Updated: Jan 15
The Christmas shopping season is a critical time for all retailers, but it can be especially challenging for online shops. Not only do you have to compete with the throngs of shoppers at brick-and-mortar stores, but you also must make sure your website can handle the increased traffic and order volume. With a little preparation, though, you can make sure your online shop is ready for anything the Christmas season throws your way.
Week One: Create a Christmas Shopping Plan
The holidays are a make-or-break time for many ecommerce businesses. In fact, nearly 30% of all annual sales occur in November and December. If you want your ecommerce business to thrive during the holiday season, you need to create a comprehensive shopping plan. Here's why it's so important to have a plan and how you can go about creating one.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Creating a shopping plan may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many businesses fail to do it. Having a plan gives you a roadmap to follow so you can make the most of the holiday shopping season. Without one, you're likely to miss out on sales and opportunities.
When creating your shopping plan, there are a few things you'll need to take into account, including:
Your sales goals for the holiday season
Which products will be most popular during the holidays
How many of each product you'll need to have in stock
Any promotions or discounts you'll be offering
Your shipping and fulfilment schedule
Your budget for holiday marketing and advertising
Taking the time to consider each of these factors will help ensure that your ecommerce business is ready for the influx of holiday shoppers.
Read all the eCommerce Digital Marketing Christmas Guides
Getting Started with Your Shopping Plan
Now that you know why it's so important to have a shopping plan, let's take a look at how you can create one. Start by setting some realistic sales goals for the holiday season. Look at your sales from previous years and use that information to come up with an achievable number. Once you have your goal, it's time to start thinking about which products will be most popular during the holiday season.
Do some research and find out which items are likely to sell well and make sure you have plenty of those items in stock. You don't want to run out of popular items and miss out on sales because you didn't plan ahead.
In addition to stocking up on popular items, now is also the time to start planning any promotions or discounts you'll be offering during the holidays.
Use these promotions as an opportunity to drive traffic to your website and boost sales.
Finally, think about your shipping and fulfilment schedule. The last thing you want is for customers' orders to get delayed because you weren't prepared.
Make sure you have enough staff on hand to handle the increased volume of orders and that your shipping partners are prepared for the uptick in business as well. By taking all these factors into account, you'll be well on your way to creating a comprehensive shopping plan that will help ensure your ecommerce business thrives this holiday season.
Week Two: Create Holiday-themed Products
If you want to boost sales during the Christmas season, then you need to have Christmas-themed products for your customers to buy. Brainstorm some ideas and then start creating or sourcing the products. Remember, it's important to have a mix of both practical and novelty items so that there's something for everyone.
If you're an ecommerce business owner, one great way to do this is by creating holiday-themed products. But before you get started, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Do your research
The first step is to do your research and find out what's hot this holiday season. What are people looking for? What are the must-have items? Once you have a good understanding of what's in demand, you can start thinking about how you can create holiday-themed products that will sell like hotcakes.
Keep it festive
Your holiday-themed products need to be clearly festive so that shoppers know at a glance that they're perfect for the season. Think about incorporating popular holiday symbols and colors into your designs. And don't forget to add a personalized touch—after all, this is the time of year when people are looking for unique gifts.
Make it practical
While your holiday-themed products should be visually appealing, they also need to be practical. No one wants to end up with a nice-looking paperweight that they'll never use. Think about how your product can be used on a daily basis—maybe it's a mug that can be used all year round or a keychain that comes in handy during the winter months.
Offer discounts and promotions
Finally, remember that people are looking for bargains during the holidays, so make sure you offer discounts and promotions on your holiday-themed products. This will help entice shoppers to buy from you instead of from your competitors.
Week Three: Get Your Website Ready
If you're running an online shop, then it's important to make sure that your website is ready for the influx of Christmas traffic. This means ensuring that your website can handle high traffic levels without crashing, that your checkout process is smooth and efficient, and that your customer service team is prepared to handle any issues that may arise.
