How to Prepare Your eCommerce Business for the Upcoming Holiday Season
For an eCommerce business owner, it is imperative to understand the opportunities brought by holidays to boost your sales.
LiveChat, a SaaS customer service firm, states that eCommerce websites traffic increases by over 120% during the holidays. The upcoming holiday season rivals other holidays such as Cyber Monday or Black Friday, where traffic on eCommerce websites go up to 63% in most cases.
However, holidays also come with many challenges. On top of that, 2020 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have imposed a whole new range of concerns, regulations, and adaptations that will affect merchants both in store and online.
Anyone with experience in eCommerce business knows that preparation is key to meeting the extreme level of customer demands.
For instance, Alibaba introduced an offer named Singles Day, which in 2020 broke its previous sales record. The company made almost $74.1 billion worth of sales. An event that usually lasts for 24 hours was extended to 10 days, most likely in anticipation of increased buyer demand.
If the tactic used by AliBaba and the gross revenue they reported are anything to go by, you would do well to start preparing as soon as possible.
Here are some holiday preparation pointers for your eCommerce store.
#1 Customized Holiday Marketing
Create customized holiday marketing campaigns to attract consumers through promotions and bonuses.
The holiday season is a time for shopping for most people. As social distancing is being imposed all over the world, more customers than ever will do their holiday shopping from the comfort of their homes.
With carefully placed marketing material, you can show up where your audience is most likely to see you and be able to reap big during the upcoming holidays.
You will also be able to inform consumers of better deals, encourage them to buy, and be able to analyze your ability to cope with the intensity of holiday marketing.
For example, you can implement a holiday marketing campaign by creating gorgeous emails that entice consumers to click on and purchase your products. Make use of carefully targeted promotions on social media to maximize your reach and advertise your special offers to some new audiences as well.
#2 Optimize Your Site Speed to Increase Traffic
Your website performance is your number one priority. No one wants to shop on a website where the site takes forever to load and process orders.
Your store should always be ready, especially in terms of stability and scalability. To handle increased traffic, you should invest more in your web infrastructure.
It might seem surprising to you, but increasing your website speed by just a few milliseconds can change the way your eCommerce will perform in the coming holidays.
There are several things you can do to increase your website’s speed.
● Check the loading time for every page
● Let the team check how long it takes for images to render
● Improve order processing speed
Go through the ordering process as if you were the customer. Try to cut any unnecessary steps, make registration and payment simple, and ensure that your website provides a pleasant and smooth experience for the user.
#3 Earn your Customers’ Trust
In the current world, customers want transparency. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure that the content you post on your eCommerce site is authentic.
You should make sure that you give your clientele all the information they want. It is an excellent way of dispelling any doubts about your brand.
If customers trust your brand, it will not take long before you notice that the conversion rates rise. Customers do not want the fine print - they demand full disclosure.
For instance, your return policies and shipping rates should be clear and easy to understand. If you notice that the policies are not friendly, consider changing them or even state them openly in the shopping funnel.
Try to include social proof as well. Encourage customers to leave reviews after the purchase or even upload their own images of the product they purchased.
#4 Mobile Optimization
Nowadays, the majority of people use their mobile phones to go online, connect with friends and also go shopping. Therefore, your eCommerce site must be optimized for mobile phone browsing.
Improving your website’s mobile experience will ensure that your shoppers have an excellent shopping experience using their mobile phones.
You can also introduce apps which shoppers can download and use to access your store instead of visiting the site via a browser.
Your store will be right in front of them whenever they use their phone and your products on top of their minds if you leverage push notifications to inform them of discounts or special offers.
Mobile commerce is predicted to increase by 25% in 2020 compared to last year and reach a staggering $2.91 trillion. That’s a lot of opportunity for your store to make an excellent revenue this season.
#5 Inventory Management
Inventory management is essential in any trade. The coming holidays will drive many stores to their limits in terms of stock inventory.
It is crucial to understand the need for proper inventory management because it is what will keep you afloat in the current world’s increasingly competitive online markets.
You should ensure that your company can cope with the increased demands of customers during the coming holiday season. The pandemic has also affected supply chains, so you need to be aware of disruptions and longer shipment times in that regard as well.
So how can you make adequate preparations?
● Have enough stock
● Arrange for quick re-order in case you run out of stock
The two points above will assist you in reducing the chances of customers catching you flatfooted during the holiday period.
Another vital point to think about having a monitoring system in your warehouse to mirror what is available in your online store.
Here are a few tips on inventory management to assist you in getting your store ready for the coming holidays.
Review Data of the Final Three Months of Previous Year’s Sales
It might seem like a lot of work, but it is worth a try. Reviewing the preceding year’s sales data will assist you in identifying areas of weakness and also areas that performed well.
With that data in hand, you can make better decisions and predictions as you plan for the coming holiday season.
Although this year might be a bit unique, the core idea is not to underestimate the demand you will face.
Optimize Internal Processes
If you already know that holidays are a busy season, don’t let it all fall over your head at once.
Make sure you have enough staff to handle the orders and hire extra hands if necessary. Check and prepare all equipment and assets so that your business doesn’t come to a standstill at the height of the season.
Look into some solutions to automate as many processes as possible, such as order processing or labeling tools. This can significantly reduce your handling time and even help eliminate human-made errors when preparing shipments.
Have a List of Holiday Promotions
It is vital to have a large stock of promotional items. They will play a significant role in encouraging your shopper to buy from your store.
It also gives the customers the incentive to buy from you if they feel that they will gain something extra after making their purchases.
Remove Items which are in Backorder
Backorders can frustrate you in many ways, and they can also make you lose a lot of customers. When managing your inventory, make sure you remove all backorders.
Increase Sale during the upcoming Holidays
The main thing that you should focus on is to attract new customers and also retain them.
Holiday seasons are a massive opportunity for you to boost your client base while making money from your eCommerce store.
The points listed above will help you a great deal in preparing your eCommerce store for the coming holiday period.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library with a hot cup of coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.