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How Brands Can Capitalize On Holiday Season 2023 - Learnings and Outcomes

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Anatolli Iakimets

Director, Product Marketing

Published on:

Holiday Season 2023: Success or Failure?

The holiday season of 2023 met and, in some areas, exceeded expectations in terms of e-commerce volume and purchases, reflecting a robust online shopping environment. According to Adobe for Business, the total revenue generated during the holiday season (November 1st to December 31st, 2023) amounted to $222.1 billion​​. This figure signifies a substantial contribution to the retail sector, showcasing consumer confidence and spending power during this critical sales period.

Further emphasizing the strength of the e-commerce sector, Digital Commerce 360 reported that online holiday spending in the United States reached $221.1 billion in 2023, marking a 4.9% increase from 2022. This growth was primarily driven by categories such as electronics, apparel, furniture, groceries, and toys. Notably, the majority of online holiday shopping occurred in November, boosted by significant sales events like Cyber Monday, with U.S. consumers spending $123.5 billion online in November, a 6% year-over-year increase. Additionally, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday witnessed $38.0 billion in spending, growing 7.8% over the previous year​​.

The data also highlighted the increasing trend of mobile shopping, which, for the first time in 2023, accounted for the majority of online sales during the holiday season, with 51.1% of sales made via smartphones. This trend underscores the importance of mobile-friendly shopping platforms and the growing consumer preference for shopping on-the-go.

Moreover, the adoption of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options saw a significant uptick, contributing $16.6 billion in online spending, up 14% from 2022. This indicates a growing consumer preference for flexible payment options, especially during the high-spending holiday season.

Moving into 2024

To capitalize on the emerging trends highlighted by the 2023 holiday season's e-commerce success, brands can implement strategies that resonate with evolving consumer preferences, specifically focusing on personalization and streamlined checkout processes.

1. Offer More Personalization Including Payment Methods at Different Stages of Customer Journey (Specifically Checkout)

Personalization is key to enhancing the customer experience, leading to increased customer loyalty and sales. Brands can leverage data analytics to understand customer preferences and behavior, enabling them to offer tailored product recommendations, discounts, and personalized marketing messages. At the checkout stage, providing a range of payment options tailored to the customer's preferences can significantly impact conversion rates. This includes traditional credit/debit card payments, digital wallets like PayPal, and the increasingly popular Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options. The success of BNPL during the 2023 holiday season underlines the importance of flexible payment solutions in driving sales. By integrating these personalized payment options seamlessly into the checkout process, brands can cater to individual financial circumstances and preferences, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

2. Eliminate Friction in Checkout: Less Clicks, Pre-filled Information Through Various Networks (such as PayPal)

Reducing friction at the checkout stage is crucial for preventing cart abandonment and improving conversion rates. Simplifying the checkout process to require fewer clicks and integrating technologies that allow for the pre-filling of information can significantly enhance the customer experience. Utilizing payment networks like PayPal, which store user information securely and allow for quick transactions without the need to enter payment details manually for each purchase, can save time and reduce hassle for customers. Moreover, optimizing mobile checkout experiences to ensure they are as streamlined as desktop versions is critical, especially considering the shift towards mobile shopping. Implementing features such as one-click purchasing and instant payment verification can make the checkout process faster and more efficient, encouraging repeat business.

How to up-level your checkout

To ensure the success of a checkout optimization project, brands need to adopt a strategic approach that incorporates both technical flexibility and expert guidance.

1. A Flexible and Customizable Checkout Solution

The cornerstone of a successful checkout optimization strategy is the implementation of a flexible and customizable checkout solution. This involves adopting a platform or technology that supports the integration of various payment options, dynamic pricing, and personalized promotional offers directly into the checkout process. Such a system should allow for the easy modification of the checkout experience to meet the evolving expectations of customers and the introduction of new payment methods as they become popular. For example, integrating a solution that supports both global payment methods and regional preferences can significantly enhance the shopping experience for international customers. Additionally, the ability to test and implement different checkout flows can help in identifying the most efficient process for converting browsers into buyers. A/B testing different checkout layouts, information requirements, and payment options can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors, allowing brands to tailor the checkout experience to reduce friction and improve conversion rates.

Learn more about composable checkout here.

2. A Trusted Agency Partner with Experience in the Domain

Navigating the complexities of checkout optimization requires not just the right technology but also the right expertise. Partnering with a trusted agency that has extensive experience in e-commerce and checkout optimization can provide brands with the insights and support needed to navigate this process effectively. An experienced agency can offer strategic advice on best practices, emerging trends, and common pitfalls to avoid. They can also assist with the technical implementation of the checkout solution, ensuring it is seamlessly integrated with the brand’s existing e-commerce platform and backend systems. Furthermore, such a partner can provide ongoing support and optimization services, helping brands to continuously refine their checkout experience in response to customer feedback and changing market conditions. By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of a specialized agency, brands can expedite the optimization process, reduce risks associated with technical implementation, and ensure a smoother rollout of new checkout features.

In conclusion, the success of a checkout optimization project hinges on the ability to provide a personalized and frictionless checkout experience, supported by a flexible technology solution and the strategic guidance of experienced professionals. Brands that invest in these areas are well-positioned to improve their conversion rates, enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve sustained growth in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

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About the author
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Anatolli Iakimets

Director, Product Marketing

Anatolli Iakimets is a Director, Product Marketing at Bold Commerce

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