Christmas in August? Only 126 shopping days left till Christmas? Is your business ready?
It's August 20th. That leaves 126 shopping days until Christmas. Or 18 Fridays as my daughter has informed me! You may ask why on earth is she counting down to Christmas when it's August and what does it have to do with the blog? Well, last year we talked on the blog about Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. But, we talked about it in November. This year, I thought to give a push to any procrastinators we should get businesses thinking about it sooner rather than later. I mean do you really think Santa is sitting on a beach somewhere versus hard at work building toys and prepping his sleigh with only 126 days remaining? No way, and you shouldn't be either!
Last year in December, I blogged about what a success Black Friday and Cyber Monday was. According to statistics, some experts reported a 30 percent increase in Cyber Monday sales. Analysts also said that mobile was responsible for 31.7 percent of online traffic. That was a 45 percent increase over 2012. Not only did mobile traffic increase, but online Cyber Monday sales increased 20.6 percent over 2012 as well. These figures continue to make Cyber Monday the biggest online shopping day of the year.
So, what do all these statistics tell us? They tell us that if you are a retailer (whether you are Mom & Pop sized or larger, multi-store chains) it is time to ramp up your e-commerce as well as mobile. Now, it's mid-August already so you are cutting it close on time if you still have not started preparing for this holiday season. You surely don't want to launch a new e-commerce platform on November 1st only to find out Thanksgiving week that there is a flaw in the system. You want to give it some time with slower traffic to work any potential kinks out. So, what types of things should you be considering? I have a list for you (you had to see that coming right?). Now, some of these things may not be done for this year's holiday but should be on your horizon going forward, something to build towards.
1. Mobile. The time has come to stop procrastinating. Even high-end luxury retailers are finally getting their ducks in a row for a better mobile shopping experience. Remember the statistic above said mobile traffic was up 45 percent on Cyber Monday.
2. Inventory Management. Don't risk running out of key product or top selling items. Have an inventory management system communicate with your e-commerce system so that when you are running low on an item you can automatically re-order it. Your e-commerce system can update in real time to tell customers how many items you have left in stock. You can have your e-commerce and your in-store inventory all tied together by one inventory management system.
3. Online Order Management. Allow your customers to review previous orders, re-order a previous item, track shipping and more. These three items are ways you can unleash the power of the web to boost your business and take your website beyond a standard landing page or company information page.
These items will help streamline your business, reduce errors and make employees more efficient. Your website can do more for you than just inform your customers or potential customers about you and your business. It can take your business to the next level. So, stop missing out on the online holiday rush, and start planning now.