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The Online Merchant’s Last-Minute Holiday Ecommerce Guide [2022]

The ecommerce strategies you can implement to set up your online store for holiday success this year and beyond.

By Miva | September 21, 2022 | 8 minute read
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For many ecommerce sellers, the holiday season can be a source of anticipation, excitement, and stress. If this year’s biggest shopping season has snuck up on you, you might feel like you’re scrambling to get your business ready for it. But it’s not too late for sellers to make final optimizations for the 2022 holidays—and it’s not too early to start preparing for 2023.  

In this blog, we’ll provide an overview of where things stand for online merchants this holiday season, then share the best ecommerce strategies you can implement, now and in the long term, to set up your digital store for holiday success this year and beyond.  

The State of the Holidays in 2022 

As the holiday shopping season kicks into gear, here are the essential predictions and trends merchants should be aware of when crafting their strategy.  

  • Ecommerce sales are growing. Even as the online retail space becomes more crowded, there’s an expanding population of shoppers ready to buy. Overall, holiday ecommerce sales are expected to hit nearly $236 billion—a 15.5% increase from 2021.  
  • Consumers are ready to start buying earlier. According to research from Salesforce, 42% of shoppers worldwide and 37% of shoppers in the United States plan to start purchasing holiday gifts earlier this year, largely in an effort to avoid high prices caused by inflation.    
  • Mobile commerce is becoming the standard for online shopping. In an impressive showcase of the buying power of millennials and Gen Z, mobile commerce accounted for 45.9% of holiday 2021 sales, and that figure is predicted to hit 50% in 2022.  

Making the Most of the 2022 Holidays  

With the above forecasts in mind, we’ve gathered the most crucial ecommerce strategies you can implement to make the most of the holiday rush.  

Engage New & Returning Customers 

One of the most valuable resources you can use in planning and executing your holiday strategy is information from last year. Take a look at the behavior of your 2021 shoppers, asking questions like:   

  • How often did customers visit your online store? 
  • What types of items did your customers purchase most frequently? 
  • Did your customers purchase full-price items from your store, or did they wait to take advantage of sales, discounts, coupons, and other promotions? 

The answers to the above questions will give you a better understanding of your customers’ journey, allowing you to craft targeted reengagement strategies that can build customer loyalty and increase sales. For instance, you might create retargeting email sequences for the holidays with personalized product recommendations based on your shoppers’ purchase history. If your shopping behavior data suggests that your customers are more likely to buy if they have access to a discount, consider sending them personalized coupons for recommended products. And sending “first to know about” emails regarding new inventory or sales can tap into shoppers’ appreciation for exclusive deals. If you can make your audience feel like members of an in-the-know group, they may be more likely to purchase from your store again.  

To make your shoppers feel even more valued, consider implementing a loyalty program for both new and returning customers. By enticing shoppers with access to exclusive deals in exchange for their email address, you can capture consumer information during the holidays—and keep customers coming back long after they’ve taken down their decorations.  

Harness Social Media  

Even if social media is not a huge source of sales for your website, it can play an important role in your marketing strategy. In 2021, 58% of consumers said that social media would influence their holiday purchasing decisions, and it’s reasonable to expect that trend to continue in 2022.  All this means that when it comes to your ecommerce strategy, your social media efforts can be a powerful complement to your search engine optimization and other audience-building practices.  

While using social media during the holidays, you can employ a few tried-and-true social commerce tactics such as:  

  • Using relevant hashtags to boost the visibility of your posts.  
  • Implementing hyper-personalized advertising to ensure you’re reaching your target audience.  
  • Engaging in relevant discussions with your target audience and answering questions about your products, company, and services.  

If you haven’t done much social selling in the past, it can feel overwhelming to post on and track all social platforms right away—and in many cases, it’s also unnecessary. Look to your shoppers and buyer personas to determine which platforms to focus your efforts on. 

