We are quickly approaching the end of the year and we all know what that means. Shopping, shopping, shopping. Everybody wants to take advantage of great deals, prepare in advance for the holiday season and stack up on gifts for their loved ones.
This is a busy period for eCommerce store owners and proper planning is mandatory to ensure a profitable and smooth customer shopping experience. Whether it’s your first time selling products online during the holiday season or you already did it in the last few years, in this article you will find tips and tricks on how you can prepare for the 2018 holiday season.
November offers a lot of opportunities to boost your online sales – Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and Black Friday. It goes without saying that Cyber Monday is the most popular one and last year it registered a new record of $6.59 billion in transactions, making it the largest online sales day in the United States.
2018 is expected to perform even better, so let us help you prepare for this upcoming holiday season!
Ok, the first thing you need to think about – site speed and ability to handle all those expected visitors. Test your site, communicate with your hosting company and make sure the website can handle a traffic surge and not crash unexpectedly. Any minute your website is down during this period means lost sales. Avoid this at all costs.
Mobile optimization is also another key topic you need to have in mind. Most shoppers use their mobile for purchases, don’t miss out on profits because your website is not mobile-friendly.
The search function on your website is vital too. Customers easily give up on websites if the search is not optimized. Consider extensions that improve the search and the user experience.
Once you are confident this is going to work properly, think logistics. Your inventory and your warehouse should be prepared and organized to facilitate the high volume of sales you are going to handle.
Having those items crossed off your list, you can start thinking about how to attract customers and how to improve your sales. Let’s discuss marketing.
Your sales should be simple to understand, straight-forward and extremely visible to the customers. Your homepage is the best place to add all the sales information you are offering.
Here is a simple and effective checklist you can use:
- Create attractive banners – use a modern, clean design and list the benefits, discounts and all the ways your clients can benefit from your promotion;
- Use call to action buttons that makes the shopping experience fast and user-friendly;
- Make the best out of coupons, discounts, and promotional prices – you can collect emails in exchange for various discount coupons;
- Make sure your returns privacy is visible and clear to the clients;
- Offer free shipping and notify your customers of the threshold levels;
- Use buy one, get one for free promotions;
- Improve your keywords based on what your customers might be looking for;
- Build excitement for your shoppers – you can add a countdown on your site announcing a big sale or promotion, use email campaigns to promote your offers, constantly post on social media and advertise your special deals, alert customers when an item from their abandoned cart is on sale;
- Keep email subscribers engaged by offering category-specific sales;
- Use entry pop-ups for your promotions;
- Integrate rewards and loyalty points programs;
- Use bundles on your website – this helps the shoppers purchase gifts in one go and it helps you move slow inventory items.
All of these tips should help you get ready for an explosive sale season. Keep in mind this is not the only time when you should focus on this.
Focus on post-holiday sales as well
The post-sale season is just as important. You need to keep your shoppers engaged and try to retain them for the long-term.
Consider offering deals that are valid once the CMBF days are gone. You can offer last-minute packages for shoppers that have not had the chance to take advantage of them during the hot sales days.
Rewards and loyalty points can stretch way past the holiday season. Find a way to keep your customers engaged and make them want to come back to you for purchases. Offer discounts and special promotions for the months to come – New Year sales or January sales. If you notify your clients of these ahead of time and send them a reminder email before your clearance period, there are high chances you win them for the long run.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – what would you like to get as a special promotion? Analyze your audience’s behavior, try to foresee their needs and expectations, adapt to the market trends and create a marketing strategy that engages your shoppers and gives them more reasons to buy from you.
The holiday season is a great opportunity to build a long-term relationship with your customers and to gain their loyalty.
If you need help preparing for the hot sales days, don’t hesitate to contact our experts and they will guide you to a successful and profitable season!