In this episode of the Cart Insiders Podcast, I welcome to the studio Andrew Potkewitz, the Global Director of Partnerships and Marketing at the full-service ecommerce agency, Overdose Digital. Andrew discusses how to prepare your website for both the usual online shoppers and those who, due to the pandemic, may be newer to online shopping.
Andrew starts by offering tips on improving the low-hanging fruit, such as website certifications, back-in-stock notifications, pay later options, and guest shopping, and stresses the importance of having the ability to quickly respond to questions and offer more personalized services.
Looking beyond the low-hanging fruit, Andrew warns retailers not to overlook the commonly overlooked items. Potkewitz goes into these items, including the importance of having a robust returns policy, prompt customer service, over-promising on delivery times, and search functionality.
Holiday shopping is all about helping customers find what they’re looking for, yet many companies overlook the importance of having a good search experience. Andrew provides examples of why this is so important, discusses the ins-and-outs of optimizing the site search functionality on your website, and offers tools that can help improve it.
When it comes to appealing to and wowing customers, Andrew provides guidance around improving other aspects of site UX. He gives examples of how to use data, such as location, to provide different experiences to different shoppers. He goes deeper, breaking down UX trends as they relate to subscription businesses, those with loyalty and rewards programs, and with ratings and reviews.
Of course, for a website to be prepared for the holidays, it needs to handle traffic spikes. Andrew discusses what steps businesses can take to prepare for high-traffic days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. He continues by offering tips for how to prepare for any potential overloads and why testing plays such an important role in this.
Finally, Andrew shifts gears to talk SMS and email marketing—two channels he thinks are going to be extremely important for companies this year. Andrew offers guidance on how companies can collect mobile numbers and encourage sign-ups, and which automated email messages he thinks are must-haves for the season.
“In a world in which we are still looking at email as the highest-converting marketing channel, you want to ensure that you’ve got it all set up properly. You’d be shocked to hear how many merchants don’t have their standard flows set up. Merchants that don’t have their welcome series, their abandoned cart, their abandoned browse, their re-engagement—these are the gifts that keep on giving!”
Listen to the entire story, including Andrew’s number one overall tip for holiday preparation.
Main discussion points
- Andrew discusses his expectations and ways to optimize your website with regards to two audiences—regular shoppers and those new to online shopping—and how to balance the needs between these two groups.
- We hear about some easy-to-implement aspects that you can optimize in preparation, including website certification, out of stock notifications, shipping, pay-later options (in-cart financing), and the importance of having a guest account enabled.
- Andrew talks about the best way to ‘wow’ newcomers to your website by focusing on UX. He’ll discuss using data to provide unique experiences, the importance of a good site search, the ability to quickly respond to any questions, and current UX trends, including subscriptions, loyalty rewards, and ratings & reviews.
- Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and web traffic: Andrew points to these high-traffic days and provides insights on how to properly prepare to manage the traffic, and how to use testing now to identify potential overload.
- Andrew also highlights some of the most commonly overlooked areas during the holiday season, including returns policies, customer service, and delivery timetables.
- Andrew discusses email and SMS marketing—two channels he thinks will be essential this season. He explains why he feels these channels will be so important and which automated messages should be deemed essential for marketers to employ.
- Finally, Andrew shares his favorite business knowledge sources, including industry news, podcasts, books, newsletters, and more.