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Prepare your eCommerce business for Q4

In the peak of covid we saw 10 years growth in the eCommerce industry happen in just 10 months! I remember when things first started everyone panicked and thought businesses were doomed, however in our industry the opposite happened, and online stores thrived. Australians spent over $62 billion on physical goods online in 2021 alone.

For many, business is still up compared to pre-pandemic times, however, things feel bad as we’re over the peak and starting to come down the other side.

I don’t think things will go back to pre-pandemic levels overall as so many new people have started to use eCommerce, having been forced into it as their only option, many have realised the convenience of online shopping and now more than 5 million households in Australia participate in online shopping each month.

Quarter 4 is fast approaching and it’s typically the busiest time of the year for eCommerce businesses with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. Many businesses make over half of their yearly revenue in these 3 months alone.

This year things are feeling a little different. There’s uncertainty in the air, as interest rates continue to go up and the cost of living keeps rising. Many households are feeling the strain and starting to tighten their purse strings. 

So what can you do to set yourself up for the best success during quarter 4?

Ensure your website is ready to convert

There’s no point getting all the extra traffic over Q4 if you’re not ready to convert your visitors into customers. 

A good eCommerce website should be converting 2-3% of all visitors. This means for every 100 people who visit your website 2-3 people purchase.

Ensure you’re using high quality images and videos, showing all angles of your products so you don’t leave people guessing.

Answer all the commonly asked questions in your descriptions and highlight what makes you different.

Build loads of trust with reviews, user generated content and trust badges across your products pages, home page and cart page.  

If you’re website conversion rate is under 3% check out:

How to turn your website visitors into customers 

Make it a great Experience

There are plenty of places people can shop these holidays, if you want them to shop with you, you need to make it a great experience from start to finish.

Ensure your website loads fast (under 5 seconds) and is easy to navigate, especially on mobile.

Simplify your menu structure and use filters to make it easy to find what they’re looking for. 

Provide exceptional customer service before and after the sale by keeping in touch and ensuring their gift arrives in time to go under the tree.

Wow them with beautiful packaging and a hand written note. You could even pop in a little something extra as a Christmas gift like a decoration or a lolly pop.

Make Gift Giving Easy

I’m terribly unorganised when it comes to gift giving. My bestie is still waiting for her birthday pressie to arrive – her Birthday was in March! 

So when it comes to Christmas gifts with family and friends all over Australia I shop online and ship directly to them.

Why get something sent to me, wrap it and then pay to ship it again when I could find somewhere that will gift wrap it for me (it’s guaranteed to look better than if I did it), hand write a card and ship it to them so it arrives in time for Christmas… this year! 

If you offer gift wrapping and cards, promote it! Post videos to socials of just how beautiful your gifts will be when they arrive. Show the process of you packing an order, wrapping it and writing the card. 

If you don’t offer gift wrapping consider adding the option during Q4 for Christmas gifts – and yes I’m always happy to pay for it as an additional service. 

Consider adding a Gift Guide to your website to help people shop by price, or by relative! 

Start Early

Black Friday used to be just for the US but these days it’s huge in Australia too. The week of Black Friday is extremely competitive, big brands are throwing big budgets at their ads and this drives the price up for everyone else. 

The Social feeds are full of discounts and promotions and standing out can be hard.

If you’re looking to run a promotion for Black Friday/Cyber Monday consider doing it a week early to avoid the high ad costs and stand out from all the noise. 

Educate your customers

Let’s face it we can be pretty confident there will be delays to shipping so keep your customers up to date with lead times and set the expectation they will need to order early to avoid disappointment.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep – like order the week before Christmas and you’ll get it in time! 

If you’re having a sale in October or November and it’s your last one for the year – tell your customers! You don’t want people holding out for Black Friday or December if you’re making your big splash early.  Let them know “this is our last/biggest sale of the year”. Tell them to “shop now for Christmas gifts and save”.

Consider your audience

With things getting tougher financially for many families it may be time for you to consider who your target market is. Are they struggling right now, or do they still have plenty of disposable income? 

There will always be spending over Q4, however for some this year they may spend less than last year. 

So consider if your current target market is still suitable or if you may need to branch out to some secondary markets who may have more disposable income at the moment. 

Build Your Community

Even if not everyone can buy from you right now, you should be collecting their email so you can keep in touch and stay front of mind for when the time is right. 

Consider running a Competition, you could even collaborate with other brands to build your email list and your socials.

You can use Gleam to make the whole process really simple. It allows you to set up competitions where people provide their email, and can follow you and other brands on socials for extra entries. They also let you pick the winner through the software.   

Follow Up 

This is important all year round but make sure you’re ready to follow up potential customers throughout their buying journey with email automations and a paid ads retargeting strategy.

Check out my 7 must have email automations for eCommerce to ensure you’re ready to nurture your subscribers into buyers.

If you want someone to take care of your Facebook ads for you, book a call and let’s chat. 

Clear Old Stock

I recommend only having 1 major sale during the Q4 period. With Black Friday, Christmas Shopping and then Boxing Day all so close together if you run a sale for everything you may tarnish your brand and train your audience to always wait for you to go on sale. 

Another way to clear out some old stock, without having a site wide sale is to offer special bundles. 

Work out which stock has been slow to move and bundle it up with some of your best sellers, offer a discounted price as a bundle and promote that instead.

If you have lots of stock to move consider having a 12 days of Christmas promotion with a different product on sale for 12 days.

Upsell Your Orders

Would you like fries with that? That one question makes McDonalds millions every year. So what could your fries be? 

Consider products you could sell as an add on to your core product such as a case with sunglasses, earrings with a dress, wallet with a handbag or a whole set rather than just one product.

Using bundles apps can make this super easy and can increase your revenue without any extra traffic.

See 7 Ways to get your customers spending more for more ideas. 

Promote Your Sustainability

According to a survey by Saavy over 60% of consumers are willing to pay more when it comes to buying ethical and sustainably-made products.

According to another study by Global Web Index 41.8% of consumers want brands to be socially responsible.

Give the push towards more conscious consumerism be sure to include this in your messaging if you have sustainable practices in your business.

If you’re looking for ways to make your brand more sustainable check out my interview with Anaita Sakar of Hero Packaging where she shares 5 things you can do to increase your sustainability. It’s not just about shipping in compostable mailers, although that’s a great start!

Hop to it! 

It’s already September (how did that happen?) so start getting organised now:

  • Order stock
  • Order packaging and promotional cards
  • Optimise your website
  • Take your seasonal images
  • Create your content schedule
  • Put together your competitions
  • Create product bundles
  • Pre-schedule your content
  • Build out your ads

Here’s to an awesome Q4!

 

If you want help to make this your best Q4 ever be sure to see how we can help.

 

Stats from Savvy.com.au and McKinsey