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Written by Uri Strauss
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Holiday Season 2022 eCommerce Recap + Trends

The ‘superbowl of ecommerce’ 2022 is now over, and we found some surprising trends! 

As we’re actively: 

  • Analyzing over 1 Billion data points 
  • Monitoring over 338 Million ecommerce pages
  • Working directly with some of the biggest names in eCommerce

…we have a very unique perspective on the market you can leverage.

Use this to stay ahead of the curve, and see what has worked for some of the top brands in the eCommerce world. By implementing some of these activities you will for sure Increase conversions and optimize your customer experience.

First, let me congratulate all of you for surviving the craziness of the busy holiday season. It’s always a stressful time of year, and you all made it!

From our side, it was great to see many of our customers thrive. A year worth of work culminated in a busy Holiday Shopping Season experience.

RECAP: Here’s the top stories and trends from the eCommerce Holiday Season of 2022

1. Retailers See Huge Uplift from Rewards Programs

Several retail brands working with us saw big lifts in their Rewards and Loyalty programs during the holiday season.

We found that “Rewards Programs” in eCommerce have more benefit to the brand and customer than meets the eye.

One of our customers, a popular comfort Shoe Retailer, introduced a rewards program and saw a huge uplift in customer login and more returning customers than ever before that accounted for a significant increase in sales.

Makes sense.

With strategic incentives, customers login more often. The offer of the reward brings the customer in, they look through more of your products and conversions increase.

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So it’s not surprising how powerful rewards programs are for brands:

  1. 61% of consumers have joined a loyalty program to get discounts for holiday shopping last year. (Ebbo
  2. 59% of American consumers say that once they’re loyal to a brand, they’re loyal to it for life. (Acquia
  3. Loyalty management makes up 23% of global brands’ customer ecosystem spending, making it a $323 Billion endeavor. (Business Wire
  4. 69% of brands say they’ve increased loyalty investment over the past two years. (Business Wire).

Takeaway: Focus on winning Loyalty Programs for increased customer lifetime value, sales, experience and loyalty. 

Also, make the rewards program simple and clear to the customer. 

Make sure to flaunt it on key pages such as cart and checkout, showing customers how many rewards they’ll earn, as well as on the login / registration pages to incentive them to create an account and become part of your tribe.

2. Easier Login Reduces Failures by 50%

It’s difficult to prioritize your work when you don’t know what’s most pressing.

From a customer point of view, a frustrating login experience can mean total abandon.

Maybe because it’s so simple, login issues are a significant factor in conversions, sales and CX.

Potential customers are often so annoyed by the strenuous effort to login or fill out a form, that they’ll abandon the checkout process and site altogether.

  1. 86% of users report being bothered by needing to create new accounts on websites (Gigya)
  2. 77% of users believe social login is a good registration solution (Webhostingbuzz)
  3. 92% of users will leave a site entirely instead of recovering or resetting their login info (JanRain)

In fact, one of our retailers implemented Social Login to reduce login failures by 50%!

Takeaway: Remember how frustrating login can be for your customers and new users. Implement easier login options (like Social Login) to reduce failures and increase UX and conversions. 

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Remember that customers who login to your site are your best customers. They want to login and check their order history or existing rewards dollars. If they experience frustration logging in it will be detrimental to your customer/brand relationship. 

Creating a path of least resistance is crucial to continue and build a great relationship that will pay dividends throughout the customer lifetime.

3. On-Site Search Reduces Search Failures by 80%

What do customers do when they walk into a brick and mortar store?

Look around.

They ‘search’.

Online customers, being the beautiful humans that they are, do exactly the same thing.

They search your site.

And to the degree that your on-site search is usable is the degree to which your customer will stay and buy.

Think of search like a conversation between your customer and your store.

Your customer expresses their need in the form of a search. 

Then your site gives them what they need in the form of a result.

Of course, your users expect smooth search experiences.

On-Site Search Stats

  1. ​​43% of users on a retail site go directly to the search bar. (Clerk)
  2. Because on-site searchers have an increased level of purchase intent, they’re known to convert up to 5–6X higher than the average non–site search visitor. (CXL)
  3. On-site searchers are 1.8X more likely to convert than regular users. (EConsultancy)
  4. Searchers account for roughly 40% of total revenue. (CXL)
  5. 70% of e-commerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results for product-type synonyms. (Baymard)
  6. Customers make instant judgments about a store’s value based on the quality of one or two searches. (NN Group)
  7. 84% of companies don’t actively optimize or measure their on-site search. (Moz)
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Imagine walking into a physical store looking for a “Black Winter Coat” and the clerk tells you:

“Item not found”.

Yikes.

You’ll most likely never walk into that store again. According to our data, 90% of customers who have a negative experience on-site never return.

Here’s the exciting news:

By implementing better search on your site, you’re improving customer UX and conversions.

One shoe retailer of ours reduced “0 Results Found” in searches by 80%.

How?

They implemented a 3rd party search engine.

Here are 7 search platforms for ecommerce sites:

  1. Luigi’s Box
  2. Klevu
  3. Algolia
  4. Yext
  5. Searchanize
  6. SearchSpring
  7. Constructor

Takeaway: 

  1. Search converts, implement easier navigation to help your customers have a better experience.
  2. Make your search more robust by adding synonyms to keywords that are driving no results. The more effort you put into this the better your customer experience will be.
  3. Customers these days use search to navigate the store. We see customers search for ‘Order History’, ‘Rewards Program’, ‘FAQ’, ‘Shipping Policy’ and more. Instead of showing them zero results, make sure and add redirects to these keywords to land your customers in the place they were looking for.

