Owning an e-commerce business means understanding that sales boosts are seasonal. Holiday sales can make or break your business. In particular, the holiday period from Black Friday through New Year’s can be one of your most profitable, so preparing your small business for holiday sales means maximizing your profits.
If you think about all the things that you must do to guarantee high sales, it is essential that you start early. Many people like to begin their Christmas shopping in October, some even as early as August or September, so there is no time like the present to start.
Due to the pandemic, anticipate a lot of holiday shopping moving online this year. You’ll want to make sure your e-commerce site has all the essentials that will set it up for success during this busy time of year. Before you start feeling totally overwhelmed, check out some tips we recommend that will ensure you’re as prepared as possible this holiday season.
1. Order Extra Stock
Identify your top-selling items and order or make extra in anticipation of your increase in interest. Having extra stock will put you at ease when things start really picking up, as it’s no fun to scramble around, trying to create or order more things as the items are being demanded. The last thing you want to worry about is losing customers because you’ve run out of the specific products they wanted.
If you haven’t already, get going on getting your additional orders and products produced, and keep in mind when people will want these items. Holiday buying isn’t like typical online shopping where there’s more flexibility in turnaround time.
2. Put Together a Promotional Timeline
There are a lot of holidays happening from now until January, so map out your marketing and promotional ideas on a calendar to help you keep track of which you’ll want to focus on. You’ll want to upgrade your website with graphics or images that align with each holiday, as well as tie in any promotions or discounts you’re doing in conjunction. Some suggestions:
- Add a promo code or announcement on your homepage
- Send an email promo to your subscribers
- Write a blog post that relates to the holiday items and/or promotions
- Create social images to align with the time of year and promos
Organization is key to ensuring you are on top of this busy sales period! Create a spreadsheet for each holiday and add the above items so you can keep track of what you’ll be creating. Add due dates for each and make sure you designate someone from your marketing team to handle (if you won’t be doing it yourself, that is).
3. Design Graphics
While your chosen graphics may not literally say a thousand words, it can come pretty close. Professionally designed graphics will capture your audience’s attention on your website, social media, external websites, and blog posts. Use colorful graphics to match your overall branding and website style, as consistency is important if you want to raise your profile and stay in your customers’ minds. Have your graphics completed before you need them so you can meet those deadlines on your promo calendar well in advance. Decorating your website with images will get your shoppers in the spirit, plus it lets them know that you are prepped and ready for their business.
4. Write Content
While your graphic designers are busy with your website banners, your writers need to be working on content. Blog posts with extra focus on SEO optimization that focus on your holiday promotions and items will help give that additional attention and excitement to what you want to promote.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll also want to boost your email marketing, but don’t send out the same email to everyone on your list. Instead, segment your lists so you can personalize and target your messaging to the recipients, which can help boost conversions. Make sure you track your landing page performance so you can see how well your emails are driving traffic and conversions to those particular pages you’re promoting.
5. Ramp Up Your Social Media
Social is a great way to create excitement and buzz around your products during the holiday season. You may be busy fulfilling orders, but don’t let that stand in the way of showing your followers and customers what’s in store for them right now.
It’s a good idea to have someone focused 100% on your social media to curate content and deal with comments, queries, and messages. Similar to your promotional calendar, you need to create a social media calendar and plan your content ahead of time. Consider each social platform and what makes sense to post on each, instead of just opting to post the same thing across the board. Make sure to provide plenty of helpful and exciting content alongside your holiday campaigns, which will help increase interest (and potential sales). Don’t ignore your hashtags over the holiday periods either, as you can tie them individually to each campaign you create.
6. Experiment With Paid Advertising
Paid advertising can rack up some costs, so while you may not regularly use it, budgeting it into your holiday promotions isn’t a bad idea. Look into the channels your audience is most active on. For instance, if your Facebook page receives a lot of engagement, likes, comments, and follows, it’s probably a good idea to add some Facebook advertisement to your promotion schedule.
Be very clear with your message and use well-selected words to turn those browsers into shoppers. Promotional paid posts can be very effective if utilized well and will give you a much-needed boost in the search engine and social media stakes.
7. Update Your Order Policies
To convince shoppers to buy from your business, particularly first-time buyers, you may wish to consider offering free or discounted shipping or lowering your minimum orders. Email new subscribers that have yet to purchase from you, and include an incentive that sweetens the deal a bit. Do you offer a return or exchange policy? Perhaps you could adapt it to make it more lenient during the holiday season to encourage new shoppers to purchase.
8. Increase Your Payment Options
Shoppers like to have more choices these days, and giving them a range of ways to pay for their goods is extremely preferable. You may discover that adding PayPal or another payment method, alongside the traditional credit card option, may bring in extra customers who might never have shopped with you otherwise. You can even look into installment options so customers can pay for goods over a period of time with minimal interest.
Anything that will boost your rate of sales without resorting to discounts and free goods should definitely be weighed up. Remember, online shopping this holiday season will most likely be up, so make it as easy and seamless as possible by offering your customers options.
Once you have everything in place, you must do one last thing this year to help you prepare for next year’s holiday season. Track the analytics for your store, marketing campaigns, social media, etc., to see the results. What were the most popular products? What campaigns worked? What campaigns failed to yield a sizable return? This information will hold you in good stead when the next holiday period rolls around.
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