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How to Get Your eCommerce Store Ready for the Holiday Season

How to Get Your eCommerce Store Ready for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a crucial time of the year for all businesses, but especially for online retailers. eCommerce sites see up to 120% more visits on days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, and during the holidays, the daily traffic is up by nearly 65%. This year, despite the ongoing Coronavirus, consumers plan to spend more than $997 on holiday items and gifts, according to the NRF.

So, if you want a piece of the holiday sales pie, you need to be prepared to meet this staggering level of consumer demand. Here are six tips to help you make sure your shop is ready for the holiday season.

Rely on SEO

It’s easy to overlook SEO when preparing your online store for the holiday season. Checking your inventory, coming up with special deals, planning email campaigns, and many other tasks seem to be more important when it comes to successful holiday sales. However, search engine optimization is a crucial element to any online store’s holiday marketing mix. It’s the backbone of any good marketing strategy, encompassing several aspects like UX, high-quality content, optimized images, site speed, and more.

There isn’t much time left before the holiday season starts, so you might want to consider using professional eCommerce SEO services. A professional SEO company will create a robust SEO strategy and handle all technical tasks to allow you to make the most of the holiday season.

Check Your Website

Your site’s performance should be at the top of your list of priorities. So, make sure your web infrastructure is ready to handle the increased demand and, if necessary, improve your website speed. Oftentimes, milliseconds can be crucial for avoiding bounces and cart abandonments.

Next, check your site’s mobile responsiveness. Over 65% of the global population owns a mobile phone and nearly 80% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile devices in the last six months.

Make sure that your web design is optimized for mobile and the images are responsive before the holiday frenzy begins. If they are not, you’re running the risk of annoying potential buyers who won’t hesitate to go to your competition.

Organize Your Inventory

Start by analyzing last year’s holiday inventory to see how much money you invested and how much of it was earned back with a profit. Besides, you can use historical inventory data to get an idea of what your best selling products will be and make better estimates before making the orders. If this is your first holiday season as an online retailer, do some research to see what items on your eCommerce website are in demand this season. From there, you can make a list of what items to stock up on.

Make sure that you are properly stocked and can reorder inventory fast when necessary. Reach out to your suppliers to share information on predicted order volume and avoid potential stockouts. Like you, they also need time to successfully deliver orders.

Update Your Copy

Did you know that nearly 85% of website conversions occur on the first visit? This means that you only have a few seconds to make a great first impression. If people are finding your website because of your promotions, you need to ensure that your copy matches those promotions.

Consider including urgency phrases such as, “This week only” to incentivize customers to make a purchase now. You can also include project ideas such as gift guides and introduce personalization to the copy. For instance, Target organizes its products into gift guides customized for different budgets.

Improve Your Customer Service

Customer service is at the core of every successful eCommerce brand. So, why not use this holiday season as an opportunity to ramp up your efforts?

According to experts, customers that buy from you around Thanksgiving or Halloween are already ready to make more purchases. All you need to do is demonstrate the kind of service that will keep them coming back. Here are a few ideas to help you improve your customer service:

  • If you haven’t already, consider using a customer service tool. The right software will help you get organized and stay on top of customer feedback and complaints.
  • Communicate clearly. For instance, if shipping will be delayed during the holiday season, ensure that this is stated at checkout.
  • Create self-help resources to make things easier for your customer service agents. Having a FAQs page won’t solve every issue, but it will make a difference.

Plan Out Promotional Emails

What better time to create relevant sales emails than during the holiday season? Start by sending out pre-holiday promotions, just when customers begin to think about holiday shopping. Later, you can create emails targeting last-minute buyers, who might already be ready for conversion.

Don’t forget the abandoned cart emails. On days like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, you only have a couple of hours to save abandoned shopping carts. So, make sure to reach out to the customers who have dropped their carts. Send the reminder after about 1 hour, then send a follow-up 2 hours after the cart was abandoned.

Finally, make sure to automate your email marketing campaigns. With a good email service provider, your marketing team won’t need to spend their holidays at work to ensure the right message reaches the right people at the right time. You can schedule the emails in advance to keep up the momentum and nurture leads when they are most likely to convert.

Final Thoughts

As they say, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year – especially for online retailers. Your job is to make sure your online store is prepared for the increased demand and keep the customers happy.

While there’s no single method for holiday planning, these six tips will help you mitigate errors and succeed during the busiest time of the year.

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by Rebecca Jones // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.