If your website can't handle the influx of traffic and resulting orders, you could lose out on a lot of sales—sales that your competitors will be more than happy to snag. So, how can you make sure your ecommerce website is ready for the holiday rush? Here's our tips to bulletproof your ecommerce business
1. Start by assessing your website's current performance
2. Take a close look at your website's design and user experience
3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
4. Pay attention to your site speed
5. Prepare your inventory in advance
6. Make sure your payment processor can handle the increase in transactions
7. Plan for an increase in customer service enquiries
8. Stay on top of shipping times and delivery deadlines
9. Keep an eye on your competition
10. Have a contingency plan in place in case something goes wrong.
Double check your product descriptions and photos to ensure that everything is correct and looking its best. You should also check your shipping policies and rates to make sure they are still accurate and competitive. Now is also a good time to start thinking about any special promotions or sales you might want to run during the Christmas season.
Getting your ecommerce website ready for the holiday season is essential if you want to boost sales and prevent lost business.
Week Four: Promote, Promote, Promote!
If you want to ensure that your business ends the year on a high note, you need to make sure that you're promoting your ecommerce store during the Christmas season. But why is this so important? Let's take a look:
More people are shopping online during the holidays
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online. This means that if you're not promoting your ecommerce store during the holidays, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your sales.
People are looking for deals and discounts
During the holidays, people are always on the lookout for deals and discounts. In fact, according to another report from Adobe, 44% of shoppers said that they started their holiday shopping before Black Friday last year because they were looking for discounts. So, if you want to attract holiday shoppers to your ecommerce store, make sure that you're offering some great deals and discounts.
You can reach a wider audience with targeted ads
Targeted ads are one of the most effective ways to reach new customers and boost sales during the holidays (or any other time of year). With targeted ads, you can specifically target people who are likely to be interested in what you're selling. This ensures that your ads are seen by people who are interested in what you're selling, which results in more click-throughs and conversions.
If you are running any special promotions, make sure those are live on your site and that all the relevant details (e.g., discount codes, minimum purchase amounts, etc.) are clearly stated. It's also a good idea to send out a reminder email to your email list about any upcoming sales or promotions. The more people who know about your products, the more likely they are to buy them.
Before, during and after: Customer Service is important
In the past, businesses could get away with minimal customer service because there were fewer options available to consumers. If someone didn't like the way they were treated by one company, they could just take their business elsewhere. But now, with social media and review sites like Yelp, TrustPilot, and Amazon, businesses can't afford to skimp on customer service. One negative review can quickly spiral into dozens or even hundreds, and that can have a serious impact on your bottom line.
People are buying presents for other people
If somebody buys a present from your store and it arrives late or damaged, the recipient is going to be upset. And if they're upset, they're going to tell the person who gave them the present - meaning you could lose a customer. It's important to make sure that everything arrives on time and in good condition.
People are busy
During the holidays, people have a lot on their plates. They're buying presents, preparing for Christmas dinner, attending parties, and more. The last thing they want is to deal with a difficult customer service issue. If you can make their lives easier by providing great customer service, they'll appreciate it - and they'll remember it when they need to buy something else in the future.
Returns are higher during the holidays
Because people are buying presents for other people, there are bound to be some returns. If your return policy is complicated or difficult to understand, you're going to frustrate customers and lose sales. Make sure your return policy is clear and easy to follow, so that people know what to expect if they need to return something.
There's more competition during the holidays
During the holidays, everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. That means there's more competition than usual, and customers have more choices of where to spend their money. If you want them to choose your store over someone else's, you need to give them a reason - like great customer service.
It's just good business sense
Customer service should be a priority all year round, but it's especially important during the holidays when people are under extra stress and pressure. If you can make their lives easier by providing great customer service, they'll remember it - and they'll come back next year (and every year after that). That's why great customer service is not just good business sense; it's essential for success during the holiday season (and all year round).
Make sure you are available to answer any questions or address any concerns that may come up. It's also important to keep an eye on your inventory levels and reorder anything that starts to run low.
Surviving and thriving this Christmas
The key to surviving (and thriving) during the Christmas shopping season as an online retailer is preparation. By taking the time to update your website and promotional materials ahead of time, you can avoid last-minute scrambles and ensure that your customers have the best possible experience when shopping with you. And when it comes to customer service, don't be afraid to go above and beyond – a little extra effort can go a long way towards creating lifelong fans of your business.
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