What's in store?

How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Online Retail Challenges During Christmas

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Published on

December 26, 2019

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The streets are full of lights and you probably have your Christmas tree set for one of the most exciting times of the year.


Well, Christmas is coming for your online retail store as well. This means that you need to do some special preparations in order to meet your customers’ demands. 


The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is probably the most important period of the year for your online retail store. According to Adobe Analytics, Thanksgiving Day sales this year were by 14.5% bigger than last year, while Cyber Monday sales reached a record of $9.4 billion. 


With all this data available, we know that Christmas will be BIG. That’s why you should put in some more effort and make your online retail store prepared for the euphoric shoppers that will visit. 


Here are the 5 most common online retail challenges and how to face them:


Challenge 1: A Warmer Weather in Online Retail Stores Too


Weather is a big deal in retail. This season, Europe and the US are experiencing unusually warm weather in comparison to previous years. This should be a great concern to you, especially if you are selling clothing through your online store.


Apparel and footwear will be largely affected. Shoppers are usually ready to buy warmer clothes at their full prices at this time of the year because, well, they need them. But this year that won’t be the case because they can still use their autumn clothes.


That’s why you should get ready and offer apparel that is more suitable for these temperatures instead of clothes for the coldest temperatures. Chances are, you’ll probably be left with a lot of unsold winter clothes after the end of the holiday season.


Challenge 2: A Shorter Holiday Season


This year, shoppers have six days less of the holiday season compared to last year—we celebrated Thanksgiving on November 28 instead of November 22 from last year. This probably puts more pressure on online retailers to sell more items on the days left. 


Don’t force it. It’s true that these are the days when you generate most sales, but you won’t be able to make up for these six days. Focus on quality, not quantity. The shorter holiday season also adds a sense of urgency with shoppers, so they’ll also be under pressure. 


Try creating more clever campaigns that will attract customers to spend more time on your website in the days you have left. Start by improving the UX and making your website a pleasant place to stay. 


Challenge 3: How to Make Visitors Spend More Time on Your Website?


Speaking of UX, there are a lot of great ways to improve it. Customer expectations are quite high these days, and you need to be here to meet them. There are tons of online retailers out there and visitors can easily change their minds and go to someone else.


In order to keep visitors on your website, your online retail store must be clear, concise, and friendly. Visual search is a great way to improve customer experience and get your customers to want to look for more items. 


Visual search is a feature that enables customers to search by photos rather than keywords. They can use internet pictures, photographs they've taken, or screenshots to find what they want. 


Today's visual search technology uses AI to find suggestions that are nearest to the item displayed on the photo. With visual search, online retail stores can provide more quality results for their store visitors than just using keyword search.  


This way, online Christmas shoppers can find the products they like without putting in too much effort. They’ll get more relevant results, reduce their shopping time, and experience a unique shopping journey. 


Challenge 4: Numbers Are Growing 


Adobe Digital Insights claims that $143.7 billion will be spent online during this year’s holiday season. The same report also states that “this will be the first year that every day in November and December will surpass $1 billion in online sales​.”


That’s why online retailers must focus on creating a personalized shopping experience on a user-friendly website that’s easy to navigate. Boost your campaigns on the major shopping days (the 2-3 days before Christmas) and make sure your website can take this.


Pay attention to the technical part as well—your servers need to be ready for a larger number of visitors. The customer care team should also be prepared and the warehouse should be full. 


Challenge 5: Mobile Is Still a Big Deal


In 2018, 58% of site visits came from mobile devices and mobile devices made up 42% of the complete time spent online. This trend has been on for three years—2016 had a similar percentage of mobile visits (57%), while in 2017, 63% of visits came from mobile devices. 


Adobe Analytics also claims that almost 36% of the e-commerce sales will be made from a smartphone, which is 20% more than last year. Moreover, 57% of retail site visits will come from mobile phones, while Americans will spend $14 billion more this year on their smartphones, compared to what they spent in 2018. 


The report also predicts that this Christmas Day will be the first in history when customers will buy more from their mobile phones than from their desktops. 


This is a very big reason to take care of the mobile layout of your website. Make sure all features are optimized and that everything functions just as on a desktop layout. Try improving your loading time and make scrolling as easy as possible. 


However, customers will be making smaller purchases from mobile phones compared to desktop, according to ADI. This means that you should make a clear distinction between the types of products you’re selling, when it comes to optimization. Furniture and electronics will still be bough via desktop, while clothes, toys, and flowers are more likely to be bought via a smartphone.




With all this information in hand, you’ll definitely have a Merry Christmas. Beyond the prices, bargains, and deals, it’s very important to make user experience unforgettable.


Focus on personalization and simplicity. The rise of AI and visual search have given you a unique chance to make your e-commerce store stand out.


Happy selling!

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