How To Prep For The Holiday Shopping Season
The holiday season can be one of the most profitable times for your company. Each year, customers seem to get ready for the holidays earlier and earlier, and this year is no exception. With customers already starting their holiday countdowns, it is important to make sure that your store is prepared for the increase in customers and sales. By starting to spend an hour or two a day now, you will avoid stress and maintain your excellent customer service. To help prepare for your traffic and sales, here are some tips and strategies to use.
Make a plan: Before you blindly start your holiday prep, think about what changes your website needs, as well as what areas are good to go. Write out your categories and subcategories, plan sales or specials you might want to offer, and decide if you want to give your website a temporary holiday makeover. Some companies choose to add in a special holiday section to their website, while others continue to keep their categories the same. Research how your company did last year, compare yourself to your competitors, and use that information to help you plan to succeed even further this year.
Set goals: Setting goals is a great way to help you accomplish what you set out to do. A good way to go about this is to set your end goal, and then work your way back to how you will accomplish this. For example, if you end goal is to increase sales by 10% this year, narrow down your steps to achievable tasks. You will want to look into how you did last year, and then possibly compare what products did the best, what deals you ran, what products you would like to promote this year, and how to do that. By working backwards you will break down your work so it is easy to accomplish before the holidays, while keeping up with your normal workload. Make sure you plan your goals so you stay on the time frame you create.
Prepare for traffic: Although the holidays are thought of as a joyful time, it is easy for customers and businesses to get stressed and overwhelmed if websites are not prepared for an influx of traffic. Make sure to keep an extra close eye on your website during the busy season to make sure it is still up and running, and has not crashed with an overwhelming amount of visitors. Before the holidays, check your website speed to see how quickly it loads. Tools such as Website Grader can help you see where you are strong, and where your website needs improvement. Doing this early on will save you headache and loss of sales when the holiday season approaches. Don’t forget to ensure that you are optimized for mobile as well, as many customers will shop from their phones while on the go. If you do not have an app, make the mobile version of your website strong and reliable.
Consider special order and return policies: You know customers are going to be spending more money than usual around the holidays, so eliminate as many obstacles as you can to encourage customers to order from you, rather than a competitor. Offer special holiday prices, such as free shipping on any order, or an extended return policy. This will make customers less hesitant to purchase from you, and encourage them to place their order right away rather than waiting. Especially for products such as clothing that require a certain size, customers get nervous about not being able to return or exchange a product that their loved one might not be able to use as they intended. Offering these deals can help boost your sales, as well as your customer retention and satisfaction.
Create a marketing campaign: Creating a holiday marketing campaign can help your business stand out during one of the busiest times of the year. While your campaign does not need to be a stressful, all-consuming project, it is helpful to remind customers that you have a great product they might like to share with your loved ones, or peak the interest of someone who might have considered you in the past but held off. The holidays are a great time to try an emotional marketing campaign, as many audiences take that season as a time to reflect on what they are thankful for and how they can help others. Incorporate all of your social media channels for maximum results.
Planning for the holidays now will ensure that you have a well thought out campaign, up to date website, and stress-free holiday season. Although it seems as though summer just ended and the holidays are far off still, you can never be too prepared. Start your holiday planning now to tackle the busy season with ease and confidence.