4. Returns Portal Turns 20% of Returns into Exchanges

The data on ecommerce and retail returns is wild.

In 2021 alone, ecommerce sales were $1.05 Trillion.

Of that, $218 Billion of those online purchases were returned (NRF)

Meaning, 20.8% of total eCommerce purchases were returned.

Staggering.

How as an eCommerce manager are you supposed to handle that?

Especially when 80% of consumers read the return policy before even making a purchase.

In other words, the customer thinks about returning the item, before they think about buying it.

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All of this means one thing:

eCommerce managers need a “Returns Strategy”.

One Webeyez client is a growing online shoe retailer.

Knowing the need for a strong “Returns Strategy” they implemented a Returns Portal.

Their Returns Portal converted more than 20% of returns into exchanges or store credit.

To learn more about that, here are 7 eCommerce Return Portal Solutions:

  1. ReturnGo.AI
  2. Return Less
  3. Happy Returns
  4. Return Logic
  5. Loop Returns
  6. Outvio
  7. Web Shipper

Takeaway: Implementing a “Returns Strategy” can mitigate returns, maintain conversions and increase LTV of your precious customers.

Use user generated content like Reviews, Q&A and customer images with the product to reduce Returns from the get go. 

By giving customers more clear information about the product and setting expectations on sizing and materials, you will drastically reduce returns and increase customer satisfaction. 

Amitai’s 9 Hot Takes:

Amitai Sasson, Director of Customer Success at Webeyez, works directly with prominent eCommerce retailers. 

Amitai helps ecommerce retailers leverage Webeyez to identify every friction point in their online funnel to increase conversions, sales and customer experience. 

👉 Book a free, customized growth session with Amitai and his team here.

Seeing directly what’s working best in eCommerce holiday retail, here are his Hot Takes:

  1. BOT TRAFFIC FROM ADS: We saw bot traffic that was coming from ad sources – Facebook, Criteo – Criteo is one that I think needs to be investigated (learn how Bots drain $25K/day in ad spend here).
  2. HUGE SURGE, THEN DROP. There was a huge surge in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend, but then a large drop afterwards.
  3. SHIPPING EXTENSIONS. Shipping cutoffs were extended. This helped retailers milk the season even longer.
  4. CUSTOMERS LOVE GIFT CARDS. Retailers take note of this, especially now as last minute gifts should have an edge.
  5. SHOPIFY HOLDS UP. Shopify had some issues in November, but held up well during the holiday season.
  6. FACEBOOK ADS EXODUS. There was a huge exodus from Facebook ads, leaving only proven converting campaigns and removing Look-A-Like style campaigns. These dollars shifted to Google, Bing & Pinterest ads. 
  7. TIKTOK DRIVES GROWTH. The network driving the largest growth was TikTok, as marketers continue to adapt the platform and make it a part of their marketing mix along with Instagram reels. Why? Because brands that use Entertainment as a content strategy see a 34% faster growth rate than traditional marketers.
  8. AFFILIATES WIN. Another marketing avenue that has seen a surge this year was affiliate marketing. Eclipsing last year as more retailers fight for fewer clicks this year. The cash-flow positive model and the need to get in front of more eyeballs has seen networks like AWIN and Pepperjam spearhead significant growth in 2022. 
  9. INCREASED DIRECT MAIL & SMS SPENDING. Other notable shifts in ad spending were towards SMS (coupled with a reduction in email traffic) and direct mail which has seen a nice resurrection this holiday season. In fact, SMS marketing saw a 94% increase YoY in 2021 and a 47% increase in the first half of 2022 (Multichannel Merchant)

After the busy weekend that kickstarted the holiday season, we did see a sharp decline of YoY numbers. 

Many retailers, in order to extend the holiday season even more, pushed out their “Free Holiday Shipping Cut-Off” dates way further than a year before. 

This helped as we saw this past week before Christmas a nice increase compared to the year before.

During the holidays we did not see noticeable downtime compared to last year’s AWS outage.

As every year, the retailers that succeeded this season were the ones who came prepared with a holiday marketing runway that they executed to perfection

They were done with all site improvement before the code freeze and scaled up marketing dollars where they should. 

Product availability was less of an issue this year compared to last. 

However, driving customers to out-of-stock pages and sending out coupons with failed codes were two issues that customers were particularly sensitive to and reacted to any anomalies as they happened.

With everyone talking about an economic downturn…

…how can you maximize your site traffic and budget?

How can you increase Return on Ad Spend?

Do you know WHY customers are dropping off?

How can you quickly fix issues to increase conversions?

We’re here to clarify all that for you. 

With a customized 2023 growth session for your store 👇.

👉Click here for a free “2023 Growth Session” for your store with our Experts.

COMING UP NEXT…

In the next post, we’ll break down the biggest eCommerce trends in 2023.

Use them to stay ahead of your competition.

More importantly: so you add the most value to your customers.

Got questions? We’ve got answers.

Reach out anytime: [email protected], [email protected]