What will Christmas look like for online sellers in 2021? How can you prepare?
Last Christmas, the holiday season saw two years’ worth of growth in a single year for e-commerce. A year on and COVID, winter colds and flu are still concerns, so online businesses are set to take up centre stage once again. After recent fuel shortages, empty supermarket shelves, a shortage of delivery drivers and the impact of a last-minute lockdown in 2020, experts are predicting that concerned shoppers will buy their gifts even earlier this year. Many say they are aiming to tick off most of their list before December is even underway. So, how can e-commerce businesses set themselves up for success?
Be Prepared for Early Shoppers
Shopping early is good news for online sellers. It means that if you manage your stock well, you really can make the most of the season, but you do need to be well prepared for an earlier rush. Dayna Johnson of Etsy is going as far as to advise that “it’s not just the product that small businesses need to be mindful of, as they’ll need to replenish supplies of packaging, tape and labels to get gifts to customers quickly and safely”(Forbes). We’re currently seeing shortages of cardboard worldwide, so do get your packaging orders in early to make sure we have what you need available.
Address Delivery Concerns
Aside from managing your product stock and your supply of despatch and packing materials, there are a few other things you can do to prepare. With the much-discussed driver shortages, customers are worried about delivery times this year. Make sure your Shipping information is clear, up-to-date, and easy to find on your website. Publicise your last shipping date for Christmas widely as it gets closer – on your website, Social Media and advertising.
Get Your Website Ready to Compete
With 2020 a boom year for many e-commerce businesses, it may be a struggle to meet the same figures in 2021. Although the e-commerce share of the retail market remains high, competition has grown in many sectors. You may find that you have more competitors this year, and that existing competitors have upped their game. What can you do to prepare for this? Take a fresh look at your website. Is it easy to buy from on both mobile and desktop? Does it highlight the products you really want to sell? How does it compare to the competition? Are you also ready to sell through Social Media stores which are playing an even bigger role this year?
Check Your Marketing Activity is Ready
Marketing teams are working a lot harder in 2021 to compete. Are you advertising in the right places to bring in plenty of sales? Do you have cart abandonment emails set up to catch customers who get distracted mid-shop? Have you set up delivery time reminders? Do you have strong image and video content for your Social Media channels? Christmas is prime time for “discovery shopping” when people are looking for gifts, but not necessarily clear on what exactly they want (Criteo). Make sure potential customers can easily discover your products, on search engines, on Social Media and through any offline channels where they might find you.
Upscale Your Customer Service
Customer service may also need ramping up through the next few weeks. Are enough of your team available to deal with any enquiries? Do you have chat enabled on your website to handle urgent queries? Do you need to increase cover at evenings or weekends? If you are struggling for staff, what can you add to your website to address common customer service queries? Is there any information missing? Do you need to fix anything that is a common cause of problems?
Let Forms Plus Help
With Black Friday under 6 weeks away and Christmas just 10 weeks away, we are currently well-stocked with labels and packaging and ready to receive your orders. Do get in touch to get yours in early.