The weather is cooling off, and the leaves are turning yellow, which means that sadly the summer’s over. However, cold winds and overcast weather also mean that the highest spending season after Cyber Week and Christmas is here again – Back-To-Work, a.k.a. Back-To-School. The Back-To-Work season shouldn’t be disregarded by the eCommerce businesses – according to the U.S. National Retail Federation (NRF), sales in the U.S. alone are expected to reach $135 billion on Back-To-School and College products combined, marking its significance for the retailers, and eCommerce businesses in particular. Read through our article to learn why the Back-To-Work season is important, and how you can increase sales and conversion during that time of the year.
Why is Back-To-Work important?
Back-To-Work season indicates that the customers embark on an adventure of searching for products and are willing to spend. NRF estimates that a single household in the U.S. is planning to spend $890 on the Back-To-School products, and $1,370 on Back-To-College products. More importantly, however, the Back-To-Work season means that the general retail sales will grow as well, with S&P Global forecasting that the U.S. will see $978 billion in sales during that time of the year.
The aforementioned forecasts by NFR and S&P highlight the importance of being ready for the Back-To-School season as a retailer – it’s simply a domino effect: even if you don’t sell any products that are directly related to the school or work environments, the fact that the customers are proactively searching for products and are willing to spend means that your sales may increase as a result. This is especially true for eCommerce retailers.
How to take advantage of the Back-to-Work season?
There are multiple strategies eCommerce businesses may employ in order to take advantage of the Back-To-Work season. We at Nexway prepared a few tips based on our experience and data, which you may use as a checklist to make sure that you are ready for Back-To-Work.
Simplify the checkout experience
Once the hard part is done and the customer is convinced to make a purchase at your store, there’s no need to complicate the final, and the most sensitive step – the checkout. Here are some suggestions on simplifying the checkout process:
- Allow customers to checkout as guests – don’t force your customers to create an account, even though it has a lot of advantages, since buyers prefer to have a choice.
- Minimize checkout steps – a one-page checkout is ideal, because the fewer steps there are at checkout, the faster is the purchase process.
- Show clear progress indicators – customers should know how much more information they need to provide.
- Offer multiple payment options – ideally local payment methods should be supported, which is something Nexway offers.
- Build trust – displaying security and trust badges will reassure customers that their payment data is safe.
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Utilize promotions and other marketing tools
According to NRF 2023 Back-To-School spending survey, 45% of Back-To-School shoppers are planning to do a more comparative shopping online, with the same number of respondents aiming to shop for sales more often. It means that eCommerce businesses have to provide the best offer possible in order to drive sales, and utilize numerous marketing tools to make sure they get enough traffic. Here’s what you can do:
- Offer discounts – make sure to run promotions or offer coupons, since customers will be looking for products on sale first.
- Utilize email marketing – ensure awareness of ongoing promotions through email marketing.
- Recover carts – employ the abandoned cart emails to improve conversion.
- Optimize social media channels – keep your social media channels active through scheduled posting, collaborations, giveaways, and other tactics.
Review your user experience
User experience (UX) is a very important part of eCommerce, which has a direct impact on sales. The shopping experience needs to be as smooth as possible – here are a few things you can revise in anticipation of the Back-To-Work season:
- Analyze the average session duration and bounce rate – check for the amount of time spent on your website, and the amount of people leaving after visiting 1 page: those are good indicators of your current UX. If your average session duration is too low, or your bounce rate is too high, there’s room for improvement.
- Run a purchase funnel analysis – analyze your current purchase funnel: are there specific pages where the purchase flow is interrupted? See if you are able to improve the underperforming pages.
- Review and test your website as a buyer – test your website as an incoming customer with different scenarios: the browsing customer, the determined one, the price-sensitive customer, the one that arrived at a specific product page, and so on. Try to pin down areas that need improvements. Make sure that the product descriptions and instructions are concise, the F.A.Q. page offers answers to all possible questions, the pricing is clear, and the ongoing campaigns are visible to the customers. If you sell physical products, see if you offer the best delivery methods possible as well.
- Review your mobile version – make a significant emphasis on testing your website’s mobile version: after all, 65% of online Back-To-School shoppers will make their purchases with a smartphone.
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Enhance your customer support
Back-to-Work season leads to an increase in customer support requests, which may put additional pressure on your customer support team. Here are some tips on keeping your customers happy:
- Be available – make sure that it’s easy for the customers to reach out to you. The contact information should be easily accessible from any page of your website, including checkout.
- Split requests between teams – offer customers to pre-select the reason for their query so that the relevant person from your team is able to address the request and resolve it faster.
- Localize support – speak the same language as your customers wherever possible, since buyers will favor retailers that offer a localized experience.
- Offer live support – consider offering live support to resolve any incoming requests immediately, and therefore keep your customers happy
- Support your customers equally well on any step – ensure that pre-purchase and after-purchase requests are treated with the same levels of efficiency and patience.
Get closer to your customers with Nexway’s Localized Customer Care.
Nexway offers a team of professional customer care agents that speak 12 languages and provide support in any time zone. Nexway’s Customer Care Team will deliver World-Class Level 1 end-user support via email, chat, and phone for all issues related to:
• Order and subscription management
• Access to the product (fulfillment)
Remember: providing excellent customer support not only helps you manage this seasonal rush effectively but also fosters customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, contributing to the long-term success of your eCommerce business.
We hope that our tips will help you prepare for the Back-To-Work season, as well as the upcoming holidays. There’s always room for improvement in eCommerce, but if you are not sure how you can boost your sales and improve conversion, feel free to reach out to us at Nexway. We’ll be very happy to help you identify how our company may help you maximize your potential, and increase your global sales