Hire ecommerce support services to stay ahead of the curve this holiday season. Holiday season sales can often eclipse the rest of the year’s sales combined, several times over. Holiday retail sales crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018 — up from 5.8% the year prior. So you need to make sure you are fully prepared to handle the surge of orders. You will naturally need skilled ecommerce support services to help with ecommerce product research and listing, order processing and fulfillment, and ecommerce customer service.
We have compiled this simple checklist of items to ensure that you are fully prepared for this holiday season.
Your Holiday Season Preparation Checklist
Kick off your ecommerce strategy and marketing planning in September. Lead the market and don’t respond to trends and competitor strategies. Use this checklist to ensure that you are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the entire holiday season and especially the Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays.
Do Your Research:
1. Review your marketing channels and see which were the most productive, which drove traffic but not sales, and which had the highest conversion rate. Multichannel customers spend 3 to 4 times more than single channel customers, so optimize your omnichannel strategy.
2. Review your historical data to see which products were most popular in last year in the holiday season. Make sure you stock enough of these.
3. Do some ecommerce product research to find the hottest purchases this year and analyze your competitors’ product lines. Use this information to decide on your own product line for the season.
4. Figure out which products in your store are purchased together and create discount bundles to encourage more purchases.
5. Analyze the gaps in your ecommerce storefront and customer experience.
6. Figure out how busy was your support desk during peak season last year and staff accordingly. Hire seasonal ecommerce support services to handle the overflow in the holiday season.
7. Determine the biggest mistakes you made last year and how you can avoid them this year.
8. All in all, conclude on the lessons learned and insights gained from last year. Use this research and analysis to fine-tune your strategy for the season.
Look into Ecommerce Website Development:
1. Minimize your website’s loading speed to ensure that visitors stay on your site.
2. Ensure that the shopping cart is functional, secure the payment gateway, and make it look seasonal.
3. The fewer clicks to purchase, the higher the conversion rate, so shorten your purchase process.
4. Optimize your website’s mobile capabilities to further facilitate your shoppers’ experiences. This will maximize revenue in the holiday season.
5. An ecommerce website development expert can handle all of this in a couple of days, so find one to suit your business’ needs today.
Optimize Your Site for SEO
1. Optimize your website for SEO after updating the images, keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions to help shoppers find your business in search results.
2. Make sure to optimize them for the holiday season and include your promotion schemes to increase click-through rates (CTR).
3. Create “evergreen” holiday URLs or revive ones you’ve used previously. If you use the same URLs year after year, you begin to accrue more authority to that particular page—which is crucial to SEO success. Go back to your analytics for last year and find out what URLs or landing pages you used for those events. Either re-enable the same URL or redirect it to a more permanent URL that you can use going forward.
4. Avoid date specific URLs when you can. For example, in most instances /black-friday-sale/ is better than /black-friday-sale-2019/.
5. Develop an internal linking strategy that increases the number of links to your key holiday landing pages.
6. Work on your off-page ranking. A lot of SEO strategists make a grave mistake by emphasizing only your primary domain for their ranking efforts. Create and optimize video content around holiday keywords. Try running through a few of your priority keywords in search today, and see what sites and platforms turn up! You may be able to feature your content on these third-party websites to achieve rankings you may not otherwise have a shot at.
7. Hire an SEO agent experienced in popular white-hat techniques to assist you today!
Invest in a Mobile App:
Mobile conversions are expected to outpace desktop conversions for the first time ever this year, so you must make sure that you have a mobile-friendly site. If most of your traffic originates from mobile devices, having an app will draw more customers.
1. Your app should have key features such as enhanced in-app checkout options and personalized communication features.
2. Targeted messaging through push notifications have a high success rate. Customize your app to send one-time push notifications for a specific product or service sale or discount. You can have ongoing ones for month-long or season-long events.
3. Stick the landing by making sure product notifications and emails take customers to the product page. Cart notifications should take them to the cart.
