The 2020 holiday shopping season, like the previous years, will witness the maturity of trends already in the know and numerous disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Amazon postponing its Prime day sale to the fulfillment challenges that brands might face, our blog will bring the most important tips and trends that’ll help eCommerce retailers get things right in the technical, experience, and marketing front.

Salesforce’s recent survey predicts that 30% of global retail sales will be made through digital channels this upcoming holiday season. This sudden spike is where the trends we are going to discuss originate from. Let’s dig into the challenges and opportunities these trends have created.

1. Prime day effect

Since its inception in 2015, Amazon’s Prime Day has become part and parcel of summer holiday shopping activity for consumers in the US. The mid-July sales extravaganza, over the years, has seen the participation of more retailers and consumers. So far, Prime day has had no effects on the winter shopping season, which enjoys a bigger legacy than the former.

However, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed things in a jiffy. Amazon pushed the Prime day sale to August but later to September. Now the latest news doing rounds is that Prime day might happen in October.

In other words, the holiday shopping season has come earlier this year. That leaves a gap of mere 50 days between Prime Day and Cyber Week. According to Salesforce, ‘Prime Day’ might affect 10% of Cyber Week’s revenue. People might want to buy early for reasons like securing the products they need earlier, avoiding last-minute delivery delays and out of stock disappointments, safety concerns that might peak during the holiday shopping season, and so on.

Tip #1 – 2020 Holiday season preparedness

Prepare a bit early for this shopping season. Especially if you are selling on Amazon, make sure the product portfolio you planned for the holiday season is up and available for sale in the marketplace.

2. Contact-less shipments and more

“Many consumers have turned to online shopping for the first time, with 12.2% growth for new online shoppers” – ROI Revolution. Increase in digital orders during the pandemic means more eCommerce dollars for retailers, but that’s a big challenge when it comes to fulfillment.

More consumers, even those who have relied on in-store shopping, have become accustomed to pandemic-forced digital buying, the only safest way to shop. This has created a severe void in the fulfillment space. According to Salesforce, “Parcels shipped by traditional delivery providers — such as FedEx, UPS, DHL — will exceed capacity by 5% across the globe between the week before Cyber Week and Boxing Day”.

Tip #2 – 2020 Holiday season preparedness

When regular fulfillment providers might not be sufficient to ensure 100% on-time delivery success, how can you go about avoiding delays or returns? BOPIS (Buy online pick up in-store), curbside pickup, can come to the rescue.

33% of U.S. consumers reported that they are more interested in using BOPIS for the holidays – Salesforce.

Contactless shipments like in-car, in-garage delivery, which were once an additional convenience, will become a norm this holiday season as concerns regarding safety and infection are still on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Closed brick and mortar stores can be restructured as fulfillment centers where users can walk in to pick up their orders. Brands can partner with delivery platforms like Uber or Lyft to fulfill the orders exceeding their existing delivery capacity.

3. Focus on Digital Ad Spend

During the pandemic, brands that have stopped marketing spend have faced serious setbacks in sales growth. According to a study from Digital Commerce 360, brands that have retained their digital ad spend have experienced steady growth after an initial dip while those who have been aggressive in marketing have seen rapid growth.

On the other hand, social media has also seen steady growth in the amount of time spent. According to eMarketer, up to 51% of U.S. adults have been using social media more.

Tip #3 – 2020 Holiday season preparedness

Focussing on digital ads and social media should be a top priority to take advantage of increased traffic. However, retailers should think this only as a momentary strategy as this trend is expected to decline after the pandemic. Post-pandemic, only 9% of U.S. adults are expected to continue spending more time on social media.

Look out for the best times to post on social media and automate marketing campaigns starting from pre-holiday season promotions to discounted sales ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google.

4. Performance and experience-level demands

Performance is as crucial as ever. “47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less — and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds”. – Kissmetrics. Half of your marketing efforts could go in vain due to speed issues.

Experience level changes like reduced steps for faster checkout, adding more payment options (mobile wallets), improving product detail pages with rich product information, and digital assets can make a massive difference in improving conversion rates.

Tip #4 – 2020 Holiday season preparedness

To improve performance, use techniques like deploying server cache, PWAs, code refactoring, CDN, and so on. Integrate and customize extensions like one-step checkout to ensure a zippy checkout experience. Leverage PIM systems to enrich product pages with product information.

5. Empower store associates to become fulfillment champions

As walk-ins for brick and mortar stores continue to decline, your showroom executives and store associates can be freed up to serve in areas where you need them the most. Train your staff to become fulfillment champions.

Provide the necessary tools such as order management and inventory management to keep them informed about the stock levels and train them on picking, packing, and shipping products.

Tip #5 – 2020 Holiday season preparedness

If your store is operating on Magento, leverage the platform’s built-in order management and inventory management tools to replenish stock levels based on anticipated sales spikes and previous year data.

Or, integrate third-party ERP or order management tools with your Magento backend to automate tasks and manage internal operations.

Now is the time

The 2020 online holiday shopping season is almost here. If you think your store needs improvements in the areas discussed above, now is the time to start.

As an Adobe Silver partner, Ziffity can help you gear up your store to take on the holiday season challenges. Our Magento support team can work hand in hand with your internal teams starting from identifying issues and areas that can be spruced up quickly before the 2020 holiday season.

How Ziffity Can Help

  • Our performance optimization experts use server caching techniques, CDN, load balancing, and build PWAs for racy mobile web loading speed.
  • We can integrate third-party shipment, payment, marketing automation, ERP and PIM systems to streamline and to improve the efficiency of internal operations.
  • Ideate and launch marketing campaigns for both sales and pre-holiday promotions in Google and social media.
  • Amplify the capabilities of your store through customization and custom module development.