Tech Guest Viewpoint: Four Essentials of E-Commerce Holiday Prep

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel recently interviewed people who had already finished their 2015 Christmas shopping. And while they might seem like “very, very sick people,” as Kimmel put it, in the e-commerce world they would be behind schedule. If you haven’t started prepping your online store for the holidays, it’s beyond time to get rolling. Here are four essentials of ecommerce holiday prep:
 
1. Have Yourself a Mobile Little Christmas
If you aren’t 100% mobile by the holidays, your stockings are going to be empty this year. Mobile apps and websites are a big factor in the holiday shopping process. According to Custora, 26% of ecommerce sales came from mobile devices between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday 2014. That’s a 20% increase from the previous year.
 
What does it mean to be ‘mobile’? If you’re regular customers have to fill out a 10-page questionnaire on their smartphone just to buy Aunt Carol a new bathrobe, you failed. ‘Mobile’ means one-tap buying.
 
2. Don’t Let The Grinch Steal Christmas
Fraudsters are going to make off with quite a few Christmas gifts if your website doesn’t have fraud protections. No, they won’t have a change of heart like the Grinch. In 2014, LexisNexis found that large ecommerce companies lost 0.85% of their revenue to fraud and paid $2.62 per dollar of online fraud and $3.34 per dollar of mobile fraud. In the U.S. alone, Card Not Present (CNP) fraud losses are projected to grow from $3.1 billion this year to $6.4 billion in 2018.
 
At the very least, question and verify suspicious and large orders, then blacklist buyers who turn out to be fakes. Truthfully, your best option is to use software that automatically identifies and prevents payment fraud, account fraud and account takeovers.
 
3. Grandma Got Run Over by Black Friday Shoppers
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are proof that holiday shoppers are nutty about deals. Instead of letting Grandmas get trampled, offer them digital coupons they can use online. Nearly one-quarter (23.9%) of smartphone owners planned to use coupons for their holiday shopping in 2014, so do not make coupons codes excessively long and hard to enter on a smartphone.
 
To make your coupons effective, create a sense of urgency. You can set a redemption deadline or even run a 24-hour sale a la Amazon Prime Day. Don’t be stingy; discount the gifts that people actually want to buy. As Amazon learned the hard way, deals on beard growers, bunion regulators and dishwashing detergent do not make happy customers.
 
4. Santa Claus is Coming to (Every) Town
When it’s time for Christmas, online shoppers are more than willing to buy cross-border for the right gifts. In fact, 82% of shoppers have made a cross-border purchase online. To accommodate international shoppers, you need to offer local languages, currencies and payment options. Ideally, your website should automatically detect he shopper’s location and localize the experience.

Rudolph
During the holiday season, every online store wants to stand out like Rudolph’s red nose, but the competition is intense. More than two-thirds of online shopper abandon their carts, and the holidays are no exception. The choices and deals are endless.
 
To crank up holiday revenue, you need to guide Santa’s sleigh to your customers, no matter what device they use or which country they live in. Do that, and maybe you’ll go down in history, too.


 

Ralph Dangelmaier is CEO at BlueSnap.

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