Is your Shopify store ready for the end of the holiday season

Is your Shopify store ready for the end of the holiday season

The sales made during the last two months of the year contribute to 20-30 percent of the annual revenue for most companies. There is an abundance of advice on how to prepare your Shopify store for the holiday shopping season. Leaders such as Shopify, Hubspot and others published exhaustive lists with tips as early as the beginning of October.

Less is mentioned though about what you need to focus on towards the end of the season and beyond. Do you think you will be able to take a break after the initial holiday rush? Hardly so. Just take a brief look at these figures:

  • 96% of your website visitors are not ready to buy
  • less than 1% of first-time visitors have the intention to buy
  • 65 to 75% of shoppers are leaving your store without paying
  • 1 in 4 men wait till December to start their holiday shopping, while 5 in 6 women have already done it

If we are to translate these problems into goals, this is what you as a store owner need to aim for:

  • Retain the interest of visitors who are not ready to buy so that you can convert them into shoppers when they come back to your store after the holidays.
  • Gather as many details as possible about your visitors so that you can follow up with them and personalize your offer.
  • Recover abandoned carts.
  • Educate yourself on how men shop and make the most out of the male shopping frenzy in December.

In our next blog post we will talk about the first couple of goals and what you need to do to achieve them after the holidays. Now let’s focus on what you can do at the moment, in the middle of the holiday season, in order to recover most of your abandoned checkouts and to make sure your male visitors buy from you in December.

Men are buying while women are shopping

Women regard shopping in an inter-personal fashion and men treat it as a job to get done, according to research in shopping gender differences. In-store or online, women value the experience while men are goal oriented.

Men are there to buy, they do not just browse or look around. Let’s elaborate on this and see how exactly men differ from women while shopping. With this knowledge, you can make adjustments to your store so that it accommodates better the male shoppers in December.

  • While women look at the images and use the viewing tools, men will more likely read thoroughly the product descriptions. It will pay off, if you take a brief look at the information you have already published and add a few more relevant details about your products.
  • While women are more contextual and are likely to appreciate a more polite and softer language, men prefer short and direct messages. When you edit your product descriptions or late season promo messages, make you sentences more concise and your call to action straightforward.
  • Women often browse just for inspiration or to explore different options to satisfy future needs. Men on the other hand will most probably be shopping with a specific product in mind to satisfy an immediate need. If you currently have a newsletter subscription pop-up on your Shopify store, you may want to replace it with a specific product offer in December.
  • Women are more likely to actively hunt for bargains and deals, while men want to complete their purchase quicker. Therefore, it is never too late to reduce the checkout steps on your Shopify store or the number of fields which require irrelevant personal information. You can also consider the option of a social login, which will simplify the checkout process even further.
  • While women would ask for friend recommendations or advice, men are more likely to use the customer services options immediately. If you are not providing a live chat yet, you may want to test a relevant Shopify app and see how it works with the incoming holiday shoppers. We would suggest Tidio Chat, which is quite reasonably priced, and also most actively and positively reviewed in the Shopify App store. If you do not have the capacity to provide all-day support, you can at least make the customer support working hours visible on your Shopify store, so that your customers would expect your reply lag.

As you see, it will not require so much effort to brush up your Shopify store in order to keep the December male shoppers engaged and happy. Many of them will probably be visiting your website for the first time. Of course, you would not make all of them buy. But at least you can ensure that they leave a feasible trace, such as their email, for you to follow up. In our next blog post we will put in some advice on how to effectively achieve this.

But now, imagine this: you have done everything right, made all the necessary adjustments to your stores, and your visitor, be it male or female, is at the checkout ready to place their order. And then, they leave your store. You might think “what a waste of effort”. The truth is that your efforts are not wasted because you have brought your customer so far. What you need to do next, with just a little bit of extra energy, is simply make them come back and finish their purchase.

Well-timed emails might gain back up to 72% of your potential sales

The average cart abandonment rate for 2015 has been 69% and is expected to move up during the holiday season. Moreover, the cart abandonment rate on mobile is much higher than on desktops, reaching 79% on average, and up to 89% in the US. As we have mentioned in a previous post, the part of purchases finalized on a mobile device will be over 32% of all online sales during the 2015 holiday season. Therefore, high cart abandonment rates will likely be a challenge for you no matter how well you are prepared for it. Yet, here is a good side to it.

