As the holiday shipping season blows in with the first blizzard, ecommerce readiness is the hot topic of the hour. Before your holiday shoppers hit checkout, your site needs to be able to provide a frictionless fulfillment experience. Customers are more focused than ever on frictionless shopping experiences. Searching for products, placing the order, managing post-purchase changes, and delivery tracking needs to be straightforward and easy-to-use to increase customer satisfaction.

To do this, you’ll need to make sure you have a couple of things in order. Make sure to educate yourself and your staff about holiday shipping deadlines as well as ensure you check off your holiday season checklist. As for the rest, here’s some advice on how to ensure the best holiday shopping experience.

Before Shoppers Hit Checkout

Every ecommerce small business owner wants to see shoppers fill up their digital shopping carts and checkout ASAP. According to BigCommerce, “one study found that 21% of online shoppers in the United States have abandoned their shopping carts.” The first step in frictionless fulfillment is to make it easy for shoppers to find items or services on your website. The simple use of a search bar is all you need to help shoppers. Ensure your search bar sends shoppers to the designated page they are looking for by doing a user test.

Getting shoppers to buy items is also the biggest hurdle you will face with your online retail store. Shoppers can window shop or start searching for the lowest price for that particular item, and then the likelihood they will abandon their cart increases. To persuade the customer to make a purchase, provide a few directives.

Start with the shipping incentives for your online store. Provide incentives like countdown timers for shipping discounts and store codes. Set up your site to indicate recent and real-time sales numbers to showcase when products have low stock remaining. Also, look into customer content, including reviews. Learn more about tools to generate product and site reviews, including user-generated content about your site.

Promotions and discounts also attract shoppers who want a bargain. But don’t discount the use of email marketing. While you may hate spam, there are ways and tactics to utilize email and social media marketing for safe and effective marketing. Make use of social media and email marketing through newsletters, coupons, and gentle nudges to create a community of shoppers. From there, include links to make it easier for shoppers to start shopping on your site.

Don’t Run Out of Stock

The last problem you want to face in the holiday season 2021 is running out of stock. After all this work of getting shoppers to your site, you want to make sure you have everything lined up. If the products aren’t there, you can’t sell them. Yet, more than $1.75 trillion is lost in revenue annually from online retailers that are not managing their inventory.

Avoid overselling by looking at your suppliers’ lead times. Make sure you’re ordering in time. Also, set up a minimum number of products for your standard stock level. Restock as necessary, and follow the first-in, first-out (FIFO) rule for products to avoid expired goods. Regular inventory audits and inventory management software will help you maintain your holiday season stock.

If you sell your products on Amazon, make sure your products are not ghost-listed. Ghost listings are those that are oversold on Amazon or listed as Fulfilled by Merchant or FBM, meaning they are no longer available. If you have a ghost listing, it will not show up on Amazon Seller Central. Ensure in Ordoro you follow these steps to avoid ghost listings.

Set up low stock thresholds in Ordoro. Use the Dashboard feature to quickly identify the status of your products as low inventory or oversold. Then, when products are nearly sold out, you are able to rectify the issue. Consider pulling the product from the store and replacing it, or getting a new shipment in stock.

Make Delivery Fast and Efficient

Once products are purchased, the next great battle could be shipping if you aren’t careful. This is where you lose control of your product. You must trust the mail carriers to deliver your goods on time and safely. In order to ensure mail carriers can do their job efficiently, you as a business owner have an obligation to educate your customers on shipping deadlines. Let your customers know when the shipping deadline is to receive products by Christmas.

To further provide frictionless fulfillment, offer more than one courier service in order to expand your offerings, and to better accommodate rural customers with slower deliveries. They may be able to use one of the regional courier services you have set up, which could also save them time and money.

Returns Need to be Easy and Straight-Forward

The majority of sales are going to come from the top 10 percent of your biggest spenders. These customers will be the ones who will account for the greatest percentage of returns as a result. As Shopify points out, “returns are a necessary evil in retail and have been increasing steadily as more commerce shifts online.” In fact, 96 percent of shoppers will return to a company that provides a trouble-free returns process.

Make returns easy for these customers to see an increase in net purchases. Getting customer feedback and shopper reviews will help minimize any friction associated with returns. You can also provide third-party drop locations, as Amazon does with Whole Foods Market, in order to alleviate the hassles of printing labels and finding packing tape.

Everything you can do here to create frictionless fulfillment will help customers find and secure their purchases successfully. As a result, your shoppers will have a wonderful holiday season and all of their gift recipients will be full of joy and magic.