Let's face it, 2020 has been one scary global rollercoaster ride, and (finally) going into Q4, we're all glad it's almost over. For ecommerce and even brick and mortar enterprises, these last few months translate to the busiest season of the year. Ecommerce businesses, to be precise, should expect a boom in traffic this holiday season, as most consumers are still wary of Covid-19 and will likely do their shopping online. So, how ready is your ecommerce business for 2020's holiday season? Not quite sure? Here's a last-minute holiday prep checklist for ecommerce sales to ensure you're ready to end the year on top.
1. Prep Your Inventory
Ecommerce sales in May 2020 alone exceeded ecommerce sales during 2019's holiday shopping season. As this holiday season approaches, ecommerce will keep consumers safe while allowing them the luxury to enjoy products from their favorite brands. One way to stay ready and maximize on the potential boom ahead is to prep your inventory now. You can't afford to run out of your customers' favorite products when they need them the most. So, review 2019's holiday sales data to identify your fast-moving inventory. Based on your analysis, run the numbers, stock high-demand inventory, and have your suppliers on standby to restock quickly in the event you run out.
2. Create a Social Media Calendar
With so much happening (Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Eve, New Year Sales), it can be challenging to stay on top of your social media marketing strategies. That is why you need to create a social media calendar as soon as now. A well laid out social media calendar allows your channels to remain a reliable source of up to date information for current and prospective clients. Additionally, planning your upcoming posts in a social media calendar helps ensure:
- You publish relevant content
- You never forget to post
- You develop a consistent brand voice
3. Prepare Your Team
You'll need all hands on deck this holiday season, so start getting your employees ready. Review your operational strategies, assign tasks, and do whatever is necessary to ensure every employee on your team fully understands what is needed to deliver a top-tier customer experience.
4. Staff the Temps Early
While the imminent ecommerce holiday boom is much welcomed, it means more customer service calls, more orders to fulfill, and generally, more work on your part. You cannot afford to be short-handed during this busy time. If you need more help, begin working with recruitment agencies now to find temps for the upcoming season. Finding temps early gives you a chance to get the cream of the crop (and not have to settle) before they're all hired out by your competition. It also gives you enough time to train them for the holiday push.
5. Distribute Campaign Emails and Newsletters
Email marketing is very much alive, and there's no better time to use this strategy than the holidays. Send out personalized emails and newsletters to your customers to wish them a happy holiday and make it even more enticing by adding a coupon code.
For instance, Halloween is the first major holiday of the last three months of the year. Sending out an email or newsletter with fun, timely content while informing them of an upcoming Halloween sale will go a long way in increasing sales and creating a positive customer experience.
6. Incentivize Holiday Shopping by Planning Your Promotions Early
We all love a good discount. Current and potential customers are more likely to place that order when you offer a coupon, a discount, a gift card, or free shipping on your products this holiday. Remember, holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday revolve around very competitive offers. Start planning your promotions around these popular holiday dates and spread the word as early as possible for a successful sale.
7. Organize for Holiday Packaging
Customers love to work with businesses that go all out on holidays to make shopping extra special. You want to be one of those businesses this holiday season, and to achieve this, you need to set the holiday mood by ensuring that everything about your business ushers the holiday spirit. Consider changing the theme of your site, so it aligns with the upcoming holiday, and even looking into customizing your packaging for the holidays. Start organizing for this type of packaging now, so it can be ready by the time that holiday shipping is in full effect.
8. Get Your Site Ready to Bring on the Traffic
The higher the traffic and lead conversion you get, the higher your site is likely to crash or experience errors. Unfortunately, when this happens, buyers don't consider the technical aspects; they only think of your site as inefficient, and quickly turn to your competition.
The good news is that this is avoidable if you get your site ready for increased holiday traffic. Have your IT team optimize it for both mobile and PC shoppers, create a visual search interface, test load times, simplify the checkout process, and expand your sales channels. This may also be a great time to enhance customer access to your support team through live chats.
9. Review Your Returns and Exchange Policies
92% of online buyers say they'll shop with the same ecommerce business again if the return or exchange process is easy. Now is the time to review your holiday sales returns and exchange policies. You want them to be friendly, but again, not too friendly as to cause you a loss in profits. Create reasonable policies and ensure your returns and exchange portal can accommodate all the requests that'll be made during the holiday without crashing. If possible, work with a reliable return management partner to ease the process.
10. Humanize Your Business
Although purchasing products online can be very impersonal, customers don't want to feel as if they're buying from a robot. They want online services with a humanized touch. One way to humanize your business is by sharing photos and videos of your team at work behind the scenes. Show the faces of the people making the magic happen for the holidays! In other words, show them there's a human team behind your brand and behind their holiday orders.
Let the Experts Handle Order Fulfilment
With so much on your hands, the last thing you need is disgruntled buyers complaining about late, damaged, or lost orders. Save yourself the stress by outsourcing order fulfillment to our experts. Rakuten Super Logistics will help you set yourself up for success by checking order fulfillment off your 2020 ecommerce holiday checklist. Get in touch with our friendly sales team today for an obligation-free consultation.