75% of the visitors who abandoned their carts did actually intend to buy. For this reason alone, it is worth reviewing your Shopify cart abandonment strategy. The first hours after they left their shopping cart unattended are the most critical to recover the lost sale. Moreover, according to some research, the average value of recovered orders is 18% higher than that of direct sales. It comes then as a total surprise that only 24% of the global marketers deploy cart abandonment email campaigns. This means, you stand a great chance to have your recovery mails and related incentive offers noticed during the holiday season.

Incurred unexpected costs at checkout, poor on-site experience, and simply indecision are among the top reasons why people abandon their e-carts. If you have already addressed these issues, you might still face high cart abandonment rates and need to send out cart recovery emails. Even in the middle of the holiday season, you may want to review the timing of these emails, their content and wording.

When drafting your email your subject line needs to be catchy, your call to action clear, your message personal and your images of good quality.

A cart abandonment message is not just a reminder, but also a new marketing opportunity to send branded information to your customers. If you are looking for ad copy and design ideas about your cart abandonment messages, Shopify has already curated some amazing examples.

Research confirms that the open (40%) and click through (20%) rates of emails sent out within 3 hours after the online cart was abandoned are significantly higher than those of ordinary sales emails. 72% of those who buy after they have abandoned their online shopping carts, do so within 24 hours.

Still you might not want to put all your action prompts and purchase incentives in on email. You can distribute them across a sequence of 2 or 3 emails instead. Depending on your product cycle and the number of events which trigger automatic messages, you can time the emails as follows:

  • within 1-3 hours of the cart abandonment
Your visitors might have strayed away in search of more options or just because they experienced a website downtime. With your first message, you might remind them about their intended purchase, using all your insight from your customer’s browsing history. Adding a picture of the abandoned product is a must. You can also include relevant customer reviews or testimonials and boost the sense of urgency if the product is of limited quantity. It is a good practice to highlight your customer support details as well. On the cart page, you can also suggest related products. We find the Product Upsell app quite effective and user-friendly in this regard.
  • within 24 hours
As quite often price concerns are a reason for shoppers to abandon their online carts, you can offer an exclusive discount coupon or a free gift offer in your second reminder email. If the total cost of the purchase has not qualified for a free shipment, a whole product bundle most probably will. Therefore, you can suggest related bundled products to be added to the shopping cart. Payment security, product guarantee or your return policy are also common concerns for online shoppers and you might want to address them too in this message.
  • within 2 weeks of the cart abandonment
If you opt for a third message, a link for easy access to the abandoned cart is a must, as well as the pictures and the details of the products in it. The message can also contain a cart expiry warning, a current promo campaign details, if you are running one at that time, or your refund policy information. On the cart page itself, you may want to remind your customers about their product browsing history. There are just a few relevant Shopify apps. We would recommend LimeSpot. It is the most positively reviewed and popular app and elegantly displays the items, which were last viewed by the specific customer. 

Beware though, a lot of retailers immediately offer price discounts in their recovery messages. According to industry observers, there is an increasing number of shoppers who abandon their carts just because they are hunting for lower prices. If you do not want to reinforce this bad behaviour, then you can re-think the incentives you offer, and focus on the non-monetary ones. Your message open rate will not suffer from it. If you need some inspiration and ideas, take a look at this amazing Lookbook collection of recovery emails of some of the big fashion brands.

Here we have put together some advice on what you can focus on while the holiday season is still in progress. In a later post, we will discuss what specific actions you can undertake right after the holidays to keep your revenue rising by retaining first-time visitors to your Shopify store and rewarding your repeat customers. Wondering what to do with those holiday promo landing pages you put so much time and creativity in? To find an answer to this, do stay tuned!

P.S. If you have followed the links to the suggested Shopify Apps, you already know who are some of the trusted Shopify developers. If you want to explore what other apps they are working on, you can check them directly at: BoldAppswe mentioned their Product Upsell and Product Bundles here, Tidio with their Live Chat app, and LimeSpot, who specialize in content personalization.

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