How to Prepare Your Online Marketplace For the Festive Season
Christmas. Combined with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s the biggest time of the year for ecommerce. However, unlike those two singular dates, the entire month of December can be an incredibly hectic time for any ecommerce store or marketplace. While, of course, you ideally want your marketplace to be busy, you may find yourself spinning an awful lot of different plates to keep the show on the road, so to speak.
With an eclectic mix of last-minute Christmas eve shoppers, to well ahead-of-time buyers, the month of December will see a whole range of different customers and transactions types on your marketplace - in order to capitalize on this increased traffic as much as possible, you need to have a game plan.
You have to set out what it is you want to achieve and what does success looks like - want to beat last year’s figures in terms of sales? You need to understand what it is that you want to achieve in terms of traffic and revenue as well as understanding your type of customers as well as the various subgroups within, their behaviors, and habits.
All going well, the festival season can be the most profitable time for an online business and can set you up nicely going into the new year. However, unless you cater to a very niche market, chances are you’ll find yourself facing some stiff competition. How do you stand out and get customers to the checkout page?
Managing your inventory is critical during the festival season. You need to ensure that you have an up-to-date inventory listing on your site. It's important to understand which products may see higher demand and to put in place the --- to deal with that.
For instance, let's say you have a gaming marketplace, selling consoles, games, controllers, etc - of course, you will need to ensure that the products you have listed on your store are still available from your vendor. For example, the PS5 will be a very popular but scarce item this year, if you list it as being available in your marketplace, it's vital that you keep an eye on your vendors and whether it is still available on their end
Leading from inventory, orders and their correct management is also a vital element for making the festival period successful for your online marketplace.
The last thing you want is the nightmare scenario such as - a customer places an order but due to some mistake, it isn’t relayed back to the appropriate vendor or is forgotten about completely. Que irate customers who you now have to break the news that they won’t have their order in time for Christmas.
In such a situation, offering a full refund is the bare minimum that you could do as it is likely to boil over into a big mess - not only will that customer never buy from you again, chances are they will let their opinion be known online and that is something that you just don’t need. So long story short, make sure you keep on top of your orders, this goes for any other time of year of course but especially at Christmas.
How easy it is to simply navigate your marketplace can be vital when it comes to turning visitors into customers - how easy customers find it to search for the products they want is a core part of making your event succeed. This can be particularly important during the festival season.
Look at metrics like your bounce rate to try and figure out which pages need to be improved - on such a busy day, customers may visit your site but only give you a short window of time in terms of whether they can find what they are looking for quickly. If they can’t, then you should look to see how you can improve the page experience.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you ensure that your site is easy to navigate, intuitive to use, mobile-friendly, and fast loading - from search all the way to checkout. It would be a pity to allow poor loading times or navigation errors to be the reason a customer decided to keep away from your site.
Nobody wants to find no presents under the tree on Christmas morning so it’s vital that you work to ensure that your shipping policy is fully dialed. During the festive period, your shipping policy is a core area that potential customers will look at when deciding whether to buy from you or not.
It’s important to clearly communicate to your user’s information such as the shipping cut-off dates for your carriers - i.e
“Our guaranteed delivery cut-off date is the 21st of December, after which we cannot guarantee delivery of orders before the 25th of December”.
We recommend placing such a message as a banner on your homepage to ensure it is visible and won’t be missed by customers.
Perhaps, you could decide to figure out a last-minute shopping feature with your vendors or carriers to guarantee delivery right up until the big day itself. This could act as a USP for your marketplace, although it may be difficult to achieve.
Keeping on top of everything
Unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you'll have to be on the ball for the entirety of December with things gradually getting busier and busier as the days tick down to the 25th. This can be stressful, issues that occur early on in the month may derail your entire plan and have you dashing to put out fires as more appear in their place.
It is for this reason that you need to have an ace up your sleeve - something which can manage all aspects of your day-to-day operations and truly step up to the plate during a busy time such as Christmas.
Thankfully, there is such a solution, which can truly take your marketplace to another level and allow you to manage multiple different aspects of your business with ease. What is that solution?
Maximize Your Festival Success With Onport
Christmas will be a busy period for any marketplace - things can get stressful and hectic which is natural. Regardless of what you sell, you need a solution that will reliably deliver high-level performance for you and your customers. You need Onport.
With Onport, you have a solution that is as invested in the success of your Christmas period as you are. We work tirelessly to ensure that your festive sales period is a success, offering extensive functionality in regard to order routing, payments, shipping, and product management. We’ll help you manage your inventory, relay orders to your vendors, pay them, and of course - get those orders to the end customers.
Not only do we support an extensive range of 3rd party integrations, if you are using a custom setup, don’t worry, we can also support that too with ease. Want true freedom to sculpt your marketplace as you see fit? Well, then our Headless Commerce features are something you should find very interesting.
With Onport, our customers can scale with confidence, streamline their daily operations as well as create truly unique marketplaces. Onport is trusted by brands such as Bombinate, Ad Hoc Atelier, and Naduvi as well as over 200+ other companies.