Ah Summer, time to shed the winter layers, dust off the BBQ and panic because you never got round to dieting like you said you would…
For sun-lovers, school children and SAD sufferers it may be a time to rejoice but for ecommerce merchants it can be a nerve-wracking period.
In fact, ecommerce activity has been shown to go down by as much as 30% in the summer months compared to the highs of December, a possible disaster for your business if you don’t know how to direct some of that activity your way (not to mention turning it into sales).
So, how can you stop your profits falling harder and faster than your willingness to be in the office on a sunny day? Well, in the same way that there are summer essentials for your holiday suitcase, there are also summer essentials for you store.
We’ve put together our list of items that you should make sure to pack into your ecommerce strategy this season… (see what we did there?)Want all these tips in one place? Plus FOUR bonus tips?! Then download our Summer Ecommerce Checklist by clicking the image below...
1. Summer Wardrobe: Dressing your store for business
Let’s face it, if you were to rock up to your summer holiday destination wearing a heavy-knit jumper and a pair of rain boots people would start to think you were one piece of luggage short of a full set. So, why not apply this common sense thinking to your online store and dress it in a summer appropriate manner?
TopShop use summer imagery, promoting relevant summer items
to make it clear what season they are selling for!
What to do next: Give your personalized website a summer face lift. According to research by Google it takes only 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion on your webpage and, according to Kissmetrics, 42% of shoppers base their opinion of a website on design alone. So, with little time to convey witty copy, great products and fancy site functionality, aesthetically dressing your store for summer is a good option. How far you take it is up to you- obviously go crazy with sunflower and ice lolly pictures if that’s in line with your brand but subtle changes can be effective also. Try lightening your store’s colour palette, adding brightly coloured (and easily changeable) banners or using stock photography that has an understated summer feel- think happy faces and blue skies. Capturing the feeling of frivolity and spontaneity that comes with summer will help to move your shoppers away from the sun lounger and towards the check-out button.
2. Postcards: “Wish you were here (...shopping in my store)”
When you’re lazing around the pool, drinking your bodyweight in margaritas, it’s probably fair to say that you’re not thinking much about home. But because communication is key, most of us have managed to drag ourselves away from our sunbathing long enough to send a postcard at some point or or another. While it may be tempting to think that nobody is listening to you in the ecommerce world during the summer months but remember, you do still have lines of communication open to you and it is more important than ever that you use them.
What to do next: Email is the postcard of the 21st century and with an ROI of approximately 4,300%, you’d be a fool not to use it. In the summer, when ecommerce traffic may be a bit slower, “We miss you” emails are a fantastic option. Send them to customers who haven’t visited your store for a while to let them know that you haven’t forgotten them.
But let’s face it, as nice as it is to be missed that’s not really going to tempt them back, is it? That’s where personalization comes in- include product recommendations based on their previous shopping history to really up your chances of winning their hearts (and their shopping loyalty).
At Nosto we have found emails containing personalized recommendations to be 100% more likely to convert. But if you think creating a personalized, targeted and topical piece of email marketing sound like a lot of hard work, don’t worry- it needn’t be. The whole process can be automated in just a few minutes, meaning your customers won’t be the only ones with more time to spend out of the office. Hooray!
Organic Surge use a "We miss you email" to bring customers back
to there store - personalized with tailored product recommendations.
Bonus Tip: If you also want to take advantage of seasonal trends in your “We miss you” email, keeping it all the more relevant for summer shoppers, then add a ‘most popular’ list as well.
3. Sunglasses: Letting your customers see what they want to
Sometimes in life we want a range, and sometimes we want to filter out that which isn’t of interest to us. As is the case with sunglasses- a clever little invention that allows you to seek out some much needed rays but whilst filtering out the undesirable UVA kind. This kind of functionality is just as important for your online store. With potentially less people visiting during the holiday season it’s more important than ever to make sure that potential customers see what they want to.
What to do next: Shoppers who come to your website and the use search box are 3-4x more likely to convert. Make it easy for them to do just that by positioning your search tool properly on the page. According to Depesh Mandalia, Head of Conversion & Product at ticket.com, search boxes tend to be found in the top right of websites- "creating familiarity” which “speeds up the shop and reduces customer thinking time”. All of which is good news for you.
But if you really want to get clever make sure to also pre-empt any product spelling mistakes your customers are likely to make. Think along the lines of Google’s “Did you mean?” functionality, which re-directs you when you make an erroneous search. Mimic this by installing a tool* to monitor your shoppers search behaviour, recognising when a commonly misspelt word is associated with a product on your site. The correct product can then be offered to your shopper, keeping them on your site and (most importantly) on their way to the checkout.
4. Swimwear: Showing off your assets
Summer sees many shops metaphorically stripping off and showing what they have on offer. But, while a sale section is a great tool to make much needed sales in the slower seasons, don’t be tempted to give everything away at once. You don’t want to be (metaphorically) standing there in your speedos when everyone else is still in their boardies, after all...
