3 Must-Haves for BFCM and Other Holiday Sales

The holiday season is around the corner and with it comes “Shopping Days”. Over the years, retailers have engineered such days that promise knockout deals to get shoppers into stores in hordes.

In the US, Thanksgiving has given rise to Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), which are fast spreading across the Atlantic. Barentain Dei (Valentine’s Day) in Japan is followed up with White Day thanks to the ploy of Japanese confectionery companies. In India, Friendship Day and Diwali herald the shopping frenzy while China has its own shopping day in November called Singles Day. Click Frenzy, the Australian version of Cyber Monday, is the brainwave of yet another online retailer. 

With holiday shopping days established, retailers need to be prepared to make the most of it. More than 70% of consumers in the US, UK, Canada, and Germany will shop on 2018 Black Friday, predicts a research report by McKinsey. Your branded website could be the top sales channel during these shopping holidays. Here is what we think every eCommerce site should invest in to make the most of the shopping holidays.

  1. Holiday Landing Page
  2. For shoppers in a mad rush to get the best deals, an exclusively tailored page showcasing blowout offers can be decisive. Needless to say, you stand to lose a consequential share of holiday sales to smarter competitors if visitors have to wade through your entire product catalog to spot the ones on offer.
    Black Friday eCommerce: Boost your 2018 holiday sales with an evergreen holiday landing page
    Landing pages are built to grab attention and propel visitors to the intended action without distraction. You can amp up your landing page strategy with these simple tips.
     
    Keep it simple

    Less really is more. Have just one clear message on your landing page with a compelling call to action. Design the page to highlight the main offer and lead visitors to the undisputable next step (your CTA).  
     
    Optimize for mobile

    This is so obvious that it could be overlooked. Arrange your offer and CTA to be clearly visible on small screens. And, make sure the page is light enough for mobile bandwidths. No one will wait around for it to load.
     
    Let it build momentum

    Christmas shoppers start searching online for gifts well before the Thanksgiving weekend. Put up your landing pages in advance. You could offer a sneak peek at the exciting deals or a sign-up option for subscribing to updates regarding the upcoming sale. For instance, Click Frenzy has a countdown timer with subscribe and save the date options. Interest is piqued and potential buyers stay hooked to your page.  
     
    Make it evergreen

    It is no secret what a year-long landing page can do for your website’s SEO. Walmart and the electrical retailer Currys are among those who do not take down their Black Friday landing pages after the event. The page continues to build up its search ranking throughout the year.

    The trick is to adapt the page content to be relevant even when out of season. Currys’ Black Friday landing page is a great example of how you can keep the page interesting and keyword optimized. The page provides tips for Black Friday shopping, such as how to choose the best deals and the best times to shop. As a result, the page not only gathers page authority throughout the year but also instills trust in the brand, prompting visitors to return when the deals go live.

  3. Chatbots
  4. Retailers hire additional staff during the holiday season to handle crowds in stores. With digital and physical worlds colliding in retail, investing in a virtual chat assistant makes perfect sense. Brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry are already using chatbots to enhance the customer experience.
    BFCM eCommerce: Use chatbots to personalize customer service and increase 2018 holiday sales
    According to a survey on the top digital retail trends for 2019, 42% of retailers are interested in improving customer service and scaling responsiveness using AI chatbots. The one-click away chatbot is a handy yet unobtrusive assistant that can improve the shopping experience tremendously. And, of course, you don’t need multiple bots to handle more shoppers!
     
    Offer personalized customer service

    A chatbot offers instant help. It is the “always available” store assistant helping visitors easily locate and purchase items. AI chatbots are trained to process natural language and interact with customers recommending products based on their preference, purchase pattern, browsing history, etc.
     
    Make shopping fun and convenient

    The chatbot can be used to hold personalized one-to-one conversations with consumers across multiple channels. You can integrate the bot to messaging platforms frequented by your target audience and build brand interaction by announcing exciting deals or answering queries.   

    Chatbots can be developed on cloud-based cognitive platforms such as Amazon Lex or IBM Watson. While certain self-service tools may allow retailers to create chatbots, machine learning and AI integration often require deep technical knowledge. An experienced chatbot development team will be able to design the various conversational workflows and develop the bot specific to your use case.  

  5. Site Stability and Performance
  6. For the past three years, Black Friday has been the day with the highest online traffic. This year is going to be no different. Prepare your site to handle the traffic surge.

    From Macy’s to Ted Baker, many major retailers have experienced blackouts due to high traffic spikes. Lengthy outages and slow-loading sites can cost you millions of dollars in lost sales.
     
    Leverage the power of cloud

    Cloud technology can be used to handle holiday rush and avoid scalability issues on critical days. Services such as AWS can be configured to dynamically add more or scale down compute and storage resources as demand fluctuates. Retailers may employ auto scaling and Elastic Load Balancing to automate failover and automatically balance traffic in every region.
     
    Learn from mistakes—yours and others

    As the demand for their flagship product picked up, our client, a leading provider of recruitment software solutions, realized the inadequacy of their hosting infrastructure. We migrated their servers to EC2 instances and backed them with Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) for data and Amazon S3 Service for snapshot backups. Along with the AWS migration, we set up cloud security, data encryption, and disaster management mechanism for the new infrastructure. Finally, monitoring was put in place with a combination of Nagios, Graylog, and New Relic.

    With the elastic computing and failover mechanisms implemented, our client’s website performance improved and recorded a 22% increase in application response time. Both scalability and reliability of the site improved subsequent to the cloud migration.

 
Is your eCommerce site ready for the 2018 online holiday shopping season?