Holiday Season 2010: Anything You Did Last Year, You’ve Gotta Do Better
Lately here at the Logicblock blog we’ve been talking about tips and strategies to capitalize on the holiday ecommerce rush. As an ecommerce seller, you know that your big advantage over the brick and mortar chains is your flexibility and ability to roll with the punches. But for that same reason, what you did last year at holiday time probably won’t be enough to cut it this year. So follow these five suggestions on how to make your ecommerce store shine 2010-style:
- Hit Social Media Hard – In 2010 more than ever, customers are not content to read your web content, FAQ or return policy to feel like they know and trust you. They want direct communication with the people they purchase from – whether that’s your indie ecommerce store, or giants like Comcast or Bank of America (who will both indeed answer your queries on Twitter if you call them out.) Establish a presence where your customers hang out online – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are bare minimums – and be sure to respond to every compliment, query and complaint that comes your way. But you can’t stop there. Use a reputation management system like Google Alerts or Yahoo! Alerts to keep track of when your company name is posted on the web. To monitor social media, look into a service like Social Mention, which bills itself as an aggregator of user generated content across the web, from blogs to news to forums to social media sites.
- Setup a Smart Search – Just as customers expect to be able to communicate with you, they also expect your website to anticipate their needs. No longer will customers spend an hour or even an extra two minutes on your site typing in different keywords in hopes of finding the specific product they want. Make sure that your search feature allows for misspellings or imprecise search queries. For example, a search similar to “new military video game” at your online game store should call up the currently popular “Call of Duty: Black Ops.”
- Go Where the Customers Are – This year’s industry watchword is mobile. More consumers than ever are researching products and even making purchases straight from their mobile phones. If you haven’t gone mobile, the tide is rolling out and leaving you behind. Even if you aren’t yet ready to invest in a mobile app of your own, partner up with services who do (like comparison shopping services), or create a satellite store on a mobile-embracing ecommerce platform like eBay.
- Don’t Forget Customer Service – If this is your first holiday rodeo, or if you’ve made new changes designed to draw in the crowds, you might just find yourself overwhelmed by the holiday sales madness. Be sure that you are prepared for the onslaught of orders, emails, calls, and even complaints and returns that may well occur this holiday season. Even if you are accustomed to running your store all by yourself, come up with a plan should your sales volume exceed expectations. And hire and have extra help in the wings before you find yourself snowed under with more than just holiday cheer!
- Transform Customer Service into Customer Loyalty – With your Christmas promotions, your sales explosion, and your top notch customer service, chances are you will see new customers in your store. Don’t let this be a one-and-done deal. Ask customer’s to opt-in to your newsletter, join a special customer loyalty club, or otherwise keep in touch so that they remember you all year long, and not just while the sleigh bells are jingling.
Follow these holiday ecommerce tips, and the holiday rush won’t rush right over you!