Do it today: Prep your online store for the holiday season

Prep your online store

Oh dear me - October is already here and I have started seeing and hearing Christmas cheer all around - jingle bells, tinsel, and “I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas” getting stuck in my head and my incessant humming is harming those around me..

Christmas isn't even close, or is it? For those who have an online store, there is no such thing as “too early” when it comes to the biggest shopping and profitable weeks of the year.

Back in September we wrote about how content strategy matters especially for the holidays! And even earlier, in August, how to capitalize on the holidays, that does seem a little premature. And although we know in the back of our minds that as a consumer we can procrastinate buying gifts till the day before, even the biggest procrastinator has done some research online for the products they will buy. And hopefully, it will be your products.

Some numbers coming your way to back up the holiday prep craze:

  • 20-40 percent of yearly sales are in the last two months of the year.
  • This study shows that this increase is especially impactful on smaller or medium retailers.
  • 17.2 percent increase in holiday e-commerce sales in 2016, with consumers taking to the web earlier than ever to start their shopping.

All these numbers should scream at you to start getting your online store ready now! If you want to wait until winter comes, got some news for you - it is here! Here are the things you need to be doing now if you have not already done them.

Tip n°1 : Create new content

Creating pertinent and useful content takes time- so when the holiday rush begins - you may be too busy to do what you want. So do it now and schedule your posts for the date you are ready. This is easy to do with the emyspot website builder so don't wait until the 11th hour.

If wondering what you should be working ahead on - everything. Email marketing, banners, Christmas product specials, blog articles, social media posts, and landing pages for your promotions. Want more information about the content I direct you to read this article about content strategy for the holidays.

Tip n°2 : Get your product pages on point

Want your products to shine brighter than the north star. We recently wrote this article of 6 tips to better your product page and to apply as soon as possible. Remember the importance of good product photos, but all photos. If images are low-res, weird lighting, dissimilar, taken on a phone, please please please up your game. Brush up on your photography skills or hire a professional.

Or go further and create videos and perfect your product pages. Convert your sales with strong images, strong content, and all the details your consumer will need. Most importantly be reactive. Let your customers comment, ask questions, and don't hesitate to respond back. Your product pages are a key selling point, so let them shine.

Tip n°3 : Test your website

Over the holidays your website will be used more thoroughly and you need to make sure your website is up to snuff. Mqke sure your wones are correctly configured; that your carriers are all correct, and that what you promise your online customers is doable. Optimize your images, clear up your database, mqke sure you have a responsibe theme, and you should be able to give your custolers what they are looking for.

Now is also a good time to test your website’s loading speed. 47 percent of potential consumers expect your site to load under two seconds. Test it out: Connect your website to Google analytics which can give you insight about your load time and key insights to your site visitors.

Tip n°4 : Check you can supply as promised

Estimate the stock you need to meet with the orders you will recieve. Look at past years to determine how many you might need and don't hesitate to listen to your intuition. You know your products and you know your customers. Be sure to prepare for the both.

Take a look at last year's analytics. How many orders did you receive? What was a popular product? Did you have any flops? Be sure to think about the trends of your products and industry. Follow trends on social media and google trends. With a better idea of what you need, be sure you can supply it.

Tip n°5 : Get shipping sorted

While great to have that ;“free overnight shipping” guarantee or that "Christmas rush delivery" banner on your website, be sure that this is a reality that your shipping provider can handle. Follow-up and go back and look if they have performed in the past. This can be the difference from a dissatisfied customer and a repeat customer.

Don't be afraid to show your shipping delays, heck, show them with pride so that your customers know and have confidence buying from you, and not someone else. Remind your customers at every point of the process about guaranteed delivery dates, not in a tacky in your face way, but be clear and comforting. Late delivery can ruin the holidays and your online store's reputation. So up you conversions and ensure your shipping is on point, and if not find someone new! There are apps for that

To wrap it up

Do you see the pun - as you can offer gift wrapping on your online store - wrap it. I understand it's early yet when it comes to the holidays you need to start prepping. Christmas is only 9 weeks away. 

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