Holiday Season is Here! A Guide for Small Businesses to Maximize The Global Opportunity

For many small businesses in India, the holiday season represents a very lucrative business opportunity. Online sales during the 2020 holiday season were historic. Global retailers saw two years’ worth of eCommerce growth[1] in just one holiday cycle. India’s increasing participation in the global economy through gifting during international holidays is an opportunity for MSMEs to leverage.

This year, holiday forecasts from different firms have predicted a sharp jump in year-over-year spending with sales expected to grow by 7% compared to last year reaching $800 billion USD[2], signaling that seasonal shopping is a never-resting trend globally. The universal appeal of discounts and a strong gift-giving impulse continue to be relevant to price-conscious shoppers.

At the same time, digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic has influenced shopping behaviors, while driving up consumer demand and their desire for relative normalcy. According to a recent whitepaper from Euromonitor, eCommerce sales in the Asia Pacific region are expected to nearly double by 2025, reaching USD 2 trillion.[3]  Now is the time for MSMEs to get ready to respond to consumer needs and capture growth opportunities.

Knowing The Holiday Shoppers
There are a couple of predictions that we have for this year’s holiday season. Ecommerce will continue to stay strong as the seeds of consumer confidence continue to grow. The average online shopper’s intent to further increase their online spend is at least twice as high as any intent to pull back[4]. This is also accompanied by the increasing adoption of digital payment across a wider demographic.

As more shoppers move online, new behaviors have also emerged. Product shortages, budget constraints and safety concerns have made consumers far more willing to try new brands and explore new ways of shopping. Digital and omnichannel options give them that flexibility.  

The holiday season is also starting earlier, giving businesses a wider timeframe to capitalize on. Black Friday continues to be a major global retail event and the number-two occasion for seasonal online shopping among markets surveyed by PayPal earlier4.

Making Online Customers Merry

With the end-of-year shopping season around the corner, competition for consumers’ share of wallet is high. With so many businesses racing to be the first to corner the gift-buying market, how can retailers stand out during this competitive holiday period and avoid disappointing their customers? Here are five tips to help you get it right.

  1. Maximize Sales and Reduce Cart Abandonment by Removing Friction from Sites – Every click and touchpoint from when a customer visits a site till checkout should be seamless and fast. For every one second delay, conversion drops by 7%[5]. They should ensure that their sites load quickly, navigation is intuitive and mobile-friendly. Additionally, customers should have the option to checkout without creating an account.
  2. Align Inventory Planning with Post-Pandemic Shopping Trends – Understanding shoppers’ preferences is going to be critical with all the shifts in the categories of consumer spend. Companies should consider leveraging statistics such as demographic information, purchase history, site traffic, sales and conversion rates to understand their consumers’ needs and how they shop.
  3. Engage Customers with Personalized Holiday Incentives – Promotions and incentives during this period of time can help businesses keep customers from seeking alternatives. Merchants can personalize offers using strong customer insights, and tailor product recommendations to retarget customers who have visited their sites.
  4. Ramp Up Customer Support – Ensure you have the people and tools to provide sufficient support for customers throughout the purchase process. Automation such as chatbots can help address growing holiday support demands without putting too much pressure on staff.
  5. Stay Ahead of Fraudsters – Fraudulent activities tend to increase during the holiday season. Businesses need to protect their profits by minimizing claims, chargebacks, and prevent fraudulent claims. It’s important to have a reliable payment platform, which balances security and optimizes the overall customer experience during this important time of the year.

The shift to online sales continues and we are seeing projections that suggest another bumper sales season. It is now time to review your strategies to offer your customers a customized shopping experience to capitalize on this sales period.

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