The holiday shopping season is the biggest of the year. Everyone is looking for gifts for loved ones while seeking out deals on items that they'll use throughout the year. If you wait until October or November to start preparing for the holiday season, your business will be woefully unprepared to handle the increase in traffic, the needs of your customers, and the marketing that will highlight your business over your competitors. Starting now, however, will give you time to prepare everything you need for the holiday season.
1. Plan Your Holiday "Decor"
If you wait until October or November to purchase your holiday decorations, you may be fighting a tight schedule to get them in for the holidays. In fact, many big box retailers order their supplies for the next year in January. The same is true for your online "decorations."
Approaching web developers now, when they aren't bogged down in requests from dozens of other retailers, will help you make a number of changes to your website for the holidays. This may include:
Making sure the server can support the increased traffic that comes with the holiday shopping season
Preparing any changes that you want to make to your website for the holidays
2. Design Your Game Plan
The longer you wait to decide what type of promotions you're going to offer during the holiday shopping season, the faster you're going to have to throw it together. It may be hard to think "Christmas" when it's 90+ degrees outside, but if you can shift gears and start preparing, you'll discover that you're in a much better position to maximize profitability while shoppers are searching for the best deals. Start looking at your data, both what you've collected from this year so far and the data you collected from last year. Ask yourself:
What deals are customers responding to the most?
What items are likely to be the "hot ticket" items this holiday season?
Do I have enough of the most wanted items and can I get more supply if needed?
Will you focus on your most loyal customers or acquiring new customers?
When do you want to start your holiday campaign?
3. Check Critical Pages
Your ecommerce site's product pages have likely gotten the attention they deserve throughout the year. Use your holiday planning to identify and update the pages that don't get as much attention, but may be the content shoppers need most. Start with your FAQ section and your returns policy. These vital pages allow customers to reassure themselves that your business is trustworthy and can meet their needs during a stressful time.
You should also make sure that your shipping policies are clearly visible. Shoppers who can't find shipping costs until they get to checkout are very likely to abandon their cart and that may prevent them from shopping at your store in the future. Keep in mind that most shopper expect free shipping and free returns during the holiday season.
Preparing for the holiday season is challenging for many retailers, especially small businesses. From deciding what deals to offer for Black Friday weekend to learning when to time your promotions, there are plenty of questions to answer. Tackling those decisions now will make it easier and more profitable to manage the biggest shopping season of the year.
There are many steps needed to properly prepare for a bountiful holiday shopping season. These are just a few of the many strategies you will want to put in place to make sure you have the right amount of inventory and demand to sell through at maximum profit margins. Onestop provides merchants with planning and merchandising services in addition to a full-service digital marketing agency to ramp up your product and marketing strategy for holiday 2017.