Get Your eCommerce Site Ready for 2020 Holiday Season

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eCommerce holiday season. ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste – said W. Churchill back in the 1940’ies. It is true amidst preparations for the busiest shopping season of the post-pandemic year. It might bring success or disaster to many retailers and brands currently facing the soaring demand levels in their eCommerce sites, as traditional retail will arguably never fully recover to the pre-COVID-19 state. Even in the most favorable scenario, the merchants should concentrate on integrating the physical and digital realms through omnichannel solutions rather than expecting things to return to normal.

We've crafted officially platform-approved security audit procedures for the PrestaShop stores, and we regularly conduct tailor-made checks for major sites running on typically heavily customized code.

- Invertus

It’s believed that the 2020 holiday season could set sales records. While many brick-and-mortar store operators have already realized that switching online isn’t as easy as many have expected back in March, they’re yet to experience the turmoil and disruption of a typical Black Friday and holiday sales in their full glory. 

As there’s still enough time to prepare, we have pulled together a few recommendations to help you prepare your eCommerce businesses for your busy holiday season. 

eCommerce holiday season. Mark the critical 2020 eCommerce holiday dates

  • October 12 – Columbus Day 
  • October 31 – Halloween 
  • November 1 – All Saints’ Day (Fiesta de Todos los Santos) (Spain)
  • November 27 – Black Friday 
  • November 30 – Cyber Monday 
  • November 8 – Father’s day
  • December 6 – Spanish Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) 
  • December 8 – Immaculate Conception (Italy)
  • December 14 – Green Monday
  • December 24-25 – Christmas Eve & Christmas
  • January 5 – Winter sale starts in Italy/France/Spain
  • December 26 – Boxing Day
  • January 1 – New Year Sales 
  • January 6 – La Befana (Italy) 

Security will play a pivotal role

The rapid move to ‘all-digital’ has already had severe implications for newcomers and experienced eCommerce native-borns. Albeit 2019 saw an unprecedented number of security and data breaches, the incoming data of COVID-19 lockdown indicates we can expect yet another record-breaking year. The rising number of data-breaches in eCommerce in the following years suggest security enhancements deserve to become a mainstay in your CTO and site administrator’s agenda.

Disruptive events, such as the current pandemic, create a state of uncertainty and unpredictability. The subsequently rising anxiety leads to an increased number of human errors, which causes as much as 52% of data breaches by some estimates. With growing eCommerce’s influence on the bottom line of many businesses, security will not only make the difference between the winners and the laggards but may define the future of many brands overall. In 2019, 32% of eCommerce merchants had security-related issues. In 2020 the numbers may grow significantly and may sink sales and unprepared merchants’ reputation, threatening their relationship with customers.

At Invertus, we help brands prepare for possible evil-minded attacks by conducting rigorous security audits and integrity reviews, thus securing eStores uptime for the upcoming holiday season. We’ve crafted officially platform-approved security audit procedures for the PrestaShop stores, and we regularly conduct tailor-made checks for major sites running on typically heavily customized code. 

Check our solutions or drop us a note to find more.

eCommerce holiday season.

Shift spending from offline to online sooner rather than later

During the following months, investment into offline has been cut in half while most businesses plan to further increase their investments in online channels like web, apps, social, and third-party marketplaces. Zara alone is to close up to 1,200 shops to shift their budget into digital stores. On top of that, nearly 60% plan to increase investment in new-to-them digital media, and 62% will specifically invest in mobile channels. The reason for such actions is apparent: most of Europe’s pure eCommerce players are currently seeing 10% to 50% revenue growth YoY.

Almost half of the decision-makers whose businesses sell online report growth due to COVID-19. This boost is a direct consequence of an increased volume of search, traffic, and orders. We can not foresee the future, though we reckon the 2020 holiday season traffic will reach the new heights. You should do your best to make sure your eStore can handle it.

Rethink how you deliver eCommerce experiences that go beyond transactions

eCommerce’s role is becoming central in creating a customer experience and building or breaking business relationships. Even before the restrictions and lockdowns were imposed, online shopping grew its significance as customers preferred shopping channels in B2C and B2B markets.

Although customers always prefer a personalized experience, their expectations of relevant customer service will inevitably include:

  • Knowing exactly which products are in stock, or what is expected delivery time; 
  • Getting accurate and up-to-date product information.

Almost 40% of consumers and 56% of B2B customers prefer paying more for a better experience and won’t buy from the same business again if having a substandard experience. Surprisingly, a whole lot of digital companies don’t provide even basic functionalities such as easy website navigation, relevant search results, or straightforward product information menu.

You can find an overview of customers’ reported experiences, which might discourage them from using the same site again in the graph below. Nearly 72% of customers report challenges from out of stocks to difficulty finding answers to research questions or purchasing. Moreover, many complain of inaccurate search results, inadequate or missing imagery, lack of reviews or ratings, and limited delivery options.