Helpful Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Season
It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the best opportunities for any eCommerce store to reach sales and achieve growth. This is the one time of year when people are happy to open up their wallets and spend money on the best promotions around. We know that you could use some helpful ways to prepare for the holiday season!
We can also see that online sales are growing every year, as more people start preferring online shopping rather than queueing in stores for a good deal.
It’s possible that eCommerce sites can have around 120 percent more visits on popular days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and daily traffic alone can increase by up to 63 percent.
It’s no surprise, then, that you’ll have to undertake extensive preparation to meet consumer demand. We’ve rounded up some of our top tips to help you improve your holiday preparation.
1. Test your website’s traffic and speed
Website performance should be among your top priorities. In terms of stability and scalability, your store needs to be ready and able to handle increased demands from customers. This is a crucial way to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
You may need to improve your site speed, even if only by a few milliseconds. The impact of this is less abandoned shopping carts at the end of the day.
To start, you or a team member should check how your pages load for every element within your website. This includes loading images and checking out – it’s crucial that every step of your customer journey is covered.
In the same vein, you’ll need to ensure that your website’s mobile responsiveness is up to par. It’s no secret that a ton of shoppers prefer mobile shopping in particular, as this is an easy and accessible way to shop.
At a minimum, you should test your website using your mobile phone. Your images should be responsive on mobile, and your entire website should be mobile-friendly before the holidays begin.
You can find out more about responsive web design here.
2. Get Inventory Organized
The key to staying ahead means that you’ll need adequate stock levels. You may expect to keep 10% more stock than the previous year.
Ensuring that you’re stocked adequately, or can re-order new stock quickly, is an absolute necessity during this time. You don’t want to sell out too early, with no plan to meet customer demand later on.
If you don’t already have one, you’ll need some kind of system to ensure that your stock levels and sales align so that your e-commerce store reflects the correct inventory to your customers. This is a vital thing to organise properly in order to prepare for the upcoming holiday season – so get ready!
3. Create sales and promotions
Many consumers use holiday shopping as a way to gauge and compare different sales and deals. People want to get the best possible deal, and you’ll need to keep this in mind when you start promoting for the holidays.
You can expect that a large part of your customer base will want to start buying gifts soon, so now is the perfect time to decide on the type of promotions, deals, or discounts that you’ll be offering later in the year.
4. Prepare a Content Calendar for the Holidays
While unsuspecting, this is a crucial thing to do when planning for the weeks ahead. If you are using content marketing in your long-term strategy or short-term tactics, you will need to ensure that you include relevant, relatable content throughout the holiday season.
This could include content like gift guides, list posts centered on gifts for him or her, and holiday-specific blog topics that your audience will love.
In addition, make sure you include social media on your calendar. Recommendations from peers or other shoppers have a considerable impact on holiday purchases. Given the importance of sales during this time, you’ll need to find ways to get your customers to openly share and speak about your products.
5. Plan your Promotional Emails
We know that emails containing sales elements can perform well if they’re not always obvious. There is no better time to start creating sales emails than the holiday season.
You should probably start sending out some pre-holiday sales promotions first, for the more prepared customer. Later in the month, you can send emails that will appeal to last-minute buyers, who may be waiting for an opportunity from your store.
An important email type to remember is the abandoned cart reminder. On crazy sales days like Black Friday, you’ll only have a few hours to save an abandoned cart – so it’s necessary to reach out to those customers while reiterating the urgency needed. You can also set a time for your reminder, such as after 60 or 120 minutes as a follow-up.
6. Prepare your Customer Service for the season
You may not realize this, but outreach can be very useful during this season. If you have customers from the months prior to the holiday season, they may be ready for a quick re-purchase from your store. One way of convincing them to make the sale is to show them excellent customer service.
Some examples of how to do this include:
- Creating useful self-help resources to reduce the need for staff attention. While you won’t solve everything with a FAQ page, you can certainly tackle some of the most prevalent issues this way.
- Communicating clearly with customers. It’s important that you set and manage realistic expectations with your customers. If you are facing a shipping delay, make this apparent before a purchase is made. Make sure that your delivery and returns policies are clearly visible on your website.
- You may wish to choose customer service software, such as a ticketing system, to stay on top of customer queries. You may also want to choose something like a chatbot for your e-commerce store to assist in redirecting customers appropriately.
7. Take this time to create Return Customers
The holiday silly season is a great opportunity to earn loyal customers. This is an important strategy, because repeat customers can function as the bread and butter of your store’s revenue.
You’ll need to prepare to deal with a larger influx of customers during the holiday season. That’s why the holiday shopping season is a perfect time to create new customer relations and improve your existing customer relations.
Some ideas to do this include:
- New email campaigns. If personalized, customers enjoy receiving a follow-up email. Emails to use include a welcome email, promotional email, and guide/how-to email if this is necessary for your store.
- Loyalty programs, if applicable to your store. This can provide an incentive for new purchases.
- Asking for feedback after purchase to ensure that you going above and beyond expectations. You will want to deliver the best possible service, from a perfect product to a more wholesome customer experience.
You shouldn’t be satisfied with once-off customers, as you’re missing out on a bigger opportunity.
We know that preparing for the holidays is a challenge for any online store.
This task comes with a lot of stress and effort, but we can assure you that this will pay off. Remember that between the period of November 27th and December 22nd, you could possibly make more sales than the rest of the year.
In order to truly take advantage of the holiday season, you’ll need to plan ahead and execute your plan well. By taking some time to figure out what your customers are really looking to buy online and offering them the best possible promotions, you can definitely make more online sales.
Do you need help getting your store set up for the Holiday season? Do you need to start selling on more channels ahead of the holidays? Look no further than ShoppingFeeder. It’s one of the best feed management platforms out there, and it can integrate with a ton of channels. Try it for free today!