October month is at its end & winter season has started showing its sign of arrival. As soon as this cold fairy weather arrives our mind gets full of excitement just thinking about Holiday season, festivity, Christmas, Halloween & so on the countdown begins…
No doubt festivity brings a joy of togetherness for everyone. It’s a time to leave your daily routines days & spent it with your near ones.
But if you are an e-commerce retailer….then just hold on! because these days are not at all resting days for you & your business. You have to plan tremendously for making this holiday season sale the biggest shopping weekend for your customers. By recent survey, it was found that nearly 40% of annual retail sales occurred between Thanksgiving day & Christmas Eve.
National Retail Federation forecasted 2018 Holiday Sales to be increased by 4.3 to 4.8% from the year 2017. It also said that in 2017 from Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday more than 174 million shoppers purchased via online during five day holiday weekend.
From the above forecast, you can easily predict out how much is the craze of holiday shopping among buyers. Smart retailers start making early plans for their online store through their marketing campaigns and website maintenance just to become the first priority of the customers during their holiday shopping season.
There is a lot of hassle among the buyers during the festive season. So, enticing your buyers at that time will definitely bring a setback in your business sale whether it is e-commerce or Brick & Mortar store.
There is still a lot of time left for the holiday season as November hasn’t arrived yet & if you haven’t thought upon any such plan for your online store, this blog will surely help you to prepare your online store for the Retail Holiday sales.
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10 Ways to Prepare your Online Store for the Retail Holiday Sales
It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right” – Mark Hunter
The above quote goes rightly with your holiday sales plan. Let’s explore the ways through which we can avail this opportunity more effectively.
1. Choose Holidays precisely for your sales
Among a large number of holidays, choose some of the days which goes perfectly with business. As every day has its own importance & customers also variate their purchases among these holidays. It’s quite difficult to manage inventory for each & every holiday sale.
So, just stick to only one or two holidays & allocate your resources to achieve your sales target. Most retailers choose Black Friday & Cyber Monday as one of the biggest shopping days.
2. Prepare your inventory
Make the best use of analytics to assess out which product was the most popular product during the holiday sales season. As per statista.com,
- US holiday sales 2018 have shown a decrease of approx 1.4 percent In Deli prepared foods from 2017.
- Reese’s owned by The Hershey Company was the top-ranked chocolate candy brand of US with 171.6 million dollars revenue.
- Prepare the list of orders you received & delivered. Track social media to find out the most trending product of the holiday sale.
- Convey your suppliers with a rough estimate of increased demand you expect on holiday sales.
3. Easy Shipping & Return policies
During holiday sales retailers lose around $1.5 trillion due to overstocking or stock-outs. This happens generally because there is a lot of hassle during these days regarding shipping & delivering of products. Review your shipping services & find out :
- Whether your shipping providers are reliable or not?
- Did they make timely delivery of your products during the holiday season?
- Have you heard any complaint from your customers regarding the quality of delivered goods?
- Also, make sure if your shipping options & delivery services are easily available to your customers on your site.
- Give transparent return policies to your customers so that if they had purchased any unwanted product, they can easily return it within a stipulated time period.
4. Ensure more Traffic to your Website
Enlighten your website in such a way that it shows a symbol of festivity sale. Optimize your product pages. Highlight your products in a very attractive way as customers remember 75% of what they see & only 25% of what they read.
Therefore investing in shaping your product pages will be worth result oriented. Make the best use of SEO to increase holiday festive season sale. Since during holiday sales a lot of people will be buying from your site & if it will not be ready enough to handle the traffic then there will be performance issues.
A survey conducted among consumers discovered that about 45% of people expect the website to load in two seconds while making online purchases & around 50% said that they abandon their shopping carts from those websites which takes much time in loading.
Scan your websites with web performance tools & identify constraints. Keep on updating your theme & database.
5. Create effective Navigation
Poor navigation will break the interest of your customers from visiting your site. This is very important at the time of your holiday sale to make your navigation system easy & accessible. You can follow these tips to ensure easy navigation-
- Highlight your search field to make it customer friendly.
- Should be accessible on any device like Mobile, Laptops etc.
- Attach a filter option to customize your searches.
- Add a history page to facilitate your customers find out their previous searches.
- Also, include sorting options so that customers can search as per their choice by price or by relevance.
6. Strategize your Content Marketing
About 57% of marketers prefer content marketing as one of the top inbound marketing methods during holiday sales. The main essence of content marketing is not selling your product through your posts & articles but touching that concept which indirectly links with your products.
- Enrich your website with specific holidays related blogs like Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas etc.
- Do social media postings & landing pages for your marketing purpose.
- Ensure attractive PPt(s) & video marketing for impressing your customers.
- 45% of B2C marketers prefer visual content as their most important type of content( Content Marketing Institute 2017).
- Launch Holiday Sales calendar, Gift guides to help your customers choosing the best proximate gift for their loved ones.
- Offer them newsletter & press releases so that they could get more connected with your idea.
7. Enhance Checkout Process
Don’t let your customers left out your check out page due to a complex procedure during the holiday sale. It sometimes happens that customers leave your site without purchasing anything as they don’t find anything relevant on your check out page.
- Eliminate excessive pages which customers have to navigate to land on check out page.
- Include easy digital payment options like PayPal & also credit card logos.
- Attach checkout buttons on both top & bottom of your page.
- Enable your customer to complete their checkout process & make an order after then they should be required to make their account.
- Optimize your conversion rates & convert your abandon carts into easy reminders.
8. Be ready with Superfluous Server & Back-Up Plans
During Holiday sales, assure your site with redundant servers & back up plans so that in case whenever anything goes wrong, you are able to restore your important aspects with the help of them. Program a session to make all your staff members aware of how to act at the time of contingency.
Therefore, it’s better to advance this planning before facing any such situation in your holiday sale plan.
9. Pace up with Email Marketing
Holiday sales are the best time to pace up your sales through email marketing. If you have a huge collection of analytics of your current customer’s tastes & preferences as well as new leads related to holiday season sale, then start communicating with them through emails regarding your new holiday sales launches.
Replace your sidebars with popups as it was found out that popups can enhance your email signups by at least 1,345 percent as compared to sidebars.
Email holiday special newsletter & convinced them with your new loyalty reward programs. Never ever forget to inculcate a sense of urgency in your emails regarding the sale of your product. This can be done by specifying a particular deadline of your sale & strong CTAs.
Assist your customers with sales discount on your products in return of subscribing your emails. Black Friday & Cyber Monday, Both are such days who attract a maximum of their sales through email marketing only.
10. Evaluate your Sales Progress
Now since you have done all the efforts to produce the best of your online store for the retail holiday sales, you need to keep a continuous evaluation of all your plan whether it is working in a right direction or not.
Google Analytics, yes this is one of the essential tools which will help you to track the traffic of your website & promotional campaigns too. You can assess how much is the views of your blogs, product pages, click-rates, advertising ROI, social networking sites and interactions per pages visits etc.
Therefore, tracking your sales progress will make a complete blueprint to start your next holiday sales plan.
Its never too late to begin a work!
Yes, the holiday season is just on the door & in this scenario of cut-throat competition, there is still much time left to scale up your sales for the upcoming list of holidays. Halloweens, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, these speculative days are there which can turn your sales target easily achievable.
Remember! The more you prepare in advance, the easy will be your Holiday sales. Enhance your check out process, include backup plans, focus your promotions through email marketing, define easy return & shipping policies and try to ensure more traffic to your website. After all, no days are better than festive holidays to have a special connection with your customers.
How you have prepared your online store for this holiday season sale? Share your comments now!!