The holidays will be here sooner than you think, which means it’s high time to start preparing for the holiday rush! It’s never too early to start, especially if you’ve planned to launch a particular elaborate campaign.
According to the National Retail Confederation, Americans will spend nearly $1 trillion between November and December, so it’s a good idea to make sure your e-commerce site is ready for the incoming increase in both customers and prospects. Today, we’ll break down seven ways in which you can prepare your e-commerce brand for holiday shopping and achieve maximum profits in the process.
Take a Hard Look at Last Year’s Data to Glean Insights
Since about 86% of consumers start their holiday shopping before the end of September, this is the best time to look at last year’s holiday shopping data to make sure you tailor your e-commerce site and customer experience (CX) to their tastes.
By looking at all the shopping, marketing, and customer review data from last year, you can:
- Identify areas in which your business suffered or didn’t perform up to expectations
- Figure out which products did well and which didn’t
- Combine the two insights to provide an even better shopping experience for your e-commerce customers this year
For example, if most customers favorably responded to your email newsletter sign-up process, keep it for this year! In contrast, if many customers complain about the complexity of the checkout process, it’s definitely time to take a look at the checkout page and make some adjustments.
Host Events on Social Media
Social media is a great tool for holiday marketing, and it might be a good idea to host various social media events to drum up anticipation for special offers, new product releases, and holiday shopping in general.
For example, you can host giveaways or interactive live streams to bring people to your social media pages, get new email followers, and get people excited to check out your holiday products as soon as your Black Friday or Christmas deals begin. Don’t forget to include the dates of any special deals or discounts you have on the schedule, of course.
Send Out Personalized Marketing Emails
Personalized marketing emails can be highly effective at both getting new customers to make a purchase for the first time and bringing repeat customers back again and again, especially to take advantage of unique deals tailored specifically to their interests.
Despite this, many e-commerce companies feel like their products, website copy and PPC campaigns are enough to keep them afloat. Sure, all these aspects of digital marketing matter, but they lack the personal touch that’s required to lower your response time come Thanksgiving.
One of the best methods for improving email response times involves using customers’ names in marketing emails’ headers or introductions, plus offering special coupons or discounts just for individuals. There’s no better way to make your current or former customers feel seen and valued than sending them personalized emails throughout the holiday season.
Hire More Staff (if Needed)
Don’t hesitate to hire more staff to get you through the holiday season, particularly if you don’t have enough hands on deck to fulfill orders or keep your e-commerce brand up and running.
Make sure you run regular forecasts to pinpoint when it’s the right time to look for hires. If you’re in a particular time crunch, hire a recruiter to look for candidates on LinkedIn. But whatever you do, aim to hire someone who’s a cultural fit, and not just based on skills.
Plus, these hires don’t have to be full-time. It’s possible to hire temporary staff to shore up any weaknesses in your company for a few months, then go back to a normal staff load later on. You can even take out a seasonal business loan or rely on invoice financing if you have a lot of unpaid invoices, and a need to hire seasonal staff.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile Visitors
Did you know that 2023 already saw $2.2 trillion in mobile e-commerce sales? That’s a whopping 60% of all sales, and perhaps the biggest reason why your site should be optimized for smartphones. It needs to be easy to navigate and load quickly, even on older devices. Also, be sure to test your site yourself to see how long it takes to load.
If the speed isn’t satisfactory, it can be due to an array of issues. Sometimes, it could be because the hosting service is lackluster or if the code is unoptimized. Likewise, you should go through all the pages and convert images to .jpg for faster speeds. Also, avoid using heavy frameworks and too many redirect links.
Perform Load Testing
Load testing is a great way to ensure that your website, payment gateways, and other online elements are ready to handle the incoming surge of holiday shopping traffic. It’s a process used to evaluate how a website or web application performs under a sudden increase in traffic or demand.
WebLOAD, Locust, and plenty of open-source solutions thus allow site owners to effectively try and break your site. If your platform can’t handle much traffic, maybe it’s time to scale up your hosting package.
Get Your Disaster Recovery Plan Ready
Lastly, don’t forget to create, train for, and implement a disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan involves steps and undertakings such as:
- Regular data backups: Frequent and multiple-location backups of website data and customer information.
- Disaster recovery plan documentation: A clear, detailed, and well-communicated disaster recovery strategy.
- Emergency contact list: Updated list of key contacts including team members and service providers.
- Insurance: Coverage for losses from cyberattacks, data breaches, and natural disasters provides peace of mind and a financial cushion. Make sure it’s custom-tailored for your needs, though.
- Reliable service providers: Collaborate with hosting and service vendors offering strong disaster recovery support.
Ultimately, these seven steps will do wonders for preparing your e-commerce business for the holiday rush. If you use all of them in conjunction with each other, you’ll be well-positioned to maximize your profits and attract as many new customers as possible before the year is out. In addition, if you seize the opportunity, pushing through slower periods will be easier.