With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just four months away, it’s important to make sure your online store is prepared for the busiest time of the year: the Holidays!
Whether this is your first holiday season or you are an established eCommerce pro, you understand the importance of planning early. That’s why we put together this checklist of some of the key items to prep to ensure you have a successful and stress-free holiday season.
1. Create a sales forecast and share it with your fulfillment partner
Many eCommerce stores tend to get 80-90% of their revenue during November and December. With your orders potentially doubling or even tripling in the coming months, it’s important to create a forecast to prevent stockouts, which can lead to countless missed sales opportunities.
Once you create a sales forecast, make sure to share it with your fulfillment partner as soon as possible. This will help them ensure those products are in stock and ready to fulfill.
At Gooten, we automatically handle typical holiday shifts in demand, however, it never hurts to give us a heads up if you’re expecting thousands of orders to suddenly be made. If you’re able to foresee a spike like that and can let us know ahead of time, there are a few extra precautions we can take with our manufacturing partners to ensure the best possible results once those orders start coming in.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to reach out to our Account Management Team today if you are anticipating a larger than normal increase in order volume.
2. Order samples for new products and/or new designs
The holidays are a great time to launch limited edition designs and products. While ordering samples is a great approach to ensure a new product or design aligns with your quality standards, it is also an ideal way to take product photography for your website, shop pages, and marketing materials.
Because a product or design may not turn out exactly how you expect the first time around, you may want to order multiple samples. That’s why it’s important to order your samples in August and September to ensure you have enough time to plan for photography shoots and promotional campaigns.
3. Do the website work you’ve been putting off
Similar to your order volumes, your website traffic is also going to increase during the holiday season. If your website loads too slowly or is too confusing to navigate, consumers will get frustrated and shop somewhere else. Below is a list of website updates you will want to implement sooner rather than later:
- Update your product descriptions
- Improve your site navigation for a better user experience
- Test the mobile version of your site
- Boost your site speed
- Optimize the checkout process
- Refresh product photography and videos
Be sure to execute these changes by the end of September or after the holiday season. You don’t want to be tinkering or testing with your site during October through December when it should be running seamlessly.
4. Solidify your SEO strategy
It takes time for new content and website pages to rank in Google. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few months for Google to index new website content. So it’s important to start planning your SEO strategy earlier in order to get ahead of your competition. Don’t know where to begin? Start by researching popular keywords and then use those keywords to dig deeper into modifying them. Some of the biggest retailers are already using these core keywords, so why try and compete when you can modify them slightly to have an advantage over ranking on an alternative version.
5. Put together your promotional calendar
81% of consumers expect to be swayed by holiday promotions. Take the time in August to research and plan out your promotional holiday calendar so you aren’t drafting Instagram posts the night before. Decide on what kind of promotions you want to run: free shipping, promotional codes that give % off or $ discounts, flash sales, product giveaways, or a mixture of all of the above.
Go the extra mile now to ensure the tracking is properly set up to measure the ROI of your various marketing channels.
6. Refresh your FAQ page to mediate your customer support questions
79% of consumers are willing to purchase from a new retailer during the holiday season. With a potential influx of new consumers to your online store, it’s important to make sure their questions are answered timely and appropriately. Save yourself the headache of individually responding to consumers by updating your FAQ or Help page with commonly asked questions.
7. Update your order and shipping emails
As we mentioned in last week’s blog post, setting expectations is incredibly important in mitigating customer frustrations. Ensure your product fulfillment and shipping times are accurate in the order confirmation and shipping emails you send out to customers.
8. Get to know Gooten!
At Gooten we pair high-volume sellers with a dedicated Account Manager. If you have yet to connect, now is a great time to schedule a meeting with your Account Manager to learn how they can help you reach your goals during the busiest and biggest sales period of the year.