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5 things you should know about the 2021 ecommerce Golden Quarter

Emily Corke
Emily Corke
Senior Content Marketing Manager
5 things you should know about the 2021 ecommerce Golden Quarter

It is that time of the year again where retailers will be getting ready for the Golden Quarter. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas sales will be the hot topic for any ecommerce site, if they haven’t been already.

Q4 2020 marked a change in the regularly scheduled retail events with high-street Black Friday and Christmas retail events taking a back seat to online sales. Q4 2021 promises to be another year of firsts with online shopping still high on the agenda but with the choice now to go back in-store.

Here are some things you should know about this year’s Golden Quarter. It might ease the burden during this busy quarter.

How are customers feeling?

Consumer confidence is up, according to the latest research from PWC, showing that customers have money to spend this year.  That said, there is still lingering uncertainty with many saying it will impact how they will spend their free cash. It means that consumers have more choice over where they spend their money and retailers, both online and instore, will have to work harder to earn it.

Our recent research has also shown us that customers are missing aspects of in-store shopping when it comes to buying some products online. Clothing, groceries, and vehicles were voted the most challenging products to buy online due to difficult browsing experiences and confusing product specifications. One common theme that came out from this research is that shoppers are missing the assistance and advice they would get instore.

It means you must be ready to be agile and understand your consumers: who they are, who they trust, where they shop and engage, and where they will spend their time.

Know your sales – are they relevant?

There's a lot of pressure on any retailer to slash prices during the fourth quarter. Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day or Super Saturday.

It’s worth looking at the calendar of shopping days in the UK and planning what promotions you can apply or will be relevant to your brand. With so much choice at the fingertips of shoppers these days, there is so much more that goes into a purchase decision than a slashed sale price. If the sales day doesn’t sit right with your brand, you might want to consider allocating resources to another.

Once you have decided on your calendar for the quarter, you can prepare your website for the relevant promotions and potential surges in website traffic.

Look back at data

One way to prepare for the promotions cycle is looking back at your historical data. High quality data will be essential to identify your core customers, increase conversion rates, improve profitability and campaigns.

Was there a promotion run in previous years that worked particularly well? Was there an area that didn’t? Could be shipping times of customer feedback about a certain product. Were there any stock issues or staffing problems?

Don’t stop there, using real-time data in your campaigns will help you identify and react to changing trends. In a year like 2021, this is so important as shopping trends and behaviours might start to appear that can’t be predicted in an uncertain climate.

How can you prepare?

Once you have your calendar, customer profile and data in place, here are a few things you can do to prepare for the busy season. They might seem obvious, but they are good reminders:

  • Make sure you refresh relevant and valuable content frequently. If your seasonal messages or sales are the first thing people see when ‘tis not the season, they might question if anyone is at the office that day and leave.
  • Make sure you have a clear call to action right up front. Consider where the best place is you want to send your customers.
  • Don’t make your customers hunt for contact information.
  • Make sure your homepage is mobile responsive.
  • Improve your homepage speed by making sure your images are the right size.
  • Consider adding social proof right up front on your homepage, reviews and Trust Pilot ratings are a great way to do that.
  • Revisit your cart abandonment emails. During the busy shopping season, these will be key to reminding your customers or forgotten purchases.

Taking in-store experiences, online

There is no doubt we will see some unprecedented shopping behaviours this year, with consumers able to go in-store and online for their purchases. With the return of online shopping and the fall of Amazon sales a few months back, how will you maximise your online strategy to ensure that consumers spend their cash with you?

Connecting with them in any way you can in the digital experience is non-negotiable now when you come up against in-store experience. Customers expect more from your virtual shop front. An online promotion alone isn’t going to cut it – they want to engage with your brand as they would with a sales assistant.

Consider offering an immersive shopping experience. This could just be including more video content, augmented reality tech or in-situ photography. The easiest way in ensure the interaction though is providing a personalised experience with product recommendations or promotional codes on relevant pages.

Look to unifying your in-store and online experience if you are looking to drive sales in both. You want your customers to have the same experience in campaign, discounts, purpose, and engagement whether they enter your physical or online store.

This is also called an omnichannel approach and the goal is to create a consistent experience across physical and online channels. It gives the customer the chance to engage with your brand on their own terms. Remember an online search might not be the destination for your customers, some might research online but make the final purchase instore.

Another way to do this is using a Digital Assistant. Customers are more likely to make a purchase if they have a good experience with interactive content that allows them to engage and learn more about a product. You can do this using a guided selling tool.

Using onsite technology to make product recommendations based on page choices, you can help your customers find what they are looking for in fewer clicks with greater potential to upsell.  During a busy Christmas season, that saves precious seconds.

The Golden Quarter sales have traditionally invoked images of queues snaking round the block. Now you can anticipate virtual queuing systems with ecommerce sites having to work 100% harder than years before. Knowing what your consumers might be looking for and boosting your ecommerce experience will be so important as you wade your way through this quarter.

If you are looking to make your ecommerce strategy work harder for you during this golden quarter, book a demo with one of our experts below today.

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