Boohoo are one company that are not afraid to shout
about the opportunities they offer for you to save money.
What do do next: There are two possible tactics. Your first option is to discount your summer specific items, making products that are more likely to be on a shopper’s ‘to buy’ list even more likely to fly out the door. Your second choice is to reduce the price of items that are unlikely to sell, getting rid of excess stock and grabbing a few extra bucks at the same time.
According to E-tailing group, 47% of online shoppers are only looking to purchase reduced stock and 62% are looking specifically for a sale section. So, whatever your tactic, if you are relying on discounted items to bring you summer business, make sure that they can be found.
Bonus Tip: If you really want to up the ante promote your discounts as being for a limited time only. Shoppers are most likely to make impulse purchases if an offer has a definite end. Nothing like making hay while the sun shines!
5. Passport: Your online store - a world of possibilities
Your passport is your gateway to the world and important if you want to be international. The same can be said for your website. And if you are struggling during the summer months, being international isn’t a bad idea- it may be all sun-lollies and sun-cream where you are, but there are still parts of the world where winter weather means online shopping is an attractive option once again. Consider widening your net and catching these ready-and-waiting sales.
Volcom changes the currency and order details to reflect an Australian IP, as well as highlighting produtcs that are more appropiate for the current Australian season.
What to do next: There a few steps you are going to have to take before your e-store is ready to take on the world. Firstly, because people like to pay in a format that is familiar to them, enabling different currencies on your site will remove a barrier to buying for your overseas customers. How you do this will depend on what platform your store is built on. Shopify users can follow this guide, Magento merchants have the iPay extension and those of you using Prestashop can use this tutorial.
But it doesn’t stop there - the next step is to optimize your delivery options for international customers (there’s no point them handing over their pasos, rupees or yen if you can’t get the goods to them, after all). Make sure your logistic provider is optimized for international delivery. There are many services to choose from for but if your aim is to be up and running before summer is over consider providers that are already able to integrate with your platform of choice as this will keep set up quick and simple.
Bonus Tip: Consider geo-targeting to both personalize and optimize the international relationships you have formed. By using technology that identifies your customer’s location you can offer personalized geographical recommendations, helping you to stay relevant to your customers. You don’t want to be recommending scarves and wooly hats to those areas of the world lucky enough to be enjoying a heat wave, after all…
6. Address book: Pop-ups, the new way to stay in touch
Holidays are a great time to form new friendships with people from around the world but normally these are also considered to be temporary, doomed to fade with the tan you spent so long trying to get. But when you’ve put the time and effort into a relationship why not at least swap contact details in the hope that your paths may cross again? Of course, this should be true with the visitors to your website also. You’ve spent time and money getting them there so don’t let them walk out the (virtual) door so easily. Pop-ups are a great for this. They provide a way to interact with potential customers that may otherwise walk away, encouraging them to make a purchase or at least leave their details with you so that they may do so in the future.
Greatdays use a pop-up to capture abandoning shoppers- capturing their contact details for marketing later on, as well as making it easier for them to return.
What to do: The first step is to choose a technology that will enable pop-up use on your site. If your aim is summer sales then time is of the essence so put ease of implementation high on your priority list. That said, keep in mind that anything too restrictive in functionality is not going to be effective. Look for a tool that allows you to set-up multiple trigger points, targeting different customers groups. Once this is in place all you need to do is decide what type of pop-up is going to be effective and at which stage in your buyer's journey.
Bonus Tip: Don’t underestimate data capture as an aim in itself. During the summer months, when it is more quiet, is a great time to put time and effort into this. Then, when the crazy Christmas season is here, you are already one step ahead of the game!
7. Dear Diary: Blogging is big business
Writing a diary on holiday is a nice way to document the many special moments that might otherwise be forgotten (especially after your fourth cocktail). It also gives you something to do beside the pool other than worry about how often you need to apply suncream. But the fact is, that with the exponential growth of the internet, “Dear Diary” pieces are no longer resigned to My Little Pony notebooks with laughably insecure padlocks. In fact, they are more likely to start “Dear world” and sit in the virtual world for all to see. Welcome to the world of blogging, a sure-fire way to connect with your audience, whatever the weather...
Sarah Raven is a great example of an informative and relevant brand blog!
What to do next: The key is to stop saying and start doing. Many companies think they don’t have time to blog but if summer is your slower season now is the perfect time to start. If done well it will not only position you as thought leader in your space, adding extra value to your customers, but will also bring new people to your store (something which is even more important when sales are slow). In fact, companies which blog have been shown to enjoy 55% more web traffic. And while you may argue that more traffic doesn’t guarantee more sales, blogging companies have also been shown to get 70% more leads. But remember, success such as this is dependent on your content being valuable and interesting according to your customers’ needs.
Extra tip: To truly make the most of the summer vibes include topical pieces which incorporate summer themes or play to specific dates in the summer ecommerce calendar.
Remember, if you want all these tips in one place, plus FOUR bonus tips then download our Summer Ecommerce Checklist by clicking the image below...