With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers are preparing on all fronts for the busiest time of the year…and most profitable. The latest Adobe Analytics Report predicts that Online sales will grow 14.8% year over year for the 2018 holiday season and reach $124.1 billion. Only question left to ask ourselves, how ready are we?
Have you explored and applied Analytics in relevant business functions to uncover hidden business opportunities and seize the incremental volume of sales? Digital and Data Analytics can help you in creating custom audiences for omni-channel campaign testing across an ecommerce sales funnel to maximize revenue and reduce costs.
Below are eight ways you can use Analytics to improve holiday sales:
- Predict customer behaviour to boost sales and deliver personalized shopping experiences
Understanding the customer is one of the key factors that will help online retailers boost sales. Analyze customer shopping patterns based on historical shopping data, seasonality, product category frequency, brand affinity, social feedbacks and buying wish lists. Understand customer behaviour such as login frequency, preferred usage timeline, time spend, favorite devices, response rates to promotional emails, alerts, notifications and willingness to receive holiday-themed promotional offers. All this information may be available within your online marketing automation platform. Big data can analyze, correlate in-store shopping trends and online buying preferences and help in building buyer cohorts, gaining insights for up-sell, cross-sell and personalization.
- Use predictive modelling to create price optimization models
We always wonder why the prices of products change daily? The Dynamic Pricing phenomenon helps retailers alter pricing instantly based on competitors’ prices and current market demands. Based on the best-selling items, profit margins, real-time inventory levels, pricing levels from competitors and your targeted sales revenue, you will be able to update your prices in real-time to improve margins and achieve targeted sales numbers.
- Prepare to handle huge user traffic
It’s quite evident retailers usually gear up their preparedness during Thanksgiving week, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season when inbound users traffic is significantly higher than usual. When cloud storage and infrastructure cost can skyrocket, it is imperative e-commerce vendors need to be well prepared and have necessary measures taken to auto-scale cloud instances. Based on previous years traffic surge data, do a Cloud infrastructure assessment audit to plan what kind of resources might be required to scale, in which target geography, during which specific days and timelines in order to gauge and handle load and ensure performance of the e-commerce platforms.
- Convert Shopping cart abandonments
The SalesCycle E-Commerce Stats Report 2018 Edition marks the latest cart abandonment rate at 75.6%. Analyzing cart abandonment requires insights from a variety of factors. Root causes could be simply broken links, pricing differences, irrelevant product mapping, wrong shipping charges, sales tax numbers or due to technical failures such as delayed page speeds, erroneous button functionality, lack of product inventory, cross-device sync issues or device compatibility. Strong data layer driven tag management, business rules based real-time alerts, dashboard reports from web analytics or mobile analytics platforms will expose possible root causes for shopping cart abandonment. Converting even 25% of cart abandonment will yield positive sales revenue and increased profits.
- Take analytics help in planning supply chain logistics
One of the largest e-Commerce marketplaces Shopify quotes that during the ecommerce marketing holidays, returns surge to 30% or even as high as 50% for “expensive” products. This is a scary statistic. If not handled well, reverse logistics or returns handling will derail months of hard work, revenue and can spoil a brand name. Timely delivery, clear return policies, responsive customer support helpdesk teams are very important. At the same time, contain delivery costs by delivery route planning, optimal timelines whether you have 3rd party logistics provider or delivering through your own vehicles. Analyze vehicle maintenance logs, service conditions, data on previous year’s delivery hiccups, customer complaints and feedback data.
- Go live with your best. Test website & mobile apps with A/B testing
Salesforce predicts that Mobile Phones will account for 68% of all e-commerce visits during Holiday Season 2018. We can easily relate with this prediction as consumers spend quality time on phones researching products, comparing features, pricing, policies etc. and end up buying products on web or mobile phones. Hence websites and mobile apps need to be user-friendly with simple navigation, contextual call-to-action, color guidelines and carry consistent brand appeal. 50% of the selling is almost done when having websites and mobile apps that are user friendly and delivers superb user experiences. A/B testing is the next piece of the puzzle. A/B testing tests two different variations of your website or Mobile apps and analyse results to see which version performs well within pre-defined criteria. A/B testing can be used to test different layouts, positions, sizes and also colours. Web Analytics platforms like Google Analytics, Adobe Experience Cloud (Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target etc.) have off-the-shelf functionality to test websites and mobile apps.
- Focus on customer retention through journey analytics
According to Gartner, 5% increase in retention can increase profits by 25% – 125%, yet ecommerce businesses need to strike a healthy balance between profitability and customer loyalty. With a focus to acquire newer customers, businesses can’t afford to lose loyal customers. By using journey analytics, one can analyze the customer’s journey across the entire sales cycle and find answers for pressing problems like:
- The customer segments with most probable churn rate
- Fixing factors affecting customer experience
- Sustaining healthy customer satisfaction scores
- Delivering superior customer support and service
Analyze key metrics like breadth of purchase, average order value, repeat purchase rate, feedback scores and customer lifetime value, to identify relationships and patterns that might improve retention.
- Carry lessons learned for the rest of the Holiday Season and next year
Make it a point to capture as many data points from preparation through execution and measurement this season. This will help you set the benchmarks, course correct and help you excel through the next holiday sales shopping season.
Wishing you a Happy Holiday Sales Season!