Tick-tack, the holiday season is around the corner! And it means nothing but that retail businesses all over the world are about to enter the busiest, the craziest, but the most profitable time of the whole year. Customers cash in on the opportunity to get exclusive deals and seasonal offers, while merchants reap the benefits from dramatically increased sales. No doubts, it’s a win-win situation for both.

How to Prepare Your Online Store for the Holiday Season

According to the National Retail Federation, the number of sales of small and mid-sized retailers in the last two months of the year account for up to a third of the total revenue. As for 2017, the NRF predicts that holiday sales in the US will grow by up to 4%, making it to $682 billion!

You own a small family shop or a huge marketplace and want to capitalize on the holiday season? Then it’s high time for you to start getting your online store ready. Here’s a list of ideas and simple actions that can help you take advantage of these holidays.

1. Optimize and Mobilize

As a rule, holiday shopping makes user traffic skyrocket, so, first thing, you have to introduce all the enhancements needed to keep your website up and running permanently. What you can do here is the following:

  • Update your security tools and software to guarantee higher protection from any malware and cyber attacks;
  • Run a round (or even two) of performance and load tests to get insight into the possible optimization opportunities;
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and works smoothly across multiple screens and browsers to allow for a consistent cross-device shopping.

Optimize and Mobilize

2. Make it Easy to Order

There are plenty of ways to improve customer shopping experience, but we’d like to point out the actual ordering process as it often remains unnoticed. Your buyers expect an enjoyable and seamless experience when it comes to completing an order, so make it is as simple, quick and intuitive as you possibly can. Optimize customer’s online journey by allowing ordering goods with one click. Then test your checkout forms and payment buttons. The checkout has to work properly from start to finish and be easy to follow. In case you use Magento, enable the pre-order option, so that your customers could purchase holiday gifts beforehand. This is what will significantly increase the chances for your customers to complete it successfully.

Make it Easy to Order

3. Plan Ahead

Last-minute planning is the biggest mistake you can do when jumping on the holiday bandwagon. Your holiday strategy should be planned well ahead to bring the desired result. Make a decision on what holidays you want to take part in and create a detailed roadmap for your marketing activities. Use your plan, be it a Google Calendar or just a sheet of paper, to mark down the exact dates for email newsletters, social media posts, and advertising campaigns. Specify the type of content you will publish too. This will allow to carry out your holiday campaigns in an organized way, preventing you from vain attempts to attract customers at the eleventh-hour.

Plan Ahead

4. Update and Customize

Relevant and trustworthy information is of a great value for any buyer these days, so double-checking your website content prior to the holidays is essential. Make sure product description, contacts, shipping & delivery terms, and any other information buyers need is accurate and up-to-date.

Visual aspect is another thing to consider. Customizing your homepage for holidays enhances visual perception and makes your webstore more appealing and eye-catching to prospects. It’s surprising how many merchants ignore that fact! You can add some beautiful graphics or animation, display holiday-inspired and limited time products, set up holiday banners and cards or create a special holiday landing page – with a multitude of options available, you will easily find the one that suits your budget and personal taste best.

Update and Customize

5. Help to Decide

Ever felt confused when choosing a gift for a friend, a family member or a colleague? We bet, you have many times. Give your customers a hand in this by preparing holiday gift guides that feature your products. This way you nail two birds with one stone: your customers get some inspiration ideas that can facilitate their decision-making process, whilst you get another opportunity to promote your own goods. To contribute to this process even more, make it possible to create wish lists on your website. It will provide customers with an easy and engaging way to express their interests to family members and friends.

Help to Decide

6. Provide Extra Value

On the highly competitive market of today, additional services and offers are what makes one online retailer bypass the other. Thus, going an extra mile for your customers, you increase their loyalty, trust and, ultimately, satisfaction. For the holiday season, consider implementing new options like product customization or gift wrapping at your online store, so that to bring additional value to your buyers. Shipping terms matter too – modern customers expect free delivery, so try to rethink your policies, at least for the holidays, to keep up with the competition.

Provide Extra Value

7. And One More Thing… Remember About Post-Holiday Time

The holiday season fever doesn’t end up with the New Year’s Eve. The way you maintain relationships with buyers after the holidays will play into whether they become your regular customers in the future. That is why post-holiday activities should be on your list too. Focus on optimizing returns and exchange policies and brainstorm approaches on how to further engage the shoppers you acquired over the holidays. An after-holiday clear-out or special deals for new customers will allow you to hop right back into your usual sales when the holidays are over.

Remember About Post-Holiday Time

Final Words

Apart from a magical atmosphere and a festive mood, the holiday season brings a sterling opportunity for retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, to attract new customers and earn bigger profits. Implementing a well-thought-out marketing strategy and giving a holiday touch to your online store, you will get a chance to make the most out of these holidays. We hope that you’ll find the tips listed in this post useful. Happiest holidays!


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