PREPARING YOUR ECOMMERCE STORE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Thursday, October 15, 2015Global Administrator
It’s the most wonderful time of the year….
Well not quite, but we are getting there. The holidays are fast approaching, and it’s time to start preparing. It’s not even just Christmas that you need to be prepared for. Online retailers need to keep in mind that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just as big, if not a bigger deal in today’s world.
So, how does one prepare? How do you optimize your store for maximum sales and growth? We have a couple of tips that will make this time of year even more wonderful (and profitable) for you!
Partner up with your friends
The holidays are a great time to partner with similar companies, ones that complement you and your brand. The ones that aren’t competition, but have similar offerings, or target a similar audience. For example, if you’re selling cosmetics online, partnering with a fragrance company may be good for your holiday campaigns.
One: You’re targeting similar audiences.
Two: Both are great gifting industries for this time of year.
This could be a win/win for both parties. Work together on co-branding, and campaigns that complement each other. Throw a contest or two with multiple winners in and you’re set. Anything where you can double your audience reach when customers are listening will have positive results for your company. Both can benefit from a larger customer base.
Conduct a serious email marketing clean-up
Depending on what industry you are in, your email marketing could be your golden ticket this season. It’s crucial you have it cleaned up and segmented properly. Look over your analytics and other numbers to get an idea of who your customers are and what they want.
You’re last six months will be telling and provide good indication of who is still listening. Get rid of your inactive subscribers and stop paying for them. This will increase your marketing effectiveness, but more importantly, maximize the ROI on your marketing spend.
Run a security audit
This should be something you do on a regular or quarterly basis. Some small to midsized companies are often victims of fraudulent activity because of the lack of investment into security. Ensure you network access points are secure and use SSL authentication. This gives your customers peace of mind that their information is secure on your site. Finally, have trusted security logos (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Norton etc) across the payment page. Again, this screams security to your customers.
Display promotions right away
It doesn’t matter who you are, people generally look for ways to save money over the holidays. This is something you can take advantage of. Set holiday promotions and have them appear right away to your visitors. Don’t give them an opportunity to miss their chance to save money on their purchase.
It would also be wise to have these displayed in your email marketing and on your social media channels to gain some traction. While doing this, ensure that you’re not making any dramatic changes to your site’s navigation in the process. You still want it to be optimized for your return visitors who already know what they’re looking for.
Don’t forget about functionality
During the holidays you’ll likely experience a drastic increase in visitors. It’s important that your store can not only handle the traffic, but do it fast. Research shows that 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes three seconds or more to load (CIO). Run regular tests for the speed and see where your weak spots are. Don’t give them any opportunity to leave and click away to a competitor.
Stock up! On inventory and on staff.
You can’t sell inventory you don’t have. Do your research and make some educated guesses as to what will sell more this holiday season. Last year’s numbers and this year’s general trends will give you a good indication of what to keep stocked up.
You can’t run a business without employees, especially the busy one you expect to be running over the holidays. If you have the means and expect to make the money back, hire on some holiday help, or extend working hours for your current employees. Just make sure you are covered; customer service is just as, if not more important than the store itself!
Finally, don’t forget to integrate your eCommerce and your ERP
That’s right, we saved the best for last! We talk about it a lot, but setting up integration touch points for orders, inventory, etc. will absolutely save you the headache. Not only will it streamline your eCommerce business, but it gives you more time to focus on the items above and enjoying the holidays in general!
There you have it folks! Our quick tips to surviving the holidays with your online store!
Did we miss anything? Share your helpful tips for the holidays below.