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Holiday shopping peak: 3 things to get right before code freeze

With uncertainty still lingering amongst consumers, retailers are holding their breath going into the 2020 holiday shopping period. The all-important predictions around spend are beginning to surface with mixed projections. How can brands prepare now for what’s sure to be an unpredictable shopping season amongst changing consumer behaviors and sentiment?

We went right to the source and surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. and found that 39% of respondents plan to spend less on their holiday shopping this year compared to last holiday season. All is not lost, however, as the same number of shoppers (40%) say they’ll spend about the same as last year, and 23% of consumers plan to increase spending. One thing is clear—spending will take place through digital channels with a huge majority of consumers (70%) indicating they’ll do most of their holiday shopping via web or mobile. So it seems digital teams won’t get a break going into the busiest time of year as the digital experience has just taken on even more significance in the fight to win over shoppers.

Still, there’s hope that brands can improve the digital experience before code freeze with the right supporting technology. Here are three things you can do now to make the most of this holiday shopping season.

Remove digital roadblocks

A whopping 83% of survey respondents indicated that a responsive digital customer experience is important to their brand loyalty—with 39% identifying it as crucial. Technical issues during online shopping could lead to lost sales. Shoppers will abandon an online purchase due to slow loading times (29%) or if there is a technical glitch (20%). With the vast majority of sales happening on web and mobile this year, creating a frictionless path to purchase should be your number one priority.

Use this time to smooth any bumps in the digital journey. Website and mobile app analytics technology can still be deployed up to 30 days prior to Thanksgiving. Act now and look for technology that can be deployed quickly. Don’t waste time on tools that require time consuming tagging and event configuration to add value. Digital experience platforms with 100% tagless capture can automatically capture what your customers are doing on your website and app as well as what’s happening behind the scenes, including API calls and AJAX errors that can impact the digital journey. Finding and fixing these errors now will certainly impact sales numbers during peak.

Maximize your investment in mobile

Mobile is now mission-critical for retail. Of the survey respondents, 34% say they’ll use their mobile phone as their go-to for completing holiday shopping. And when it comes to apps, shoppers are more likely to use a retailer’s native app if it offers a seamless user experience (34%). But crashes are big no-no. Almost half (49%) of respondents believe that app crashes have a negative effect on their relationship with a brand. Plus, 24% say they’re likely to move to a competitor, and 25% think less of the brand following a crash.

In 2019, overall spend on mobile during the holiday shopping period was $203.5 billion with an average order value (AOV) of $197. So you really can’t afford to have your app crash. There’s still time to deploy a mobile app experience platform, whether for native, hybrid or progressive web apps, that can help identify and diagnose what’s causing crashes and other technical hiccups in your app.

Consider a tool that can help you investigate crash scenarios by identifying the type and quantity of crashes, what screen they’re occurring on, and which customer behaviors happened prior to the crash. Automatic alerts when app crashes occur help you track trends and address issues for affected customers. Also, make sure you consider SDK size—you don’t want your app analytics solution to contribute to your crash problems!

Make your promo codes personal

While price may not be as important as customer experience these days, cost is still an important consideration at the holidays with 30% of consumers saying they’re looking for the best deal. Getting your promotion and discount strategy straight before the holidays could have a profound impact on outcomes. In fact, 42% of respondents said a discount even as small as 10% would encourage them to make an additional purchase.

Consider basing remarketing efforts, including discount offers, on real customer behavior. Consumers indicated that personalization could also prompt purchases with 21% saying they’d be more encouraged to shop from an online retailer if there were personalized product suggestions. By segmenting your audience based on their actual online behaviors, and responding with relevant offers, customers are more likely to respond by completing their purchase or purchasing again.

By leveraging digital experience analytics to take a comprehensive look at digital journeys, both online and in mobile apps, retailers can tackle technical issues and plan for maximum cart conversion this season. By implementing easy and quick to deploy solutions now, there’s still time to capitalize on opportunities and correct issues prior to code freeze.