Preparing your eCommerce Website for the Summer 2021 Shopping Season
While eCommerce was already on the rise, 2020 was the year it took off. With more people stuck at home, especially during the summer vacation months, eCommerce websites experienced a surge of new customers and order volumes. With the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, still grimacing at the possibility of a ‘back-to-normal’ 2021 summer season, it is likely we are headed for a repeated state of affairs for eCommerce websites during the upcoming summer months.
But where do consumers shop? – There are many options as new websites continue to pop up in the online retail ecosystem. The ones that take advantage of Customer Conversion Optimization best practices, are the ones that ultimately benefit from stay-at-home shoppers.
Here are 4 ways to instantly boost your chances of retail success and elevate your eCommerce venture:
Be wary of big eCommerce platforms
This is not to say that there is no benefit from doing business on big retail websites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or others. However, it is essential to understand how optimization and customer conversion on those websites work, which hurdles you face, and which strategies exist to overcome the obstacles you face. Shoppers on those websites are significantly more likely to purchase products listed atop their search queries. These products are typically there because they either are a part of Amazon Basic’s brand or belong to retailers who were first adopters in that space. Therefore, trying to place your products at the top of those search queries is an arduous task since you will be competing against Amazon itself and retailers who have already proven themselves through existing volumes of sales and customer engagements. Unless you are the first comer in your niche, you may instead want to focus on a different tactic: referred sales, aka “advocacy campaigns.” Adjusting your marketing efforts to work with influencers who can funnel their loyal followers to do business with you can yield much better results. The benefits are that you will not be fighting against big platform search engines and their AI-based optimization, and you will be outsourcing your conversion activities to a person who already has built up trust among the target group.
Moreover, affiliates create content that help with that other thing you should be doing: Content.
Yes, content is still the king.
However, it is also often misused in favor of quantity over quality. Consider what your shoppers are looking for. Yes, your products are “it,” but there are other pieces in what your customers are looking for in their conversion journey, and that is a combination of reviews, how-to’s, ideas, and other content that depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling toothpaste, it may not be obvious. Still, an article on how else the product can be used (i.e., cleaning that engagement ring or removing soap scum) can lead to increased sales, especially with well-placed product links in the body. Content can also be repurposed to drive new website visitors from other platforms, including social media and other blogs. Content creates a hook for the consumer to become your customer and builds a relationship by turning your website visitors into repeat customers.
Evaluate what drives your summer sales and optimize it
There is a notable difference in what drives shopping behaviors across the different seasons. Fall has more back-to-school shopping activities, and winter takes the lead on buying big-ticket wish list items for the holidays. Summer is a different beast where shoppers are a lot more likely to be spontaneous, picking things up on the go as they traverse their more lackadaisical days. These purchases tend to be less in monetary value but happening more frequently and often with a sense of urgency. During this time, customers appreciate expedient fulfillment.
There are also many more chances to grow customer loyalty during the summer months than the winter ones. Even though customers may be buying a lot cheaper items, smaller items mean that they are a lot more likely to return to your eCommerce website if they had a great experience. So make sure that the checking out process is as flawless and straightforward as possible. If you see lots of cart abandonment, this is a telltale sign that you should revisit that portion of your website and soon! There is always room for improvement.
Consider how your existing products fit into social causes
Are your products ‘Made in America’? – Great! You should absolutely advertise that. What about products you sell that are made conscientiously? – You probably have some in your inventory, too. This might seem like a minor thing among the greater scope of marketing activities, but consumers are fond of certain social causes, and if you’re already doing good, why not also do well by promoting your products in these less-than-obvious ways. You might not care, but your customers do, and very often, they are more likely to purchase a product that aligns with their values than the product of a less savory competitor. Shoppers prefer to support small businesses, locally made products, ethically managed manufacturing processes, and various other social causes, so it makes sense to lean into what they value. This type of marketing builds trust, loyalty, and advocacy, promoting long-term success.
Whichever niche your eCommerce website belongs to, summer is a great time to elevate your success and improve your marketing flows. More people during this time explore new products, take on new hobbies, and are looking for easy solutions. Catering to these shopping interests will help you improve your sales, customer retention, and ultimately, customer loyalty.