The holiday season is officially over. Retailers across the country can finally breathe a sigh of relief and take a break for a few months, right?
To achieve success in the next holiday season, the obvious answer is no. Smart online retailers are already preparing for next Cyber Monday, and for good reason. At least 93% of shoppers report doing at least some shopping online in 2014. And, according to Bloomberg, holiday shopping on the web jumped by 17%. Smart retailers also know these percentages will only increase in the coming years.
What can retailers do now to prepare for Cyber Monday 2015?
With the massive shift to online shopping in mind, one could easily assume that online retailers have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. But it’s really not that simple.
In the same way that opening a store and filling it with products isn’t all it takes to run a successful retail shop, out-merchandizing your competition online isn’t as simple as standing up a website and allowing customers to shop from it.
Here is a short list of things online retailers can do now to prepare for Cyber Monday 2015:
1. Establish a healthy content profile.
Search engine algorithms are becoming more sophisticated. In order to be found by customers, your ecommerce site needs to adapt. To do this, you need content. Not just any content – but quality content. And lots of it. Google and other search engines are constantly changing the way they look at websites but one thing remains consistent: (web) content is king.
2. Perform user testing on a regular basis (and start now).
User experience testing is critical to the success of your ecommerce site. Real-world data based on real-live interactions with your site tells you a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. Rather than rely on your instincts, perform user testing with a set of users who are demographically targeted to mimic your customers, then apply those learnings to your site.
3. Localize your product content.
We all know how the saying goes…”location, location, location.” This is especially true on the web. The digital era we live in allows us to reach customers all over the globe – which is great news for online retailers! But it creates a unique challenge for retailers who serve a diverse set of geographic locations. Local use cases, holidays, or even the use of certain colors will need to be considered when serving a multi-national customer base.
4. Categorize products with the user in mind.
The act of browsing an ecommerce site is akin to browsing the shelves of a brick-and-mortar store – but in the virtual world your customers have the option to bounce without a second thought. This is why product categorization is a critical (and often overlooked) component of a successful ecommerce site. Improving your customers’ browsing experience is easily the single most effective way to retain and to upsell.
It’s never too early to prepare for the next holiday season. Act now and get a jump on your competitors.
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