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BizReport : Ecommerce : December 05, 2016


Expert IDs how retailers can make more this holiday

Though the holiday season is in full swing, there are still opportunities for retailers to make more in revenue and to ensure customers build loyalty. One expert offers her top 3 tips.

by Kristina Knight

1. Make Sure Your Website Can Handle Crunch Times

"With the 24-hour availability of online shopping, you may think your website won't face periods of high demand, even on Cyber Monday. Not true," said Ellen Wixted, Lead Analyst at Avalara. "Consumers have shown some distinct shopping patterns that IT departments can use to make sure they can handle the load, whether by increasing staff, reducing other loads on their systems or taking other preventive measures."

2. Take Advantage of Product Sales Trends

"Evidence makes clear that shoppers tend to purchase different types of items at different times. Armed with this information, marketers can more accurately plan their ad and social campaigns, and ensure that suppliers are ready to ship. Last year, for example, jewelry, apparel and footwear sales were strongest during Thanksgiving week and the following week, then tapered off toward Christmas. Meanwhile, candy & gift baskets, books and gift cards started off slowly during Thanksgiving week and then showed stronger sales over the next three weeks," said Wixted. "Marketers can also take advantage of predictive analysis to assess how much product they may need. By comparing earlier sales periods (such as Mother's Day and Easter week) to actual holiday sales over the last two years, Avalara is predicting that for the 2016 holiday season, the following categories will see increases in overall sales: footwear (14%), jewelry (18%) and gift cards (8%). Meanwhile, the following categories will see decreases in overall sales: apparel (-6%), books (-15%) and candy & gift baskets (-5%)."

3. Be Prepared for the Morning After

"While using data to establish more effective selling strategies is important to increasing holiday season sales, it's essential that online retailers prepare for the inevitable flood of returns. Failure to be prepared can lead to operational chaos, frustration on the part of customers and suppliers, and misreporting of revenue and sales taxes. Vital steps to consider include:
• Make sure you understand what your suppliers' return policies and processes are
• Carefully develop a workflow for what happens when a product is returned. Where does it go? How is it processed? Where will it be stored? How is accounting notified?
• If you use a drop shipper, does the shipper get the product, or do you?
• If you are reporting sales in December and taking returns in January, make sure you are accurately tracking the sales tax charged and refunded."



Tags: Alavara, holiday shopping tips, retail tips, retail trends








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