they’re looking for.
The same is true of those who decide to move from their phone to their laptop to make their final purchases. They don’t want to have to start over. They expect all of their saved items to transfer from device to device via their account, on-demand. And they expect customer service to have access to all of this information, no matter how many devices and channels they used.
What does that mean for retailers and eCommerce brands? One thing. You need to adopt an omnichannel strategy that allows customers to seamlessly move from device to device and channel to channel as they shop without major hiccups or challenges.
Create Online-Only Deals
Due to its convenience factor, online shopping is arguably one of the most enjoyable ways for customers to shop. They can get it done from anywhere and do it on their own time – including their couch at 2 o’clock in the morning.
But if all your holiday deals (including Black Friday and Christmas) are offered to in-store shoppers, you miss out on opportunities to encourage one of your largest customer segments to make purchases.
On this flip side, by offering exclusive deals to online shoppers, you can both incentivize your existing customer base and increase the likelihood of driving new customers and loyal in-store shoppers to your digital channels.
This year, peak season is shaping up to be big for online channels, as holiday shopping consumer behavior gets more entrenched in the digital omnichannel world. To fully take advantage of the opportunities available, retailers and eCommerce brands need to invest in new shopping channels, upgrade their digital experience to be more omnichannel friendly, and create exclusive offers for their online shoppers.
¹ “Number of digital shoppers in the United States from 2016 to 2021”, Statista, July 2021
² “In-App Shopping Reportedly Coming To TikTok - What Will It Be Like?”, ScreenRant, May 2021