Holiday sales can be the most lucrative for many business owners, especially if you run an online store. In fact, according to a variety of statistics, in 2018, holiday shopping via eCommerce is projected to increase 15.3 percent compared to the previous year.
But, if you want to make sure you get the most out of 2018 holiday sales, you need to prepare your online store first.
In this post, we’ll share tips for getting your online store ready for holiday sales that will help you boost conversions and improve customer satisfaction.
11 steps to prepare for 2018 holiday sales
Take the following steps to get your eCommerce shop in tip-top shape before this season’s holiday sales rush hits:
Make a plan.
Test your website performance.
Sort out your inventory.
Review your shipping and return policies.
Make sure your site is up to date.
Prepare marketing materials.
Add bonus surprises and gift cards.
Offer free shipping or guaranteed delivery date.
Add an exit-intent opt-in form.
Make sure you have trust signals.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
1. Make a plan
The first step is to make a plan and decide which holidays/shopping days you’ll participate in. Starting with Halloween, there are a number of holidays in the last quarter of the year and trying to participate in all of them might leave you feeling overwhelmed and burned out.
Consider using your store analytics to see which holidays made the most impact on your profit in previous years to give you a starting point.
However, make sure to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday as those two are the biggest sales days of the year for any business.
2. Test your website performance
You’ll need to test your website’s performance ahead of holiday sales and ensure it can handle an increase in traffic. You’ll also want to make sure your store loads fast to avoid losing customers.
If you notice poor results, it might be time to upgrade your hosting plan.
3. Optimize checkout
A long and complicated checkout process can contribute to a high cart abandonment rate. Before holiday sales, take some time to optimize your checkout page. Here are a few tips that will help you out:
Implement a one-page checkout. Consider reducing the number of steps needed to complete the purchase and consolidating them to a single page.
Add a progress bar. Clearly show how many steps are left in the checkout process with a progress bar at the top of the page
Allow guest checkout. Consider allowing guest checkout during the holiday season to make sure no customer leaves your store because they can’t complete the purchase without making an account
Add alternative payment methods. While credit cards are the most common form of payment, add alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet or even Bitcoin to accommodate shoppers who aren’t comfortable handing out their credit card information online
4. Sort out your inventory
Next, you’ll want to go through your inventory and make sure that your most popular products are in stock. You can also group those products together on your home page by creating a special category called Best Sellers and promote it on social media. Be sure to also stock up on any items you’re currently selling so you don’t run out of stock during holiday sales.
5. Review your shipping and return policies
Review your shipping and return policies and make sure they are up to date. It’s also a good idea to assess your shipping providers and make any necessary changes well in advance to ensure a smooth and timely product delivery during holidays sales . This will help you avoid unsatisfied buyers and potential negative reviews.
6. Make sure your site is up to date
Go through your site and check that all content is still relevant and up to date. If you’re no longer selling an item, remove it from your store listings and archive those product pages. Check the information on your About page, ensure your contact information is current, and update the year in the footer of your site.
7. Prepare marketing materials
No matter how much time you spend planning and preparing your store for holiday sales, it won’t make much of a difference if you don’t plan your marketing strategy as well. Make a plan for your holiday sales promotion, prepare graphics and social media posts as well as any additional content that you will post that will help you drive traffic to your site.
8. Add bonus surprises and gift cards
Consider adding incentives for your buyers like a bonus product for free when they spend a certain amount or giving them a discount for buying from a certain category. You can also add gift cards to accommodate late buyers and allow them to purchase a gift that will be instantly delivered to their loved ones.
9. Offer free shipping or guaranteed delivery date
Getting products delivered on time is crucial when it comes to holiday shopping. As such, you’ll want to ensure that everybody knows the latest date an order can get shipped out so it can arrive before the holidays.
10. Add an exit-intent opt-in form
We all know having an email list is crucial for any business owner as it allows you to stay in touch with your customers and notify them about special deals and promotions. Add an exit-intent opt-in form that will show up when a visitor is about to abandon your site and offer them a 10-discount discount for signing up.
11. Make sure you have trust signals
Lastly, make sure you have trust signals installed on your site. This includes:
- An SSL certificate
- Customer reviews or testimonials
- Trust badges such as Norton Secure, Verisign, or TrustE
This will help visitors feel safe and ensure them that their sensitive information will not be compromised, which can boost your conversion rate and improve your brand image.
Get your online store ready for holiday sales
When you take time to plan your holiday sales strategy in advance, you can see a significant increase in your overall profit as well as an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Use the tips in this article to get your online store ready for holiday sales and improve your bottom line.