Retail sales in November and December are considered holiday sales, even though many stores begin their holiday push in early October. To ensure they receive part of the estimated $950 billion in sales, eCommerce merchants should test that their technologies, such as EDI for eCommerce, are ready for the holiday season.
Why is preparation so essential? According to the National Retail Federation, 2022 holiday sales should increase between 6% and 8% over 2021’s numbers. That’s lower than the 2021 increase of over 13% but closer to the ten-year average of almost 5%. Even with a lower revenue projection, holiday sales are estimated to be nearly 20% of total retail sales for 2022.
Online retailers should check the following elements for a smooth, error-free holiday season.
Whether you offer phone support or chatbots, eCommerce retailers should test their infrastructure to ensure they can handle increased volumes.
Consumers have little patience for long wait times. Ten years ago, consumers were willing to wait up to 13 minutes in a phone queue. Today, the acceptable wait time is less than two minutes. For 13% of consumers, any wait time is unacceptable.
Analyze historical data to determine what worked to increase sales. Did promotional coupons drive sales? Which social media platforms had the most impact on sales?
Using historical data lets online merchants know where to focus their efforts. It can also help identify areas that need improvement to drive sales.
Online shoppers use more than websites and mobile applications for purchasing products. Developing an omnichannel presence that includes social media sites can increase sales. Targeted use of Facebook or Instagram can generate interest and drive shoppers to a website or mobile app for potential sales.
Before the holiday rush, online retailers should update and test their websites. They should test navigation to ensure that they can route the user through the website correctly. Technical failures and slow load times will push shoppers away from you and toward an error-free competitor’s site.
Consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to purchase online. According to Shopify, a leading eCommerce shopping site, about 60% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Merchants want to ensure their websites are mobile-enabled if they don’t have a mobile shopping app. Almost 35% of internet users used their mobile devices to make a purchase every week during 2021.
Online merchants should test their infrastructure to ensure it can handle high-volume surges. Hosting sites that offer scalability solutions will allow adjustments in capacity based on volumes.
Payment processing solutions should also be part of the testing to confirm they can handle increases in transaction volumes. If technology can’t keep up with consumer demand, online merchants will lose holiday sales and possibly long-term customers.
Automated email campaigns can generate sales without taking time away from customer-facing activities. Using historical data, merchants can segment their customer base and run targeted email campaigns. For example, maybe there’s a group that only purchases during the holiday season. Sending emails that target specific holiday items can encourage those shoppers to repeat their purchases.
No one needs to remind eCommerce merchants of supply chain disruptions. No matter how prepared online retailers may be, they’ll struggle during the holiday season if their logistics lack up-to-date technologies. Completing an online purchase in record time and without error means little to a consumer if the package doesn’t arrive on time.
EDI for eCommerce
Electronic Data Interchange or EDI for ecommerce is designed to deliver order and shipment information quickly without manual data entry. EDI uses a standard format for exchanging information on purchase orders, ship notices and other documents critical to the supply chain. Without human involvement, implementations of EDI for eCommerce can send and receive data electronically, increasing the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment.
At GraceBlood, we offer services ranging from traditional EDI to web services (APIs). Our solution scales to meet the demands of the holiday season and delivers visibility into the supply chain for improved customer service. Whatever the need, GraceBlood’s EDI for ecommerce can ease holiday stress through its comprehensive solutions for EDI and B2B integration.
If you want to learn more about EDI and the supply chain, then download our Supply Chain Insights eBook or contact us to speak with an expert on how our solution can prepare you for the holidays and beyond.