If you can gradually incorporate social media posts and advertisements into your regular ecommerce strategy, you can reap the benefits of a powerful new sales channel during the holidays and for the rest of the year.  Social commerce infographic

Make a Plan for Abandoned Carts 

Abandoned carts are an inevitable occurrence for all ecommerce businesses, particularly around the holidays when people are doing more online shopping and searching for the best deal possible. But with some thoughtful preparation, you can anticipate abandoned carts and even make the most of them.      

Information is your best defense against abandoned carts, so if you’re not already tracking abandoned cart data, now is the perfect time to start. When you regularly collect and analyze this data, you can home in on the most common reasons your shoppers are leaving your site before purchasing. Does your checkout page have too many steps? Are your customers getting frustrated by hidden fees and high shipping rates? Knowing the issues that are causing abandoned carts will empower you to take necessary steps toward solving them.  

Equally important to consider is how you’ll reengage those potential buyers and encourage them to complete their purchases. A well-crafted abandoned cart email sequence can be a terrific tool toward this goal. Take advantage of holiday sales by urging your shoppers to complete their purchases before deals expire. You might also plan a campaign to remarket to abandoned cart shoppers after the holidays are over. Whatever strategies you use, being proactive about responding to abandoned carts can help you minimize the damage they cause and keep your audience engaged.   

Set the Stage for Long-Term Success 

Not every ecommerce strategy can be fully executed before the holiday rush. These long-term goals will encourage you to look beyond December and ensure your online store is built to operate at peak effectiveness every day of the year.   

Create a Seamless Shopping Experience  

By refining various aspects of your ecommerce website to give your shoppers a next-level purchasing experience, you can gain an edge over your competitors and keep your customers coming back.  

One way you can adapt your site to the needs of the modern consumer is to ensure it operates with a high level of mobile responsiveness. By 2025, mobile commerce is expected to account for over 44% of retail ecommerce sales in the United States. Having a responsive website makes it easier for customers to purchase from your store the moment they’re ready to. Additionally, having a mobile-responsive site can boost your search engine rankings, allowing you to reach a wider audience.  

Another tactic for improving your customers’ shopping experience is to include intelligent search on your site. If buyers can’t easily find the products they want on your online store, they may jump to a competitor. By using site search tools that accommodate for common errors in buyer searches (such as spelling mistakes or missing details) and rerouting them to relevant products, you can help your shoppers find what they’re looking for quickly and with minimal frustration. 

Finally, your shoppers are far more likely to complete a purchase on your site if they can pay with their preferred method. Equip your online store with a variety of payment technologies, from one-click payments to alternative checkouts. Consider offering a buy now pay later (BNPL) option to encourage buyers to purchase larger ticket items. If this isn’t possible, offering another benefit such as free two-day shipping can help reduce strain on your shoppers’ wallets and result in a more positive purchasing experience.  

Bring In-Store Experiences Online  

To prepare your business for the omnichannel future of retail, think about ways to digitally recreate in-store experiences. One method for accomplishing this is to create virtual showrooms—in 2021, 45% of online shoppers said they wanted to engage with virtual showrooms during the holiday season. (For inspiration, check out Miva’s case study on how Decorative Films spiked their average order value with a virtual showroom.)  

Likewise, pay attention to your online product merchandising. Just as merchandisers will plot a buyer’s path through a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want to design a digital pathway for your shoppers. Leverage online shopper journey data to make sure your website’s tabs, pull-down menus, and product categories align with your store’s look and feel as well as your overall brand experience.  

From Holiday Stress to Year-Round Success 

Even if this year’s holiday shopping season seemed to come out of nowhere, you can take steps to ensure your ecommerce website is ready to tackle the next opportunity. By implementing the above strategies, staying on top of shipping deadlines, and learning from the lessons of holidays past, you can make the most of the year’s most profitable season and position your online store for future success. 

It’s never too late to brush up on the ecommerce best practices that can strengthen your business every day of the year. Download our comprehensive guide to growing your ecommerce business here. CTA offering a free whitepaper, "Growing Your B2B and DTC Ecommerce Business in 2022."

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Author's Bio

Miva

Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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