How to Prepare Your eCommerce Site for Its First Holiday Season
With today's selection of platforms, suppliers, and opportunities, almost anyone with determination and resources can get into eCommerce, but few are new online retail brands are prepared for the true crush of the holiday season.
The fact of the matter is that online retail is the new shopping mall and even little stores get a massive increase in traffic as people scour the internet for the perfect gifts intended for their friends and family. Then there's the increase in people shopping purely for themselves and their homes during the season of fantastic holiday discounts. This all comes together to an impressive increase in demand for online products. The only question is:
Is your eCommerce website ready?
Do You Have the Goods?
First and foremost remember that when orders start coming in, there will be little reprieve for recovery and restock. Make sure you have plenty of the items you plan to sell over the holidays. Get in contact with your suppliers and fulfillment partners and top up your stocks, then make sure they understand that you may need to call on them for quick resupply throughout the season. Set your reorder points early to give yourself restock time and avoid the possibility of backorders.
Save the Dates
The holidays are more than just the rush to buy Christmas gifts, it's the entire expanse between Halloween and New Years where people are ramping up for a mid-winter celebration. You should have your calendar ready with all the relevant dates not only where business might pick up but when you should be holding special promotions. Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are the obvious picks, but there are also special retail holidays like Free Shipping Day where online retailers come together to offer shipping deals and Green Monday, often celebrated as the last day where standard shipping can make it before December 25.
Update Your Website
Imagine the thousands of new customers about to visit your website like distant family members who will soon be inspecting your home. That's right, it's time to tidy up. Take a thorough look around your website and think of ways to give yourself a festive, competitive edge. If any of your item images are small, grainy, or badly lit, take new ones that are big, colorful, and enticing. Now is also a great time to prepare a few holiday themes to be deployed as each progressive holiday rolls around.
Prepare Festive Promotions
Every holiday should be announced, decorated for, and celebrated with a promotion. Featured items on your landing page will help customers find what you have on sale and would like to see leave your shelves. This is also the perfect time to offer gift ideas and offer early gift-wrapped shipping. Keep those snowmen handy even in October for people who want to get their gift purchases done relatively early in the year.
Reinforce Your Web Portal
The final step in preparing any eCommerce store for the holidays is to ensure that your website is ready for the massive increase in traffic. If you are working mainly through one of the big names like Ebay, Etsy, or Amazon, your store should be well taken care of but if you host your own website, it's time to speak with your IT team about extra resources, availability monitoring, and better security for the holiday season. You may also want to look into ensuring your website is up to speed, as ever millisecond counts with impatient online shoppers.
The holidays may seem like a long way away but in retail, it's never too early to start preparing. With fall already upon is, it's more than time to polish your site, prepare for heavy traffic, and put together your holiday promotions.
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