5 Technologies You Want For Christmas 2020

Whether you ask your CEO or Santa is up to you

Even with limited shopping days left until December 25, there’s still time to implement
these FitForCommerce picks for this season’s must-have holiday tech.

These 5 essential programs and tech tools will drive sales and ROI during this COVID-influenced season, and you can have them up and running before candles are lit for Chanukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.

1. BOPIS / BOPUC (Buy Online Pickup In-Store/Curbside)
If not already operational, most of our brand and retailer clients say their top tech priority now is to enable customers to buy or reserve online and pick up their goods in person at the store or curbside.

“BOPIS is the most important program we would love to put into place this fall,” says a senior ecommerce executive at a global, fashion-forward sporting goods brand. “Our main concern is more control over how we make sure our goods are delivered to our customers, especially because we anticipate that [freight] carriers will face slowdowns during the busiest periods, the same way they did at the start of COVID.”

How to fast-track BOPIS:

    • If your current platform has the functionality available, you can turn it on for all products in store or focus on top-selling items. Consider building a BOPIS program around pre-wrapped gifts for the holiday.
    • Otherwise, you can explore signing on with a third-party pick-and-deliver service, such as Instacart or Shipt.
    • More complex needs? Our team launched a visual recognition, contactless curbside ecommerce solution for a billion-dollar retailer, within 3 weeks. Contact team@theinnovationoffice.com to explore ways we can help you.

Note: Having good (enough) inventory is critical here.

2. Give Your Site Speed a Tune-Up
There’s nothing worse – or more preventable – than a website that is slow to load or that times out during the checkout process.

How to fast-track a site speed tune-up:

    • Work with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Akamai for large companies and Yottaa for others to increase speed of page loads and videos. Make sure you also give your mobile sites a similar once-over.
    • For a low-tech speed update, remove anything old and heavy that might be weighing your site down, including seldom-visited photo galleries and videos.

3. Chatbot / Live Chat
Chatbots and live chat can increase sales by helping customers find products that match their needs, and by offering the kind of product detail that builds confidence that an item viewed on a website will match expectations when it arrives. Many brands and retailers are also using chatbots to help track down shipping dates for customers.

How to fast-track chatbot / live chat installation:

    • The more specific you can be with your requirements the better. Scope the minimum now and work with your vendor to plan Phase 2 for after the holidays.

    • Consider adding user-generated Q&A to speed response and engage customers. Use past inquiries to shape the content.

    • If you don’t have the planning expertise in house, hire a consultant to help you fast-track the RFP process.

Note: Chatbot AI is only as good as the setup and management. Get it right the first time.

4. Tech-Enhanced Email Campaigns
If you’ve been eager to implement triggered communications or personalized email campaigns, there’s no time like the present. To beat the competition, you’ll need to ensure your customers get the best messaging at the most advantageous times. Start now -holiday shopping has already begun.

How to fast-track tech-enhanced email campaigns:

    • Work with your Email Services Provider (and CDP/CRM platform if you have one) to set up new triggers based on actions you want your customers to take. Or identify new omnichannel segments and A/B test messaging.

    • A low-tech suggestion is to update the content on existing triggers, including welcome series and cart abandonment emails. Make sure the content still matches the ways that commerce (and the world) has changed.

5. Back-in-Stock Notifications
During the peak of COVID, many brands and retailers won business by sending customers notifications when out-of-stock products were once again available. This would be an excellent tactic to deploy during the holidays, especially if you expect to restock your best sellers after initial runs are depleted.

How to fast-track back-in-stock notifications:

    • If the functionality is available on your current platform, work with your tech stakeholders to get it up and running.

    • For a low-tech option, work with your email service provider to offer opt-in to a new email series about all back-in-stock items.

We know you’re in a hurry to implement these 5 technologies. But before you go, we want to preview another 5 technologies you’ll want to put into place in 2021. You can start scoping them right now, or as soon as you’ve taken care of Holiday 2020.

FitForCommerce Top Tech Picks for Q1 2021:

  • Improved Personalization

  • Enhanced Site Search

  • Alternative Payments

  • Auto-Ship/Replenishment

  • ADA Compliance

Written by: Robin Kamen

Related blog from this 2020 Holiday series: