10 Biggest eCommerce Mistakes During Holiday Season and How to Avoid Them for Festive Season in 2024

The holiday season, regardless of which festivals or public holidays are being celebrated, generally is a time of cheer for eCommerce shoppers and retailers alike. Customers encapsulate this newfound happiness by buying gifts for themselves and their loved ones and retailers can share in this experience by enticing customers to choose them over their competitors by going above and beyond to provide the most attractive festive offers, run promotional campaigns to generate visibility and provide the best overall experience to every customer so that they can benefit from the positive publicity that is sure to follow.

However, in the bid to get as much business as possible, enterprising retailers could run the risk of lowering their profit margins or providing sub-par service while unassuming sellers may not do enough to capitalize on the holiday season hype and could lose out on potential customers to their rivals. In an effort to balance sales generation and maintain their profit margins, retailers need to come up with common sense solutions. Read along to get an idea of the impact the holiday season has on eCommerce companies, the advantages of preparing for it in advance and 10 of the biggest eCommerce mistakes during holiday season that plague retailers.

What is the Impact of the Holiday Season on eCommerce?

Increased Demand from Customers

Customers often use the holiday season as the motivation they need to buy new products, either for themselves, their loved ones or both. Because eCommerce holidays are associated with exciting discounts and sales season, customers hold off on buying things they need specifically so that they can get them at discounted prices during holidays such as Diwali or Christmas. Conversely, retailers need to adjust their inventory levels, logistics strategies, pricing plans, and fulfillment processes to meet the additional demand from customers so that they can prevent product shortages, delays and other negative implications from occurring.

Added Responsibilities on Suppliers

Due to retailers being aware of the increased demand that arises during the holiday season, they need to place significantly larger orders of their high-demand commodities to be prepared for the influx of orders from excited customers. This places added pressure on suppliers to meet their targets and can lead to delays, quality issues and shortages if clear communication is not prioritized in advance. 

Heightened Stress on Retail Operations

The holiday season not only brings an increase in the ability and the desire for customers to buy new products but also places a colossal amount of pressure on eCommerce companies and the various departments that are responsible for maintaining inventory levels and fulfilling orders. More demand means larger purchase orders from manufacturers, more orders that need to be picked, packed and dispatched and more stress on shipping aggregators to deliver orders in a timely manner.

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WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.

"With WareIQ, UTH is able to consolidate common inventory for all platforms and get much closer to the customer through access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres, and last mile & hyper-local courier partners. We are excited about being able to offer same day delivery in several pin codes due to WareIQ."
- Samit Mehta, Founder, UTH Beverages

What are the Benefits of Preparing for Holiday Season in Advance?

Ensures Accurate Estimations of Required Inventory

By conducting diligent forecasting at least a couple of months prior to the peak of holiday season demand, retailers can accurately determine which products will be successful and estimate the quantities that need to be ordered for each product based on their projected demand. This prevents having too little of high-demand products which prevents stockouts and also mitigate costs associated with over-ordering and storing additional unsold inventory. 

Improves the Overall Customer Experience

Customers are generally the most impatient and picky during the holiday season because they want to ensure that everything will be in order and they have whatever they need. Thus, eCommerce companies that offer them the most seamless experience from the time they open the website, browse through product listings and make the payment, all the way up to the point they receive their order, will be eligible for a vast array of positive feedback and reviews which will encourage other customers to give that brand a try.

Enhances Brand Reputation

Positive customer feedback is synonymous with an excellent brand reputation for eCommerce companies. Because customers do not have as much transparency as they would while shopping in a physical store where they can actively see what is happening in front of them, they take other customers’ opinions into account while making purchasing decisions. If a brand has a positive reputation amongst most consumers, it will increase its ability to sell more products and convert interest into sales at a higher rate.

10 Biggest eCommerce Mistakes During Holiday Season Made by Online Sellers and How to Solve Them in 2024

Lack of Transparency Regarding Delivery Dates and Return Policies

One of the biggest reasons that customers abandon their shopping carts is unclear delivery dates and non-transparent return policies. There are many eCommerce customers that require their orders to be shipped as soon as possible and there are many more that are apprehensive about spending their hard-earned money on a product that they cannot see and have no knowledge about if and when it will arrive. Retailers that do not provide the necessary amount of information to reassure customers are at risk of having a high rate of cart abandonments and a low rate of conversions.

Additionally, not mentioning return policies before and after customers purchase a product is one of the biggest eCommerce mistakes during the holiday season that are constantly made by eCommerce companies.

Solution: To avoid making one of the biggest mistakes in the industry, eCommerce companies need to provide a proper ETA on product listing pages, and checkout pages and also provide dedicated order tracking pages so that customers will have transparency at every step of the fulfillment process. They also need to make sure that their return policy is clear and is mentioned in easily visible locations.

Conflating Advertising with Marketing

Advertising primarily consists of running paid campaigns on various platforms to increase the visibility of a brand and its products. Marketing involves automated emails and social media promotions to actively entice users to purchase various products. One of the biggest eCommerce mistakes during the holiday season that retailers make is focusing on one while neglecting the other.

Solution: eCommerce companies need to have a strong advertising campaign in addition to their marketing efforts to achieve the maximum amount of visibility and reach amongst their target audience. This includes running paid ads on Facebook and Google, updating their social media pages with their new launches and promotional offers and keeping in touch with customers through email campaigns.

Absence of Customized Product Suggestions

Customers that are in a hurry to finish their holiday shopping often look for product suggestions and bundles to save them time and also because they associate them with being a better deal than buying products individually. eCommerce companies that don’t provide product suggestions and curated product mixes are missing out.

