Black Friday / Cyber Monday are just around the corner, and with it begins every online retailer’s busiest time of year — the seasonal shopping rush. Whether buying gifts for family and friends, taking advantage of end-of-year sales, or simply shopping with their favorite brands, ecommerce customers are readily gearing up for the holiday deals, and it’s crucial that retailers get ahead by providing the best end-to-end online shopping experience possible.

To help online retailers do exactly that, here are 7 tried-and-true ways we recommend to delight online shoppers during the holiday shopping rush. While not all merchants can execute each of these suggestions in the short-term, some are readily accessible to merchants of all sizes.

1. Surface on-site recommendations for everyone’s gifting needs

With so many websites and brands quite literally at their fingertips, today’s shoppers can get lost in the sheer plethora of choice while searching online for that perfect gift. By categorizing your merchandise and making your site easy to navigate according to individual gifting ‘types’ — the classic film buff, for example, vs. the aspiring sushi chef vs. the ahead-of-trend fashionista — and intuitively surfacing relevant options within your online shopping experience, you’ll delight your customers by simplifying holiday gift-giving for everyone on their lists.

2. Sweeten an online purchase with a free gift

It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but offering a gift with any or certain purchases can, a) increase conversions on your site, and b) help inspire more brand loyalty from customers. Either your customers get a little something extra for themselves, or you give them an extra something to gift someone else on their list — either way, it’s an always-appreciated way of showing your gratitude for their decision to purchase with you.

3. Let customers know what to expect upfront

Some shoppers start early, while others get going with gifts on the later side. It’s your job to clearly communicate with all shoppers what they can expect if they make a purchase from you during this busy ecommerce shopping — and delivery — season. Whether it’s via a banner on your homepage, pop-up on your mobile site, or your holiday email campaign, it’s important to set the right expectations upfront by clearly stating delivery windows according to purchase date, the delivery options you provide, and whether you offer online order tracking and shipping insurance for your customer’s peace of mind.

4. Offer gift wrapping and a personalized note

For last-minute holiday shoppers or those buying gifts for faraway family and friends, it often makes more sense to deliver packages directly to the recipients. For this reason, offering gift wrapping options and personalized notes can make or break a shoppers’ purchasing decision. These little touches go a very long way when it comes to winning your customers hearts and inspiring them to come back to shop with you time and time again.

5. Help customers keep track of their online orders

These days, there’s a lot of anxiety around purchasing products online, stemming from a rise in ‘porch pirates’, packages that simply never show up, or a fear of products being damaged while in transit. One way to calm these anxieties and encourage checkout is to provide shoppers a way to track their online purchases while they’re on their way. Customers who’ve downloaded the Route App, for example, have access to Visual Tracking™, which – as the name suggests – allows them to visually track their orders on a dynamic map.

6. Make it easy to manage unexpected delivery hiccups

Taking it one step further than order tracking, offering package protection can help ease customers ecommerce anxieties even further. Nearly 3 billion packages are expected to be shipped this holiday season. Assuming delivery success rates are ~97%, that’s still ~90 million packages that will go missing. No amount of excellence in your online shopping experience can remedy the frustration of a bad delivery experience. With Route, customers can easily add order protection — which includes one-click refunds and reorders in case of a lost, stolen, or damaged package — directly at the point of checkout. This offers peace of mind during a busy buying season when the delivery stakes tend to be higher than usual.

Read the full delivery trends report here.

7. Deliver a memorable unboxing experience

The unboxing craze is nothing new. There’s a thrill that comes with receiving a package in the mail, and heightening that excitement with a curated seasonal experience can absolutely delight your customers and help your ecommerce brand stand out. Whether it’s a hand-written thank you note, a discount code for use on future orders, or simply some extra holiday flair, adding a little extra fun to enhance the experience of unboxing a package is never a bad idea.

By taking these simple steps to delight your customers at various touchpoints along the holiday gift-buying journey, you can help drive more conversions, inspire more loyalty, and even turn unfortunate delivery mishaps into positive brand experiences. Learn more about how to optimize every customer’s holiday online shopping spree with Route’s visual order tracking, shipping insurance, effortless claim-filing, and the world’s first universal order history.

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