Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer, and believe it or not the holidays are right around the corner.
And this means the busiest season for online shopping will start in t-minus two months.
Although a stressful and exciting time for the eCommerce community, this is the calm before the storm when we see the annual flood of online shopping and sales. So being prepared and ready is what’s going to determine whether you sink or swim this holiday season.
So to keep you afloat here are the top four things you should be thinking about when gearing up for the holidays.
- Click Frenzy: November 13, 2018
- Black Friday: November 23, 2018
- Cyber Monday: November 26, 2018
- Christmas: December 25, 2018
- Boxing Day: December 26, 2018
1. Make sure your website is ready to rock and roll.
Expect website traffic to be like rush hour on a Friday afternoon. From Click Frenzy to Cyber Monday, people are going to be online and won’t have time to wait if your website is lagging.
The average human attention span is eight seconds – some would even say shorter nowadays!
So all it takes is a slow browser, or less than perfect shopping experience to lose a sale. And if you think eight seconds is short, research has shown that 40% of online shoppers will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
Busy holiday traffic could potentially slow down your website. So do some testing and make sure your interface is as simple as it can be to handle the surge. Load testing is a great way to make sure your site can withstand the traffic!
(Also, make sure you dress your website up and really give it that holiday feel. No one wants a Grinch looking website for the holidays)
2. Stock up
Nothing irks customer nerves like an out of stock item.
Finding that right balance of inventory amount is a tricky one. If you were a business last holiday season, use that historical data and information to make a more accurate prediction on inventory levels for this year.
And make sure your utilising inventory management software to help you analyse past inventory and sales data.
If you lack the right data, be conservative in your inventory estimates. It’ll be hard to find that sweet spot but avoid ordering excess inventory that can lead to low turnover.
3. Holiday sales and promotions!!
Everyone likes the sweet smell of holiday promotions. Seasonal promos are a great way to attract customers to your site and turn them into seasonal sales!But don’t wait until the holidays to offer these, it might risk them getting lost among all the other promotions out there.
Utilise the resources you already have, like your subscription list, and make sure they know ahead of time the deals you are offering. In fact your email list will be your biggest asset for seasonal sale promos with 85% of email list subscribers signing up purely for the discounts.
An early bird promotion can help get your subscribers locked in and ensure your at the top of their wish list this year.
4. Come up with a killer returns policy
Tis the season of returns!
More sales inevitably comes with more returns. And we’ve all had that gift that we pretend to love but know it’s going straight back to the store. And you’re not alone.The irony of eCommerce is that although its become super easy to buy an item, it’s can be so much harder to return it.
With eCommerce returns surging between 30-50% during the holidays, you want to make this process as seamless and easy as possible for your customers.Why? Because the benefits of maximising your returns policy reaps more than you think.
And if you know they’re coming, taking away this pain point for customers can be the deciding factor whether customers make a purchase from you or the other guy.
The best way to meet customer expectations and finish 2018 strong is to start preparing for the holidays now by making sure every part of your business and supply chain are aligned.
In summary, if you find the holiday sales being too much to handle on your own, you should consider working with a 3PL. These are some of the best times when leveraging a fulfilment partner can help minimise stress and help take on the rise of sales and business growth with you.