Now that we have a better handle on the pandemic than we did during last year’s peak season and most businesses have reopened, consumers are happy to be back to shopping to in-store. But online shopping popularity isn’t diminishing. In fact, online shopping has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. According to Statista, there were over 230 million U.S. digital shoppers in 2021—up from 209 million in 2016—and the number of U.S. digital shoppers is projected to increase to more than 291 million by 2025. And with the National Retail Federation (NRF) reporting that holiday sales, including eCommerce, increased over 14% during November and December in 2021—marking the highest growth in at least two decades—we can expect sales to continue to grow this year as well.
Many of the same online holiday shopping trends that existed in the 2021 peak season—including earlier shopping—look like they’re here to stay. But if last year’s sales numbers are any indicator, the 2022 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
It’s no secret that businesses have leaned heavily on their eCommerce stores to sell products during the holiday season in recent years. 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. Insider Intelligence predicts that U.S. social commerce will top $45 billion this year, with a significant portion of these sales occurring during peak and over half of adults making a purchase on social media.
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 consumers 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’ve gotten used to being able to buy anything, anywhere, and at any time—including from their couch at two 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 the 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 very likely to be big for online channels, as consumers’ holiday shopping behaviors get 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.
Need advice, upgraded omnichannel technology, and the right fulfillment strategies to attract, engage, and convert more customers during the 2022 peak season? Learn how Radial can help.