Engage the Best Ecommerce Support Services:
Make sure you have experienced ecommerce support agents to handle each aspect of your business—from ecommerce customer service to product research and ecommerce product listing. They should also be experienced in handling the pressure of holiday sales.
Accurately Plan Inventory:
Make sure you plan inventory ahead of time so it is available for sale before the holiday season starts—at the latest by September. You should have an extra margin to cater to unexpected surges of demand for popular products. Don’t forget to stock up on any supplies your shop might also need—items such as delivery labels, boxes, stickers, packaging materials, wrapping paper, and so on.
Schedule and Staff Sufficiently for the Holiday Season:
Scheduling for the holidays is another nightmare that you must plan for ahead of time. With most of your in-house employees going on holiday leave, you need backup ecommerce support services to handle the surge of orders in a timely fashion. You may need to consider hiring 24 hour call center support.
Get the Right Backend Technology:
Make sure your customer and inventory information is updated in real time by using a good CRM and inventory management system. Your agents should be well-acquainted with the platforms that you are using.
These are some of the major platforms and tools used by ecommerce businesses.
Develop Engaging Ecommerce Product Listings:
Create an engaging ecommerce product listing for each item that you want to sell. Unless you convince visitors that your product is the best option available, you will not be able to close a large percentage of the sales, so this step is crucial.
Optimize Ecommerce Customer Service:
1. See which customer channels are used most often by customers and invest in omnichannel customer experience management.
2. Make your business easy to contact on your website. Adding live chat support gives you an edge over the plethora of other ecommerce businesses competing for the same customers.
3. Create FAQs and answer templates for the most common questions and requests. This will make ecommerce customer service much more efficient.
4. Delineate SOPs for handling and escalation of customer cases.
Make Order Fulfillment Fast and Accurate:
Fast and accurate order fulfillment is necessary to make sure your customers get their purchases on time for the holidays. Consider offering shorter delivery options, not only satisfying but delighting customers with your speed of delivery.
Create and Schedule a Content Calendar:
Create social media and blog content for the holiday calendar, focusing on product images, videos, and holiday promotions. Link all these back to your website. Hire seasonal ecommerce support agents with expertise in graphic design and content writing for a cost-effective approach.
Engage Your Target Base:
In October, engage your customers across all devices and platforms. Go for a combination of organic growth and paid digital marketing strategies. Re-target your ads and improve your ad quality score so you are not overcharged for CPC during the holiday season.
Create Quality Marketing Content:
Create direct marketing flyers and brochures, email marketing campaigns, landing pages for promotions, coupons, site headers and banners, and sale promotions. Update your “About Us” section and policies pages. Best of all, you don’t need to do it all yourself, hire a marketing VA to do it for you.
Develop a Discount and Sales Strategy:
Create discounts and sales that span a specific length of time, rather than the whole holiday season. Such a strategy performs better because it develops a sense of urgency in customers.
Fine-Tune Your Returns Policy:
Craft an easy-to-understand and generous return and exchange policy. You should have an extended return window around Christmastime (usually until the end of January) so consumers have time to return gifts. This will increase overall customer satisfaction and keep them coming back even after the holidays are over.
Inspect Your Website Hosting:
Make sure your website is capable of handling the expected traffic to your store, so it doesn’t crash at the worst time. Perform any necessary website migrations now so that everything is set up and ready, with easy expansion capabilities. No need to be alarmed—hire ecommerce website development experts to optimize your website and manage backup hosting.
Make the Checkout Process Easy:
Your app and website checkout processes should be easy and hassle-free to ensure that your visitors are converted into sales.
Personalize the Shopping Experience:
Make your customers feel valued by personalizing recommendations for them as well as all messages, emails, and push notifications.
Got Late in Your Planning? An Easy Solution
Running a little late on your preparations for the holiday season? Instead of trying to sort everything out yourself and overburdening your current staff, hire an expert agency to provide ecommerce support services. They will not only find you the most suitable workers, they will hit the ground running due to their experience in doing the same for numerous other businesses. Don’t delay any further and make the decision today, so you don’t miss out on holiday sales till next year.