Holiday Store Prep Checklist
This holiday shopping season is going to be completely different compared to previous years. Since March, ecommerce businesses have steadily seen growth. With more & more buyers going online for products, this holiday season is going to see shopping through a different lens. Online stores are going to be the main source of gift buying for the holiday season. We’ve created this list to make sure you’re ready & to help you prepare your store.
Evaluate Your Store
- Ease of Navigation – Before the holiday shopping season begins, you will want to send time navigating your own website to make sure it is running smoothly & optimally. Your site should be easy to navigate quickly and without confusion. If your site takes more than 4 seconds to load, 1 in 4 people will leave & won’t return.
- Product Info & Images – All of your products should have accurate & detailed descriptions. Many shoppers will be buying christmas gifts online since physical businesses are closed or have limited customer capacities by law. Buyers will expect to have a clear picture in their mind of the product they will be receiving in the mail. Your pictures should be taken from multiple angles, in bright but indirect natural lighting. High quality pictures & product descriptions are often what makes a customer decide to choose your item.
- Checkout Page – There are some upgrades you can make to your checkout page that will encourage customers to buy your products. You should start by consolidating the checkout process & ensuring all the fields that your customers need to fill out display on one page. This makes the process quick & easy, reducing the likelihood that your customer gives up halfway through the checkout process. You should also allow customers to checkout as a guest. Having to fill out extra account info – especially during a first time buy – interrupts the process. Finally, you can give customers a little boost during the buying experience by adding Free Shipping Bar. This Shopify app motivates customers with progressive messaging whenever more items are added to their cart.
- Customer Service – The holiday shopping season can be very stressful on buyers. In order to properly assist anyone who might have a question or issue, you should have 24/7 customer support or implement a live chat feature on your site. Your contact information should also be included where it can be easily accessed. The faster response time, the happier your customer will be. After each purchase is received, ask the customer to fill out a survey or rate their purchases so you can hear feedback about your business & improve for the future.
Get in the Holiday Spirit
Get yourself & your customers in the holiday shopping spirit by littering your website with Christmas-themed graphics. These can be simple pop-ups, a holiday themed version of your logo, or a whole website theme that has a holiday vibe. You should also include any holiday products on your website before the shopping season starts. This way customers can begin to plan what they want to buy from your store.
To assist customers keep track of items they plan to buy as gifts, you can include a wishlist within your online store. This is a certain page of your store site that holds items a customer wants & makes it easy to be found once the customer returns. Besides keeping track of their own gift plans, your customers can use this feature to share their own favorite items with friends or family. This makes it easy for someone else to pick a present for your customer because your customer has already done the job of selecting the items they love.
Plan Your Promotions
Plan out your promotions ahead of your holiday shopping season schedule. The holiday season covers multiple weeks so you have plenty of time to implement some of these different promotions options.
- Free Shipping – Not much needs to be said here. Everyone loves free shipping & it makes customers more likely to complete a purchase. In fact, customers are more likely to increase their cart values when offered free shipping over a pre-determined purchase amount.
- Giveaways – Giveaways are an easy way to gain more customers through social media. Many businesses do giveaways where they ask followers to share a post on their story in order to be entered into the drawing. The more the post is shared, the more potential customers are going to be exposed to your shop & all you have to do is create a giveaway people are willing to work for. Whether you’re giving away a one-of-a-kind design or a $100 gift card, giveaways can help you increase your visibility on social media.
- Reward or Loyalty Programs – Creating rewards or a loyalty program for repeat buyers helps create long-term customers. Customers can use their saved up points on future purchases throughout the year. With these strategies, a customer earns points every time they make a purchase, & when they save it makes ‘em feel good.
- Flash Sale – This promotion can be used when it is coming down to the wire on Christmas shopping. For the final day of your Christmas shopping deadline, it can help push wary buyers to purchase your items if you have a flash sale on your whole site. You can also capture repeat buyers by sending out an email or text to your previous customers as they could have previously found a product the sale will push them towards purchasing.
Once you have your promotions decided, it is time to plan how you’re going to advertise. Before the holiday season rolls around you will want to have your advertisements prepared. Holiday shopping can get hectic & overwhelming so it can be helpful to get this ready beforehand. You should be including advertisements that cover every popular shopping date. These should include ads targeting Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & the final weeks before Christmas.
You should be advertising your business by posting on social media & by using paid Facebook, Instagram, or Google ads. Social media posts are a great way to advertise your products because they are completely free. You can ask friends & family members to help spread the word by sharing your products on their own page. Facebook, Instagram, & Google all charge for their ads, but they allow you the opportunity to reach a large market.
Send Out Reminders
Sending out reminders to your current & future customers about new products or deals is key when it comes to making sales.
- Social Media – You should always be posting new products or deals on your social media pages. These platforms make it easy to share this information with friends, family, and existing fans of your brand. Posts can be scheduled for the future to help with planning by using services like Later.com or HootSuite. Scheduling tools can free you up to be more agile when responding to any needs that arise as it gets down to crunch time during the holiday season.
- Emails – Start by sending out an email to let your existing customers know you are going to be having upcoming sales on your website. Once you start getting closer to the holiday shopping season, continually update your emails to get your customer excited. Once the sales have begun, send out an email to let your customers know, & send another when the sale is almost over for one last reminder.
- Text Messages – Texts are another great way to keep existing customers in the loop about upcoming promotions. You can also set up an option on your website for new customers to input their phone number allowing them to receive future updates about holiday promotions.
- Deadlines – When we begin to near the end of the holiday shopping season it is a good idea to send out one last reminder for sales & discounts. There will always be people looking for a last minute gift and these reminders can help you complete last minute sales.
Without preparation, the holiday season can become dark, scary, & overwhelming. But the good news is — it doesn’t have to be! Prepare correctly & you will have little to no worries this season.