As summer winds down and the holiday season rapidly approaches, B2C holiday marketing strategies begin to emerge. However, it’s important to understand the reasons B2C eCommerce retailers must start preparing for the holiday season early. Gaining perspective on the holiday eCommerce challenges your business will face can help you put together a strong strategy that decreases the negative impact of holiday shopping.
Increase in Traffic to your eCommerce Store
Your website may be fully equipped to handle the amount of traffic you receive on a daily basis, but the holiday season is known to bring systems down because of the significant increase in traffic and transactions. With competition high, it’s critical to reduce customer frustrations and provide the optimal shopping experience, regardless of the amount of traffic you encounter. Evaluating past traffic trends surrounding the holidays can help you gear up your website to handle the increase in traffic without harming your level of customer service.
Inventory Management Challenges
Holiday season is known to contribute nearly 20% of the annual sales for a number of businesses and this number is expected to go up further. The increased sales, while desired, can be an inventory management nightmare. Keeping up with demand has never been more important. Not having enough products in stock to meet demand is one of the fastest ways to lose customers during the holidays. In addition to making sure you have an ample supply in stock, it’s also essential to effectively manage shipping your orders to avoid keeping customers waiting.
Maintaining Customer Service Levels
While keeping your customers happy is always a top priority, it becomes even more critical during the holiday season. Most consumers are looking for the best deals and are less likely to exhibit loyalty. The holidays place tremendous pressure on a company, which can cause serious failures in quality customer service if you aren’t fully prepared. Keeping response times short and providing the assistance your customers expect can help cement good, long-term consumer relations.
It’s the inevitable – people are bound to return items around the holiday season for a variety of reasons. It’s how you handle those returns that will make or break your business. You’ll want to facilitate the returns process for your customers, such as providing fast refunds or implementing a no questions asked policy. Of course, what you offer depends greatly on the nature of your products and customer base. But do it right and you might very likely earn yourself a customer for the rest of the year.
One major concern many businesses fail to realize until it’s too late is the reduction in staff during the holiday season. While most employees take off during the summer for vacations, some save time for use during the holidays. It’s a good idea to hire seasonal staff not only to help meet customer demands but also to cover for absent employees.
B2C holiday marketing strategies need to take these seasonal challenges into consideration to ensure your customers remain happy and enjoy their holiday shopping experiences with you. Not only will this provide a solid stream of revenue for the holiday season, but it increases the chance of attracting loyal customers for the long term.
What are some of the other challenges that you have dealt with during holiday season? Share your experience by commenting below.