How is Your Software Business Preparing for this Holiday Season?

Christina O'Toole

Estimated read time: 3 minutes, 21 seconds

Experts are predicting that 2017 will be the strongest holiday shopping season ever for ecommerce. Why? Because even last year, when many people were feeling uncertain about the U.S. economy in the post-election season, they still spent 13% more online than the previous year.

Online holiday shopping has grown every year and was a $110 billion business last year, including the biggest Cyber Monday ever. Is your software business prepared for the upcoming holiday season’s rush?

Who is Your Holiday Audience?

Before the rush comes, consider these holiday ecommerce audience factors:

Scope: The holidays are a global experience. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Chinese New Year, and Las Posadas are all holidays with major celebrations around the world. If your software business is focused on a specific holiday alone, you’re missing out.

Timing: The holidays start earlier and end later than you may think. Researchers have started tracking holiday sales at the end of October to include Thanksgiving, Dia de los Muertos, and others. And in China— arguably the biggest powerhouse in ecommerce— Chinese New Year falls in January or February.

Mobile: Last holiday season, 50% of all web traffic came from mobile sites and 76% of Americans used a mobile device for online shopping. Trends include widespread use of apps like LastPass, which reduces clicks and encourages impulse buying. Apple Touch ID also helps people to shop on key holiday dates.

Newcomers: Internet access has improved in rural areas around the world, and these new users are becoming savvier about online shopping. It’s a great opportunity for software sellers. Remember: newcomers to ecommerce may need more guidance to purchase your product.

Standing Out in the Holiday Crowd

Now let’s take a look at online shopping behavior. You can use these behaviors to shape your SaaS sales and marketing plan for the holidays.

7 Ecommerce Shopping Habits Backed Up by Research

Habit #1: Wish List. In 2016, 25% of holiday shoppers purchased things directly from an online wish list or registry, and 60% said they wished more ecommerce companies offered this option.

Habit #2: Sneak Peeks. Adobe Digital Insights found that in 2016, shoppers visited web/mobile sites repeatedly in the days leading up to Black Friday without making purchases. Further research found that they were scanning for sales and using their mobile device as a planning tool for holiday shopping.

Habit #3: Integration. Many people now have multiple shopping devices: mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and assistant home devices like Alexa. Experts recommend using an integrated ecommerce platform like FastSpring to reach these shoppers across devices.

Habit #4: Hesitation. Research by the National Retail Federation shows that 9 out of 10 people go into the holiday season with vague ideas and hesitation. More than 50% of them made up their minds due to seller recommendations.

Habit #5: Email: Most people still access email daily from their mobile phones and sellers get $38 of ROI for every $1 spent. Sellers can send alerts about holiday sales and encourage direct purchasing.

Habit #6: Partnerships: People prefer to buy from companies they trust. Partner with another software company and cross-promote for the holidays. On social media, benefit from exposure to new devoted followers.

Habit #7: Free: Cash-strapped holiday shoppers are even more sensitized to the word “free” than usual. Consider free trials, buy one get one free deals, free gifts with subscriptions, and freebies for a purchase by a certain holiday date.

Don’t Disappoint Holiday Shoppers

When you grab a holiday shopper’s attention, it might be your only chance to convert them into a loyal customer. Don’t disappoint them with a subpar shopping experience.

Make sure your ecommerce platform is ready to handle holiday buyers. Can it handle global currencies? Time zone issues? Date-sensitive discount codes? An influx of traffic from around the world?

FastSpring ensures smooth holiday sales with integrated online, mobile, and in-app experiences and a full-stack ecommerce solution. With FastSpring, your business can maximize the impact of the biggest online shopping season the world has ever seen.

Interested in seeing what FastSpring’s full-stack ecommerce solution can do for you? Click here for a free demo today.

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