Solution: Retailers can provide specialized holiday-specific product baskets that can be customized according to the requirements of the customer. Additionally, they need to be placed in strategic locations that will catch the customer’s eye.

Suggested Read: Customised packaging by WareIQ.

Having a Complex and Multi-Layered Checkout Process

Another big reason for shopping cart abandonment and one of the biggest mistakes that online sellers can make is having a long and tedious checkout process. Customers often want to limit the amount of information that they share with retailers so a prompt for them to fill out multiple fields of information can often lead to cart abandonment. Moreover, a long checkout process can lead to frustration amongst customers.

Solution: eCommerce companies can reduce the amount of information they extract from customers to just the essentials such as their phone number and email so that they can maintain further contact. Additionally, they can streamline their checkout process to be as seamless and unimposing as possible.

Not Planning in Advance

Negligence when it comes to prior preparation for the festive season is definitely one of the biggest mistakes that retailers can make. Whether it comes to inventory ordering, promotions, new product launches and more, a lack of planning can cause disruptions in multiple facets of eCommerce operations. This can lead to stockouts, delays, confusion and negative customer sentiments which can have dire consequences for the business.

Solution: eCommerce companies need to perform activities at least 2 to 3 months in advance such as forecasting to estimate inventory they need for various products, determining what promotions they want to run and putting things in place, creating hype on social media and much more. This will ensure that everything is organised for the time that the holiday season rolls around.

Not Preparing for Additional Website Traffic

According to research, at least 47% of all customers expect a website page to take 2 seconds or less to finish loading. Due to the additional influx of customers during the holiday season, eCommerce companies that don’t prepare their website servers are subjecting their customers to longer wait times and a glitchy user experience. 

Solution: eCommerce companies need to have an accurate estimation of the increase in website traffic they are expecting during the festive season and provide their servers with the necessary optimization and tools to handle the additional volume.

Falling Short of Packaging Material

This is one of the biggest eCommerce mistakes during the holiday season because if orders cannot be packaged, they cannot be shipped. Oftentimes, retailers make preparations for all the main criteria involved for the festive season but neglect basic processes like ordering enough packaging material. This will lead to multiple delays and will result in poor customer satisfaction and negative feedback.

Solution: eCommerce companies need to ensure that they order enough packaging material in relation to the number of items they have ordered from the manufacturer. In addition, they should partner with multiple packaging companies to ensure that they can have a backup in case it runs out.

Relying on a Stagnant Workforce

The usual number of employees that eCommerce companies use may work for off-season demand but they may need to hire additional resources for the holiday season to be able to tackle the increased number of orders that need to be located, packaged and dispatched. Retailers that fail to hire enough help can cause multiple delays and issues with their supply chain.

Solution: Estimations regarding the amount of demand by analysing historical data of similar seasons during previous years can help determine how many additional workers need to be employed and whether they should be temporary or permanent.

Neglecting to Verify Delivery Locations

Increased demand necessitates the need for increased precautionary measures as mistakes and errors can frequently crop up due to staff being less careful in the interest of fulfilling as many orders as possible. Improper delivery addresses can cause a variety of problems including delays, dissatisfied customers, additional costs to the company and much more.

Solution: Important delivery information such as customer addresses should be cross-checked to avoid shipping an order to an incorrect location. Extra diligence can prevent the business from spending needlessly on additional logistical procedures.

Waiting too Long to Outsource Fulfillment to a 3PL

eCommerce companies often lack the capabilities and financial resources to be able to handle the increased demand that the holiday season brings. By relying on the existing workforce and tactics, they can often fall behind the competition and lose out on customers to other companies which can cost them valuable revenue.

Solution: We encourage eCommerce companies to outsource their fulfillment requirements to 3PL fulfillment companies like WareIQ so that they can equip themselves with all the resources and technology they need to provide their customers with the best possible experience.

Conclusion: Safeguard Your eCommerce Operations During Holiday Season 2024 With WareIQ

Preparing for the holiday season is imperative for the success of any eCommerce company. Not only is it a time when they can capitalize on increased demand and sales but they can also use it as an opportunity to increase their brand presence and reputation. By avoiding basic mistakes and planning in advance, retailers can easily be successful and achieve their objectives. If you are an eCommerce retailer and need assistance with implementing and streamlining eCommerce processes during the holidays, you can consider partnering with WareIQ.

ecommerce mistakes during holiday season_WareIQ services

WareIQ is one of the leading eCommerce fulfillment providers in the nation. We utilize advanced technology and provide our users with unique facilities that help them step up their eCommerce game. To assist you with preparing for the holiday season and to avoid any errors that could occur, we provide the following facilities:

  • A pan-India network of fulfillment centers and dark stores
  • Smart inventory placement to store your inventory closer to your customers
  • Ultra-fast same-day and next-day delivery
  • A custom WMS that can integrate with more than 12 eCommerce selling platforms and track inventory across multiple fulfillment centers in real-time
  • Branded tracking pages to provide a personalised experience to your customers
  • An app store with multiple apps such as the Customer Feedback app which consolidates all your online reviews in one place
  • A choice of more than 20 shipping providers that automatically assigns the fastest and most cost-effective option for every order.
  • We have no minimum order requirements and you only need to pay for the facilities that you use

eCommerce Mistakes During Holiday Season: FAQs

Pavel D’silva

Pavel D’silva

Pavel is a content marketing analyst at WareIQ. He has more than 3 years of content marketing experience. His key responsibilities include writing SEO-based blogs, guides, guest posts, and other types of content on a plethora of topics related to eCommerce fulfillment, operations, supply chain, warehousing, shipping etc.

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