It’s a little hard to believe, isn’t it?
The holiday shopping madness isn’t that far away.
But maybe it hasn’t quite sunk in for you yet. After all, you still have the rest of the summer to go through.
And depending on the market you serve, summer might mean a very busy time of the year for you. Then there’s September and the back to school madness. And only once that’s over you can start thinking about Christmas, right?
In fact, most of your competitors have probably already started getting ready for it. At least according to Experian claiming that as many as 70% of stores begin their holiday season preparations in August. And 18% start as early as June.
In other words, this is the time to start. And here are 7 things you need to begin your preparations with.
It’s undeniable: the holiday season is synonymous with deals and promotions.
According to research conducted by Experian, only 28% of stores offer no incentives to buy during the busiest shopping time of the year.
The rest will try to entice visitors to buy from them by offering:
But here’s the catch:
No matter what promotion you’re going to offer, you need to make sure that you can afford it in the first place.
It’s easy to offer free shipping on every purchase. But if the cost of shipping exceeds your profit margin, you’re going to find yourself in a very dangerous position – losing money.
So start planning your promotions now and carefully calculate their feasibility.
The holiday shopping madness will also mean an increase of traffic to your site.
New visitors will arrive at your virtual doorstep searching for gifts for their families, friends or co-workers. And to be able to serve them all you need to ensure that your server and related technology is ready to accept all these new people.
Talk to your hosting provider. Find out what’s your current average bandwidth usage and what is the server’s monthly limit. You’re probably not reaching the limit now. But with the surge in traffic during the holidays, you might exceed it. And nothing would be worse than your store becoming inaccessible due to exceeded bandwidth.
This is something you should do regardless of the time of the year. But it becomes especially important during the holidays.
During the shopping season customers will be jumping from one store to another like crazy.
Some will do it to find a better deal. Others, trying to find a store they’d trust to buy from.
And you can help them pick you by clearly communicating what makes you different from your competitors.
But given that customers will not spend much time looking for this information, you need to ensure that it’s clearly visible to them right away.
Here are some suggestions as to what you should focus on:
Another thing to do on the site is launching dedicated holiday season landing pages.
Landing pages are ideal to attracting highly targeted organic traffic. But, they can also help you hype up your audience for the upcoming deals and other goodies you may have in store for them.
So create Black Friday and Holiday Shopping landing pages. Mention what deals you’re going to offer and hint at anything else you’re preparing for them.
Also, make sure that the page includes:
When looking for gifts, your customers will often turn to Google and other search engines for suggestions. And that’s a great opportunity to intercept them at a time when they are entering the buying mood.
How? By posting shopping guides to help them decide what to buy.
For instance, start posting such blog posts as:
Use them to promote the products you sell. Let customers know that they are the very gifts they should be buying.
But why post this now? For one, because SEO takes time. It will take at least a couple of weeks before your content ranks high enough to attract qualified traffic. So the earlier you start, the greater your chance is to intercept these searchers.
Last minute shopping isn’t’ something that unusual during the holiday season.
Even though customers spend so much time researching products to buy, they will often stall on making the purchase. And then try to have the products shipped to them at a last minute.
And I’m sure you’ve experienced their reaction when told that’s not going to happen before.
So prepare for this by researching and updating your shipping information:
Let’s not beat around the bush about it:
That holiday season traffic doesn’t happen by itself.
You will have to actively promote your store to attract visitors to the site. And given the amount of competition out there, you will have to invest significant amount of money in the process.
But there’s something to fight for:
According to Search Engine Watch, thee number of clicks on Ecommerce stores PPC ads nearly doubles during the Thanksgiving weekend alone. And I can assume it only goes up in the following weeks until Christmas.
So as a last task for now, calculate your budget. Decide how much money you could devote to marketing during the shopping season.
The biggest retail event of the year is coming near. The majority of stores have already began preparing for it and so should you.