With the holiday season quickly approaching, we’ve put together a list of things to consider before launching your marketing campaigns and decking the halls with boughs of holly. Use our tips to help you prepare for a unique holiday shopping season where customers are more apt to use alternative shopping methods such as online shopping and curbside pickup.

Evaluate how your customers shop: Identify which shopping method best matches your business’ goals and focus on marketing that experience. How many of your customers only shop online? How many on a mobile device? How can you better serve last-minute shoppers?

Reconsider your delivery methods: With many more shoppers opting to shop online, and traditional delivery providers such as USPS pressed for capacity, can you utilize other delivery platforms such as Uber, Lyft or Instacart to ensure on-time delivery? You should also decide if is logistically possible to offer free shipping or free returns/exchanges.

Clarify curbside delivery or in-store pickup options: Many customers are currently opting to avoid coming into the store if possible, so create clear instructions for alternative pickup methods and list them on your website and app. . You could also give customers the ability to reserve items online and allow them to try on the items in store to minimize time spent in the store while also ensuring that the customer is satisfied with their purchase. Consider providing mobile updates on when orders will be ready, or using a customer’s geo-location to know when they are en route to pick up their order.

Ensure accurate inventory: Determine how you will ensure that your inventory is accurately represented online to avoid fulfillment disappointment. Is your in-store system integrated with online? Inventory is difficult to get right, but how you handle discrepancies is critical to the online shopping experience. Recognize all inventory locations (including stores) as potential fulfillment centers for ecommerce orders so merchandise isn’t just sitting there.

Develop a social media strategy: Social media is a popular shopping platform, especially among Gen Z. Creating differing marketing strategies for each channel instead of a one-size-fits-all approach can help you better reach your customers. How does your social media ad strategy fit in with your overall omnichannel strategy? Do you have data to help you determine which platform is most effective for you? Do you know how to buy social media ads?

Be honest about your customer service: Do you have enough manpower to help frazzled customers? Conversational AI may be able to assist with troubleshooting common questions and alleviating some workload from your customer service team.

Optimize for mobile: If your website looks best on a desktop computer, you are way overdue for a mobile optimization makeover. Think mobile first and adjust accordingly.

Satisfy the need for speed: Fractions of a second can make the difference between a satisfied vs. frustrated shopper. Do you monitor your customers’ real-time experience? What performance monitoring solutions do you use? Is performance testing part of your development process? Figuring this out now can ensure that you make the sale instead of losing a customer to a quicker competitor.

Reduce cart abandonment: Make sure your checkout process is secure, and as efficient as possible. Do you offer one-touch purchasing? Can you consolidate your checkout screens? Customers today expect in-app credit card scanners and the ability to pay using Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal and more. You should also have a marketing strategy for following up on abandoned carts.

Thinking about these questions now can help make your holiday season merry and bright, especially considering this year’s rush may look different due to precautions around COVID-19.

Need help preparing for the most wonderful time of the year? Our commerce experts can help you address any specific challenges you are having, or help you develop an overall strategy to ensure that you jingle all the way to a bright and merry holiday season. Contact us to get started.