The holidays are here—is your business ready?
As an eCommerce business, you need to take steps to prepare for the busy shopping season. If you don’t, you may find yourself frustrated with technical issues or lose potential sales due to poor planning and service.
Instead, you want to create an enjoyable, smooth process for your customers while handling the extra transactions with ease.
Here are some effective holiday planning tips eCommerce businesses can take to prepare for the holidays.
11 Tips for eCommerce Business Tips for the Holidays
The goal of these holiday planning tips is to make the shopping season enjoyable and painless—for both your customers and your team!
Our holiday planning tips are broken into three main categories: website optimization, customer service, and administrative planning.
One of the most important things to do is prepare your website for an influx of purchases during the busy shopping season. This is a way you can capture higher sales revenue and mitigate customer frustration because of technical difficulties.
1. Do a surge test
A surge test ensures your payment gateways and other features will work with a higher-than-normal sales volume. You’ll want to ensure your website hosting platform is up-to-date and has a high enough capacity for your expected volume. This guide lists speed and other tests you can run to check surge capacity.
2. Optimize website UX
The user experience (UX) is important when it comes to online shopping. Your website should look good and be easy to navigate. You’ll also want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly since many people shop from their phones—8% of all retail transactions are made via smartphones, and this number is set to double by 2025. Further, mobile-friendly websites rank higher in Google, so it can increase your visibility.
3. Update product photos
People buy with their eyes. High-quality, updated product photos are an important way to capture prospective customers' attention. Images are so important that only 11% of retail items were sold without one, compared to 88% that sere sold after an image was added. With your images, ensure they are consistent across your platform and match your company’s style and brand.
4. Use cart abandonment notifications
As people are shopping for the holidays, they may look at a few companies for different options. If they leave your website with a cart full of items, a pop-up notification or email can remind them to go back and make the purchase. This method has a 17.12% conversion rate for cart abandonment pop-ups, and emails have a 9.5% click rate.
It’s not enough to just have a good website. You need to back it up with excellent customer service. Again, with a busy shopping season and higher sales volume, you’ll want to take some steps to prepare in advance.
5. Use an omnichannel strategy
There are so many ways for businesses and customers to interact today—live chat, email marketing, social media, phone, print media, and more. Omnichannel communication is a strategy that allows customers to seamlessly engage with a company across all channels or platforms.
In practice, this might look like using social media, email marketing, and mail flyers to promote products and special holiday deals. Or, customers can reach out to you via social media direct message, live chat, phone, email, or in-person.
6. Make returns easy
With increased sales volume comes increased returns. You need to be prepared to handle them and make it a painless experience for your customers. You may want to consider extending timeframes over the holidays as a courtesy to your customers. Make sure you have a clear and easy-to-understand return policy to avoid unnecessary confusion.
One simple way to make returns easy is to choose the right packaging, such as our re-sealable poly mailers that let customers use the same package to return their product.
7. Create a memorable experience
With more people shopping at your eCommerce store during the holidays, you have a chance to gain more loyal customers. Do this by surprising and delighting them with an exciting holiday-themed unboxing experience. You can customize your packaging with our in-house custom design team so it makes an impact.
8. Offer holiday discounts
There’s no way around it—people love and expect deals around the holidays. Whether you align them with big shopping days like Boxing Day, or just offer a general holiday promotion, consider how you can capture prospective customers by offering something special during this time.
The last big step you can take to prepare your eCommerce business for the holidays is to tighten up your administrative and operational processes.
9. Pre-order in bulk
The last thing you want is to run out of essential supplies like shipping materials in the middle of the holidays. By pre-ordering your shipping boxes, mailer boxes, or other supplies in bulk, you can benefit from economies of scale while ensuring you always have what you need.
Our innovative warehousing solutions at NSS allow you to take advantage of bulk purchases, even if you don’t have the storage space in your own facility.
10. Solidify your logistics systems
The pandemic caused many supply chain challenges that are still ongoing. It’s important that you stay on top of your logistics processes from order tracking, statuses, and delivery timelines. You may want to audit your systems to safeguard your supply chain and check in with your vendors and suppliers for relevant updates.
11. Manage your staff team
Higher sales volume, increased returns, and potential logistics challenges—you need your team during the holidays! Part of planning for the holidays means looking at your staff team, ensuring you have enough coverage, and clearly communicating expectations during the holiday season.
You need to strike the balance of having enough support while giving people time off during the holidays, so take some time to look at staffing in advance of the busy season.
The holidays can be an exciting season for your eCommerce business, as you’ll likely see increased sales revenue and an expanding customer base.
But if you aren’t prepared, you may struggle with technical issues or frustrated customers.
Take some time to consider how to best prepare for the busy season by following these effective tips for eCommerce businesses. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the holidays!