When & How to Start Preparing Your Ecommerce Business for Q4
The rise of ecommerce shopping skyrocketed during the pandemic’s holiday season. Research shows ecommerce sales increased as much as 135% in Q4, 2020 alone. But seeing success in your sales cycle isn’t a guarantee. You still need to prep your ecommerce store for success to stay ahead of the curve.
Want to keep the ecommerce streak going this year & surpass your goals? Here’s when & how to plan for Q4 in your ecommerce business.
Start as Early as Possible
It’s never too early to start planning for Q4, provided you’re still hitting your goals during your previous quarters. Traditionally, the retail holiday sales period starts on October 1st & ends on December 31st. Keep in mind there are always early-bird shoppers ready to score a deal. The middle of September to early October is usually an ideal time to plan out your Q4 strategy.
Block out the time on your work calendar to focus on your marketing, sales, & inventory strategy. Consider hiring an extra set of hands or deciding what you can outsource to make more time in your business. The small investment is worth the trade-off considering how much more you can scale during the holidays with some extra help.
Study Your Analytics from Last Year
There’s no reason to roll into Q4 without a clear roadmap of where you’re headed. Pull up your ecommerce store, Google, Amazon, eBay, or Etsy analytics from last year. Which items sold well? Which items sold poorly? Which ones sold okay but could benefit from a boost of marketing effort or cross-selling?
Studying where your online traffic comes from also gives clues to what you could focus on next. You may discover you received organic traffic from specific gift guides, blog posts, or how-to videos. Studying your analytics will also show you where your hard work paid off, whether with a partnership opportunity or social media campaign.
Determine Your KPIs
You should already have KPIs for your ecommerce business, whether it’s more sign-ups to your VIP list or product sales. But you also need to set KPIs for Q4 that reflect your goals for the holiday season. Pushing more products is a no-brainer, but think ahead to big picture goals like more social media engagement, product reviews, or brand awareness & shares from influencers.
Remember to take into account your research from last year’s analytics, too. Incorporate some of those big wins or brief traffic blips that can soar with more focus & effort.
Order More Inventory
A successful Q4 means a flood of sales & spikes in traffic. You’ll need a steady flow of inventory to keep up with demand & create a positive customer experience. But dealing with stacks of merchandise, finding the additional storage space, & hiring extra hands to process it all cuts into your profit margin. There’s also no guarantee that the additional inventory will sell & might leave you on the hook financially.
Instead of producing, fulfilling, & shipping everything on your own, turn to a white-label or drop shipping service to help. CustomCat helps you create & sell custom products to build your brand. When your product sells, we fulfill & ship it on your behalf. You’re never stuck with inventory or struggling with rising overhead.
Want to try it for yourself? Read more about how our print-on-demand custom service works to help grow your business.
Make Homepage Updates
It’s no secret shoppers are in a frenzy over Q4 holiday sales, but that doesn’t mean you should sit back & wait until Black Friday rolls around. Update your homepage with teasers about upcoming sales. Releasing a new lead magnet, like a juicy coupon code in exchange for their email, also helps grow your customer list. Once Q4 comes around, you’ll have more people to market to who are eagerly awaiting your sales.
Give your homepage a refresh with sneak peeks about your Q4 product releases. Adding a countdown timer is also an engaging way to capture your costumes’ attention & raise their anticipation for your holiday launch.
Choose Your Cross-Sell & Up-Sell Strategy
If you’re not using cross-selling & up-selling techniques, you’re leaving money on the table. Studies show that cross-selling techniques could increase sales by 20% & profits by 30% or more.
The good news is both cross-selling, & up-selling, is relatively easy. Shopify’s Cross-Sell & Cart Upsell helps you both cross-sell & cart upsell by bundling products, selling more with suggestions or personalized recommendations, & showing add-ons. The idea is to offer customers similar or complementing products when they’re interested in purchasing an item. Just add it to your store, set up some parameters, & the app works for you.
Reach Out to Potential Ecommerce Partners
Why not double up your marketing & sales efforts with an ecommerce partner? The goal is to boost your sales & exposure by teaming up with a non-competitor. For example, if you sell handbags and your retail partner sells shoes or other accessories, you agree to team up to cross-sell or cross-promote each other’s items. The other shop should sell a product that compliments each other.
Plan Your Sale Days
Slashing prices is the norm on Black Friday & Cyber Monday, but when else should you strive to sell? A week-long holiday sale, pre-sale, or post-sale may also give your products the boost you want to move more inventory & earn more. Remember, you can do more than cut prices during your sale days. Offering a two-for-one deal, exclusive item, or free digital download for a printable or valuable info guide are also ways to sweeten your offer.
Set-Up Your Retargeting Ads
Maybe you put your Facebook Pixel to good use in the early days of business building, but let it all fall to the wayside. Q4 is the time to double-check your pixel is still working & get your retargeting ads set up. Make sure customers see the type of products in your Facebook ads that they browsed online to boost their affinity for your product & confidence in buying.
Update Your Gift Guides
Gift guides are an innovative & inexpensive way to snag more buyers during Q4. Whether you sell handmade ukuleles or digital downloads for scrapbook fanatics, there’s a gift guide for everyone. Here are a few ideas:
– 37 Gift Ideas for the Music Lover In Your Life
– The Complete Gift Guide for the Person Who’s Impossible to Buy For
– 22 Gift Ideas for the Woman In Your Life (But You Don’t Know Where You Stand)
– Gift Ideas that Everyone from Mom to Your Boss Will Approve
– 123 Unique Gifts that Won’t End Up at a White Elephant Party
Gift guides don’t have to be complicated. They can be packaged as a lengthy blog post, video series, or email campaign that showcases how your best products are perfect for everyone on your customers’ wish list.
Create a Q4 Launch Calendar
Now that you’ve figured out when & how to prepare for Q4 for your ecommerce business, it’s time to create a launch calendar. Earlier is always better, especially for those early-bird shoppers. Chart out the what, when, where, and how you want to roll out your sale & promotional products.
It’s never too early to plan for Q4, & time is of the essence. Get ready to roll out your holiday strategy no later than October 1st to make the most of the sales craze.
What about you? How are you planning for your Q4 strategy?