The holiday season brings joy and excitement for many, but it is a stressful race for retailers to make the most out of the biggest retail season of the year. Recently, this race has increased in stress and difficulty due to the logistical challenges that have sprouted due to COVID-19 and the boom in online shopping due to the pandemic. As a result, retailers more than ever are having to stay on top of every aspect of their e-commerce business, including advertising, listing optimization, inventory management, customer service, and logistics. While multiple steps attribute to the success a retailer experiences during the holiday season, three main processes should be at the forefront of any retailers’ mind that need to be well executed to ensure a positive holiday season experience.
Branding and Digital Marketing
A crucial part of success in the e-commerce is a branding and marketing strategy that is consistent and integrated. During the holiday season, this is even more important. This is because consumers are more aware of the products that fit into their holiday wishes and wants. Therefore, retailers need to update their online stores and branding in preparation for the holiday season and adjust their algorithms accordingly to build a robust IT infrastructure.
It is also crucial for retailers to have a finalized and comprehensive advertising and marketing budget prepared before the holiday season begins due to the high costs associated with running ads during this season. Having a detailed budget can avoid overspending.
Knowing the print time to run ads can ensure that retailers get the best out of their budget. Early morning (8 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and late nights (8 a.m. to 9 p.m.) are recommended to garner the most traffic and results.
A considerable benefit of the holiday season is that it is prime time for retailers to collect massive amounts of data and insights on website traffic and consumer behaviors. Being able to navigate this high-volume retail period successfully can result in retailers gaining the ability to increase their position in the rating system of brands successfully. The key to achieving that is to monitor the key indicators, mine customers’ voices, and aim for a higher satisfaction rate.
Surprisingly, negative feedback and refund claims are at the top of retailers’ lists to look out for. This is because they can help retailers to identify any problems with their operational process. Additionally, retailers that utilize the Amazon e-commerce platform should refer to its A-to-Z Guarantee Claims section.
However, monitoring key indicators is not enough for retailers. An essential part of the learning curve is the mining process. When customers request refunds or file complaints, retailers should mine the cause.
Logistics in a Post-Covid World
Covid-19 shook the e-commerce industry in many ways, especially in regards to logistics. The pandemic caused many severe delays to the supply chain. Many retailers start holiday inventory shipping in early August, and because of this, the effects of Covid-19 have already begun to be seen.
The pandemic also caused a shortage in many of the necessary materials for everyday items, which greatly affected the cycle of manufacturing. Global container freight prices have also seen a huge spike due to the pandemic, reaching a record high of $10,300.
Tackling these issues can be challenging for retailers. Therefore, retailers should plan and calculate every step. This can begin by predicting a forecast of demand at least six months in advance. In addition, it would be wise for retailers to take advantage of the AI forecasting systems that many e-commerce solution providers now offer.
The holiday season is a great time for retailers to maximize their branding, sales, and consumer data. However, retailers need to react quickly and smartly, including preparing in advance to make the most of this opportunity. Optimizing branding and digital marketing while leveraging customer service techniques and preparing in advance for Covid related logistics impact can secure a winning position for e-commerce retailers.
Joe Wu is the general manager of Oceanwing, a full-service provider of commerce solutions and market analytics for retail brands. With 14 years of marketing and sales experience, Joe works closely with customers to create and implement marketing, sales, and branding strategies. Since joining Oceanwing in 2019, Joe has focused on leading the team in providing cross-border eCommerce services to top brands such as Vital Proteins (Nestle), TCL, Smartmi, ABKO, and more.
Joe’s extensive career includes working as the senior director of global online sales for Oceanwing’s parent company, Anker, successfully leading the launch of its audio products. Additionally, Joe’s experience includes managing terminal and device product business development in the US and Libya for ZTE as its senior director of sales and product development.