9 Tips To Prepare Your Business For The Holiday Shopping Season

This weekend marks the start of Fall as well as the start of the holiday shopping season! According to the NRF (National Retail Federation), 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween each year. And, the average shopper does 44% of their holiday shopping online. Therefore, it is important that you are prepared for holiday sales and that your website is ready for the holiday traffic!

Start planning NOW

Ideally, you have already started planning your Holiday sales – but, if you have not then now is the time to start. Look over your products and inventory and plan all of your sales. This includes both online and retail location sales. Place them on a spreadsheet and include marketing dates.

You Must Have a Responsive Website

There is nothing more annoying to a mobile customer if your website is not optimized for mobile. Each year the number of mobile shoppers increases. If your website is not responsive you may lose a large number of sales! Make sure that your website is updated and mobile-friendly. This needs to be done ASAP, as updating from a non-responsive site to a responsive site takes time (it’s not just a simple code that fixes the issue) and adding inventory etc can delay this as well. If you know (or you are not sure) that your site is not mobile-friendly, we can help!

Test Your Website

Receiving larger amounts of traffic is great – unless it causes your website to crash! Although typically this would require enormous amounts of traffic to occur, it’s still a good idea to ensure your host can handle a spike in traffic. You can use sites like LoadImpact.com to test your website or you can give us a call as well.

Supply & Demand

It is crucial to consider the increased demand you’ll experience during the holiday season. Speak with your vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers and make sure that you will have enough product as well as enough time to order and receive your items. Always plan your sales with some cushion time – nothing can be worse than believing you will receive a shipment one week before a planned sale only to find out there is a delay.

Get creative

As soon as you are done planning your sales (item #1) and speaking with your vendors/manufacturers (to ensure you will have them) – it is time to create your visuals! Start this early so you are not scrambling last minute and so they are ready to promote your sales! A few visuals to think about creating: banner ads, website header images, website sidebar, newsletter banners/promotions, and social media images (think of all the different sizes needed – i.e.: Pinterest, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter feed, Instagram Stories etc).

Make sure you schedule important items in advance – like product photo shoots – if necessary!

Think of Marketing

Marketing can play a big role in the success of your holiday sales. As mentioned earlier, plan your ads and ad creative ahead of time. You will want to make sure you are preparing ads for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as Google. Keep re-targeting in mind when creating these ads (targeting customers who have purchased from you before, or simply visited your website etc). Also, reach out to influencers and bloggers and get your items and links on their gift-guides (and create your own gift guides on your own blog). Most bloggers will want/require affiliate pay, but if you don’t have an affiliate program set up (and can’t get it done in time) you can offer them an exclusive coupon code for their readers/viewers and a percentage of sales for each sale recorded when the coupon code is used.

Prepare to Lower The Abandoned Cart Rate

Minimize the number of abandoned carts and maximize sales. Create a compelling email or app/mobile notification that reminds your customers they have items waiting in their shopping cart. This will help bring them back to complete their purchase.

Build Anticipation & Suspense

A great way to get customers excited is to tease them and pique their curiosity with emails of what’s to come, post-sneak-peeks of upcoming sales on social media and your website. The sooner the better! Build the momentum and get them excited for Black Friday and Cyber Monday when you finally announce the sale to your customers.

Create a few email marketing campaigns for all of your sales and end of sale reminders. Don’t forget to make a few which are exclusive to your subscribers (special sales just for them). This is a great way to grow your subscriber list which means you can market to them year round. Let people know in pop-ups and social that subscribing to your list means they get exclusive offers.

Customer Service

There is absolutely nothing worse than horrible customer service (whether online, over the phone or in person). Take time NOW to build and train your team to give the best service possible. Think of ways to keep customers happy like offering hassle-free returns or exchanges, quick response times, offering live chat options online etc. Also make sure you have some customer service agents monitoring social media and searching for your business name, hashtags etc. Customers – happy or upset- will go to social to let others know. Stay on top of it. Thank the happy customers and make sure you offer assistance to the unhappy customers!

The holidays can bring you not only tons of sales – but also tons of new customers that may end up becoming loyal to your brand. Now is the time to start getting everything ready and focusing on how you can maximize your exposure and sales. Make sure you stay on social and engage so that you build brand awareness before and after your Holiday marketing campaigns take place.

Have you started preparing for the Holidays? Is there something you need assistance with? Let us know in the comments below or give us a call!

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