Nathan Richter

For the fifth and final interview in our Holiday Success series, we checked in with our Strategic Services Director, Nathan Richter, to find out some of the expert advice the Monetate services team will be sharing with clients to make online cash registers ring this holiday season.

Q: What is one of the biggest ecommerce trends we’ll see during the holidays?

A: We’ll definitely see the continued and sharp rise in the use of mobile and tablet devices for distinctly different functions in the buying cycle. Another trend I’m interested in is the social traffic segment. There are so many high-volume traffic sources (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but as of yet, unrealized conversion and revenue potential for such large traffic. The 2012 holiday season won’t be a make-or break-season for social media traffic, but it’s certainly another data point to keep an eye on in order to determine whether marketing spend and resources should be focused on this channel in the future.

Q: What is the most important thing an ecommerce business can do this season to improve conversions?
A: Consistency. Across multiple devices, mediums, and marketing channels, consistency is key. You need to be communicating your value propositions and promotions in a consistent manner.  For instance, if you have an email offer, make sure your stores know and accept this offer. It all sounds pretty basic, but really focusing on that internal communication across business units and teams will go a long way in elevating your brand this holiday season.

Q: How can ecommerce companies support consumers shopping across multiple devices?
A: It’s critical to understand what consumers are doing on those devices, and accentuate those behaviors by device. For example, you might find that your smartphone visitors have three top activities on your website; maybe they browse, save to favorites, and then find a nearby store. But your tablet users may browse, view a video, and then purchase. Identifying the top three activities by device, and focusing your experience efforts to accentuate those capabilities, will drive usage and deliver the experience those visitors are looking for.

Currently, many organizations look at how to repurpose their entire site for the different device sizes. But by focusing on the top activities specific device users perform, you can highlight those features on your mobile and tablet sites—and that allows you to do more with less resources without compromising the experience for visitors.

Q: What is a good campaign to run during the holidays that many ecommerce companies still seem to overlook?

A: Leverage shipping. Customize your messaging and your operations to meet and exceed customer demand while supporting your margins.

It’s a great idea to get better aligned with your operations team to understand the shipping impact down to the fulfillment zone or ZIP code level and message accordingly. Then, review the cutoff date for deliveries across the country, because they won’t be the same everywhere. Another good idea: To help your margins as the holiday season starts to wind down, don’t give away expedited shipping if your current delivery partner already has delivery service-level agreements in place for zones nearby.

One final key: If you are an omnichannel retailer with physical locations, bring your stores more prominently into the fold as the last-minute rush arrives. There are always selling options up to the last minute—so move your messaging accordingly!

Catch the entire series of Holiday Success Interviews:
• Interview #1: the e-tailing group
• Interview #2: Brooks Bell’s Greg Ng
• Interview #3: WiderFunnel’s Chris Goward
• Interview #4: Eisenberg Brothers & Associates’ Bryan Eisenberg

And don’t miss our new infographic, Are You Ready for the Holidays, shown below. It’s packed with trends data from last season and this year, along with analysis and pointers to help you develop the most effective strategy for converting holiday traffic.