Preparing Your eCommerce Website For The Holidays
Preparing for the holidays is a major time for many retailers, some of which might make a majority of their revenue in just the final few months of the year. That means preparing ahead of time in order to maximize your online revenue is crucial to getting the most of the final months of the year. Here is a quick list of some basic things you can do to get ready for the holiday eCommerce time crunch.
Get Ready for Traffic Spikes:
Traffic can get insane for many retailers during the holidays and if you are not prepared you could get swamped with too many orders and traffic volume taking your entire site down. Make sure you have cloud hosting that can scale or a hosting package that is ready to handle large increases in traffic volume.
Plan Your Promotions in Advance:
Offering competitive and useful promotions during the holidays can be the difference between an average holiday season and an amazing holiday season. If you plan your promotions well in advance you can be prepared to implement them seamlessly and take on those special orders rather than scrambling to get them in place.
Segment Your Emails:
Emailing the same thing to all your customers is not necessarily a great idea for certain promotions or updates about your business. Make sure you have your emails segmented so you can send new customers certain promotions and existing customers other promotions.
Send More Emails:
People expect more deals and emails during the holidays. Don’t be afraid to send more emails than average during the holidays. As long as you can provide a unique twist on your emails so that you are not flooding customers with the same email over and over, you should be fine sending out more emails than usual during the buy happy seasons.
Unless you are Amazon, Walmart, or another major retailer that simply wins by having a huge catalog and amazing shipping deals, you have to get creative. Social media is the best way to creatively promote your business to millions of people at a reasonable cost. There is no other medium that can literally reach billions of people at such an incredible value.
You have to build a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the other social platforms that are relevant to your industry and niche.
Simply posting content is not enough, you need to run promotions, contests, videos, and spend money on social media advertisements!
Ship Fast & On Time:
Shipping is critical during the holidays. No one wants to get their presents or gifts after the fact and not be ready for the holidays. Make sure you have high quality fast shipping options that deliver on time. If you can get the shipping costs down to zero for your customers even better.
Research suggests free shipping is even more powerful in bringing new sales than fast shipping.
Check your Analytics:
Look at past years analytics during the holiday seasons and see what type of trends were occurring. You may be surprised by what sold well and what did not. You can build your promotions and strategy around last years data rather than shooting in the dark.
Fix all Bugs!:
I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a site that had an obvious bug or issue with checkout, UI / UX, or some other issue. Make sure your site is ready to go on all fronts for the holidays and has no glaring issues or bugs.
Invest in UI / UX:
Make sure you have done everything you can do to make your site user friendly and easy to shop around. Having your attributes setup properly for filtering on category pages, an easy checkout process, quality search, and anything else that will improve the purchasing experience should be as up to date as possible before the holiday season.
Have Your Customer Service On Point:
Customers can get grumpy during the holidays. Make sure you have easy to access and quality customer service available to ensure your customers are happy at all times during the holiday. Expect heavy increases in email and call volume.