As the holiday approaches, are you looking forward to some family feasts, merry-making, and good cheer?  If you are a retailer, these might be the subjects of distant memories only.  More often than not, holidays mean rushing projects, headaches, long days, and sleepless nights.  The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are a couple tips to help your “days be merry and bright” this year instead of something you “wouldn’t touch with a 39 ½ foot pole!”

 

 

Tip #1: Promotion vs. Fulfillment

Unfortunately for some retailers, last year’s (2011) holiday was anything but white (names will be withheld to protect the guilty :).  While their promotions and deals did the job of bringing people to the website and convincing them to purchase, these retailers did not sufficiently forecast what the demand would be.  As a result, fulfillment was not able to keep up with demand and many web orders ended up being cancelled.  Of course, customers do not soon forget this sort of treatment.  Hell hath no fury like a customer who has her precious online deal taken away and finds out she needs to pull off a last minute Christmas miracle.   Takeaway #1: Don’t make promises you can’t fulfill!  Get the Marketing and Fulfillment groups together!

Tip #2: Get Creative with Holiday Promotions and Timing

For the 2011 holiday, many retailers, such as Walmart, did not just stick to the Black Friday or Cyber Monday timeframe.  In fact, many opened up deals on Thanksgiving or earlier in the week.  Think about it.  After sitting down to a nice family dinner, you have a whole rest of the day open.  What are you going to do?  Ok, while you are watching football, you have your tablet on to check if that big screen TV is going to get as low as you hope online.  It’s a prime opportunity for retailers to promote their goods to consumers!  Let’s take advantage of it!  Here’s to Cyber Week!

Tip #3: An Ounce of Preparation

Let’s be honest.  Who wants to be in the middle of Turkey Time and get a call from someone at work who can’t get their numbers?  Not I.  There are a few things you can do to prevent this.  I’d recommend making sure you submit any expected traffic spikes so that Adobe knows to allocate the appropriate resources to your account.  Believe me: this goes a long way!  One other recommendation is to set up automated reporting to go to your business users so they have the data they need, when they need it.

Part of preparation means knowing holiday trends and what to expect this year.  The Adobe Digital Index can help us there.  Here are some of the holiday predictions from the Adobe Digital Index.

http://success.adobe.com/en/na/programs/digital-index/1211-13926-holiday-online-sales-forecast-report.html

 

Tip #4: Think Tablets!

No, I’m not talking about headache medicine!  We’ve seen some very interesting data over the past year or two specifically regarding the use of tablets in retail.  http://success.adobe.com/en/na/programs/digital-index/1205_18011_tablet_report.html

In essence, tablet users have higher AOV than traditional devices (mobile and non-mobile) and comparable conversion rates.  Also, tablets are typically used more when users are in the comfort of their home.  If you haven’t optimized your site for tablets yet, what are you waiting for?

Of course, it goes without saying that the holidays are an important time to any retailer.  Doing what you can to optimize your experience and reduce the stress level at this time is essential.  This holiday, let’s have ourselves a merry little Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday!  Best of Luck!

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