5 Ways to Prepare Your Online Store for the Holiday Season
1. Create a calendar and start preparing
The holiday season is a very important period for an e-commerce business. The last two months of the year are full of special holidays which you should use to boost your sales. This period can thus be very stressful. You have to take care of the planning, marketing, shipping, managing and especially providing great customer support.
When should you start preparing?
The answer is very short and simple: as soon as possible! Stats from Google Trends show that people start searching for different holiday gift ideas in August! So, start planning now.
As you can see there are holidays almost every week in the last two months of the year. Our advice is to strategically choose in which of them you want to participate in and thus prepare for the ones which are most valuable for your business. The best way for tracking all important holidays for you and planned marketing campaigns is to create a promotional calendar – it can be Google Calendar or a printed one. The decision is up to you.
2. Plan additional payment options
Holiday season is the best time to (re)consider offering your consumers additional payment options. If your e-commerce business is in a “credit-card only“ cycle it is time to expand your marketplace. Besides Visa or MasterCard, PayPal or BitCoin you should offer localized international non-card payment methods. There are over 300 alternative payment methods in the world of e-commerce. It is extremely important fact if it is well-known that credit-card penetration in some regions is very low.
Consumer preferences vary due to demographic factors, country, and product or service range, what makes the understanding of local preferences a key factor for increasing conversion and international expanding. You can find more on alternative payment methods here.
TIP: If you need a payment provider which can board your e-commerce business in a very short period of time, check out our sign up page and get a test account!
3. Choose your ad channels
Make a strategy. Choose your ad channels and focus on them. Marketing consists of multiple components on different levels and needs time for turning the marketing strategy into practice. Time is here, again, very important. Start on time to achieve the most success. If you can’t decide on which ad channels you should focus on, here are our suggestions:
a) Blog Posts – we assume that your online store already has a blog which is well managed. If not, start doing it right now! A quality blog content, with proper SEO optimization, can attract more visitors which will hopefully convert to buyers.
b) Email Marketing – never underestimate the power of email marketing. It can be a very efficient source of traffic, much more than PPC or some other channels. Make a segmented customer database and send out targeted campaigns.
c) Facebook Ads – Facebook Ads is a great tool for targeting your customers by different characteristics. You don’t have to be an experienced marketer to use its basic options and you can start your campaign in a short period of time.
d) Social Media – this channel can be very useful in the holiday season as people are looking for promotions and are more opened for shopping. You can use Buffer to schedule offers, discounts and details for different channels in a fast and productive way.
e) Retargeting – this is one of our favorites. Retargeting can be one of the most effective ways for advertising and increasing conversion in the holiday season. Retargeting shows your ads to previous website visitors.
4. Prepare the content
Blog Content – A good blog post properly SEO optimized can attract customers to your online store, but be sure you start writing / delivering the task on time. The last thing you want to do is to have a bad and not attractive blog post because you didn’t prepare it on time.
TIP: If you need an idea about blog post title checks out HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator.
Marketing Emails – Use your email lists and prepare a good marketing email. This marketing component also takes time, especially if we know that there will be several email marketing campaigns in a short period of time.
Ad Copy – Preparing a good and qualitative Ad Copy is not easy. There is a need for a compelling text which will drive your customers attention. But ad images are much more important. Prepare multiple images, choose them wisely, and include a CTA button!
TIP: If you need free but professional stock images check out Pixabay.
Graphics – if you want to promote your store on social media prepare a consistent visual identity for all the social networks you will use. Be careful, using too many platforms can spread your energy and time! Make sure that the graphics and media you use are consistent and that the visitor can easily understand your promotions.
5. Track, track and track again
This is the step where a large number of e-commerce businesses fail. After you have made a promotion calendar, expanded your payment options, chose your marketing channels and prepared the necessary content, be prepared for tracking! What does it mean? It means that you should integrate an analytic platform for tracking and analyzing your efforts. We suggest starting with Google Analytics. After you have integrated Google Analytics Tracking Code be sure to use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) for each campaign. That way, you can track every campaign and advertising channel!
TIP: If you need more info on UTM and want to make one check out Google URL Builder.
After you have successfully prepared all the steps above, it is time to execute! Good luck!