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Holiday Shopping: Overcoming the 3 Most Common Online Retail Challenges

By Tom Barbaro, Chief Revenue Officer

Winter holiday shopping is here! Are you ready?

This year, retailers will need to be on top of their game more than ever. Thanksgiving is almost an entire week later in 2019, which means primetime holiday shopping is being condensed into an even shorter time frame. In other words, you’ll have less time to increase your revenue and gain shoppers’ attention before Christmas.

And really, for online retailers, there are just five days critical to your success, the 5 days between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, based on year-over-year estimated growth:

  •       Thanksgiving Day: 25.5%
  •       Black Friday: 26.1%
  •       Saturday: 13.6%
  •       Sunday: 19.0%
  •       Cyber Monday: 14%

The good news is that there’s plenty of winter holiday shopping to go around. Salesforce predicts a 13% growth in U.S. holiday season shopping this year over last, with total sales of $136B from November 1 – December 31, 2019. And 67% of shoppers say they plan to buy more from online marketplaces this year. 

As for what customers are buying, Shopify’s top-selling products during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2018 were clothes. So the more you can help your customers find what clothes they’re looking for during this high-volume shopping season, the better. And that means overcoming the three most common challenges for online retail during this time.

3 Most Common E-commerce Challenges During Winter Holiday Shopping

According to a Salesforce Research Harris Poll, some of the most important factors for online shopping include:

  •   Easy Product Search Capabilities
  •   Site Performance
  •   Intuitive Site Navigation
  •   Website Visuals
  •   Relevant Product Recommendations

To succeed in each of these areas, you must overcome the three most common holiday shopping challenges:

Ensuring A Top-Notch User Experience and Journey

Customer expectations are always high, but during the holiday season, they are higher than ever. Customers know that there are hundreds of other retailers looking for their business during this season, so if the user experience on one website is subpar, they can easily switch to a competitor. To keep your online shoppers happy and on your website, the customer experience and journey must be friendly, straightforward, and smooth.

Visual Search Navigation enables a very friendly and intuitive UX. It allows online holiday shoppers to search for the products they are looking for in a natural—visual—way, just like how they think about the products. This means that they get more relevant results when searching, cutting down on their shopping time, and de-cluttering their experience. Basically, it helps shoppers stay in the shopping flow, which makes them more likely to end up with a full Christmas shopping cart.

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Providing Effective Personalized Recommendations

Every online retailer understands the importance of a personalized shopping experience, but not all recommendation offerings are equal. Most retailers rely on collaborative filtering, which recommends products based on the history of clicks. This means the merchandise is shown based on mass popularity. This type of personalization does not cater to a shopper’s individual and unique style, and by recommending such items, the customer can feel faceless and misunderstood. 

But this is not the case wit Visual Search Navigation, which allows retailers to identify the Style DNA of the shopper and offer a genuine personalized shopping journey. With every click and view, the AI-based engine is able to understand the intent of the shopper, follow their shopping journey, and show him or her the most relevant items for them.

Visual Search Navigation uncovers this valuable information by sorting and tagging merchandise by product attributes, thanks to its AI and deep tagging foundations. The end result couldn’t be any better: your shoppers are able to find what they want faster, not only because you can make accurate recommendations for them, but also because they can refine their search further based on all the attributes provided. This will leave them with more time to spend with loved ones during the holidays. 

Remaining On Top of Stock Control and Inventory

The busiest shopping time of the year means that you’ll require plenty of resources to fulfill orders. For many, this means taking control of inventory and stock. You don’t want to miss out on sales during the holiday season because you ran out of your most popular items or have to backorder products because your supply chain wasn’t prepared.

The best way to ensure that your stock matches your customers’ needs and wants is to analyze your shopper fashion data, particularly when it comes to the styles your customers like best. Style-based data helps you make better predictions about what clothing items your customers are most interested in.

Based on attribute-based analysis, you can create a comprehensive and holistic picture of what your customers want and thus what you need in stock. In this way, your inventory will include all the relevant items you need and less of the products that no one wants. 

Visual Search Navigation: Your Holiday Season Assistant

Online shopping during the holiday season can be fraught with peril for both customers and retailers. There’s so much noise in the marketplace that it’s difficult for retailers to stand out, and it’s hard for customers to find what they want. But with Visual Search Navigation, online fashion retailers can overcome some of the most common holiday shopping challenges they face.

The 2019 holiday season is already upon us, but it’s never too early to start planning ahead for next year’s shopping rush by preparing to offer your shoppers the best search experience. Contact Donde Search today to request a demo and learn more about what Visual Search Navigation can do for your online fashion marketplace.