This holiday season, it’s all about the experience. From the minute a shopper lands on your eCommerce site to the moment they receive their package on their doorstep, experience is crucial across every touchpoint. Here are a few holiday preparations to keep in mind as you wrap up your digital commerce strategy for the upcoming holidays:
  • Use New Testing Methods: Most methods for site performance analysis rely on a page-based approach in which the load times of a set of Web pages are recorded. In this flawed testing scenario, all of these times are then averaged to benchmark the site’s overall performance. However, much like intersections and traffic lights in a city, there are myriad wait points in a typical eCommerce site and a slow down in one area often leads to bizarre, ripple effects in other areas of the site. It’s important to work with a partner to identify all of these wait points and test each point in healthy, slow and failure modes to ensure your site can manage the additional traffic during this peak season.
  • Be Mindful of Mobile: As mobile traffic and conversions continue to rise, retailers are investing in mobile ecommerce development, whether it be mobile apps or websites. Be mindful of how much of your traffic comes from mobile devices and how your shoppers are using mobile in the overall path to purchase. Are they using their devices in-store to read product reviews? Or are they using tablets to multitask in the evening, getting their shopping done while watching TV. Mobile devices have become central to our lives and retailers need to leverage mobile by first understanding how their customers are using the channel.
  • Merge Inventory Order Management Systems (OMS): Very few retailers have the ability to take a holistic view of their inventory. Consumers expect their eCommerce orders to be quickly delivered or available for them to pick up at local stores at a specific time. When all of your data is integrated and readily available, regardless of whether the inventory position is in a distribution center (DC), a store, or with a third-party vendor, you are better able to control the customer experience.
  • Choose an Intelligent Parcel Returns Solution: An intelligent returns solution is one that will give you visibility in to what’s coming back, enabling you to re-sell quicker, re-route to a third-party discounter to liquidate, identify a possible product defect more quickly and reduce inbound customer care calls. This will give you a better handle on returns management. It’s also important to work with a partner who can scale with you during peak seasons by doing things such as offering additional warehousing.
  • Simplify Returns: Prepaid labels and multiple shipping options go a long way when it comes to customer satisfaction. An uncomplicated process reduces “trunk time”—the days a return sits in the car until your customer has the chance to take it to a courier. Not only is this critical to satisfying and retaining customers, but it also helps with inventory management.
  • Communicate Across Channels: Keeping your customers informed through the channel of their choice – from mobile devices to desktops to everything in between – is crucial if you are looking to be truly omnichannel. It also eliminates customers’ worries about their order status.
Creating a consistent brand experience that attracts, engages and retains shoppers is not an easy task. Having a solid infrastructure, enterprise-grade solutions and a clear strategy will help retailers deliver omnichannel experiences that will keep customers coming back long after the holiday season is over.