The holidays are a time when the weather is cold, the pumpkin spice lattes are hot, and retail sales are even hotter. With proper website preparation and effective promotion, you can successfully navigate this season without fail.
While there are many different ways to optimize your holiday sales, here are our top 6 tips on how to increase your sales for the season.
Manage Inventory Carefully
It’s always important to know exactly what you have in your inventory, but the holidays call for even more control than the rest of the year. There’s nothing more frustrating for holiday shoppers than a desired product being unavailable, or worse yet, given a refund because a product is out of stock due to lagging inventory information. If you don’t keep your products stocked during the holidays, customers won’t wait, they’ll simply shop with one of your competitors – and they may not be shy about sharing that information in reviews.
Don’t get caught with low or out of stock inventory; make sure your inventory management software is accurately updated. But if there is a mistake made, communicate quickly with your customer and fix it.
Use Email Marketing
This holiday season, have an email marketing strategy that works. If at all possible, tailor emails to specific customer groups. For example, contact customers who have recently purchased from your store, customers who haven’t purchased for a while, potential customers, and anyone else you think should buy your product. These emails will help nurture your potential customers down the ecommerce sales funnel as well. However, you breakdown your target market, make the emails personal to create more selling opportunities.
Promote Sales, Discounts, and Deals on Social Media
Social commerce is on the rise. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube will play a big part in holiday shopping this year. In fact, 84% of ecommerce shoppers in the U.S. said they review at least one social media site for a brand before making a purchase. Additionally, the average order values for purchases made via social media are nothing to sneeze at. Facebook, which garners 85% of social media ecommerce sales, has an average order value of $55. Customers referred by YouTube have an average order value of $38, and Twitter and Instagram have average order values of $46 and $65, respectively.
You must make sure that your social media followers know about all the products, sales, and deals you’re offering this holiday season. Use social media posts, photos, and videos to highlight holiday specials, limited time offers, gift guides, and even shipping discounts. Also, consider adding something about last-minute gifts, for those shoppers who procrastinate.
Offer Deals on Shipping
Online shoppers always look for good deals, especially during the holiday season. Free shipping is one of the most attractive phrases for any product. If free shipping isn’t practical for your store, try a more realistic offer (for example, “Spend $50 and get free shipping!”). This sets a minimum order amount and encourages increased spending.
Check Your Site’s Speed
Nobody likes delays, especially online customers. Studies show that 40% of customers would abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Longer load times can drive customers into your competitor’s shopping cart. Don’t let a slow site affect your holiday sales.
Much like driving down a freeway, when servers encounter a large amount of traffic, things tend to slow down. You must prepare for the extra traffic during the holiday season. Look at your sales data to see what traffic was like in previous years. Then, use an online tool to simulate added stress on your server and evaluate how it’s handled. Be sure to perform this test early enough that you can make any needed changes before the holiday rush.
Scale Your Distribution Processes
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your normal distribution process will suffice the holiday season. It’s likely it won’t. Step up your distribution methods to meet higher demands. Ideally, you already have a scalable distribution process in place, but if you don’t, start working on it immediately. Ecommerce veterans can attest that you must have a process in place that can quickly adjust and accommodate up to 20 times greater than the average order volume for the holidays.
The holiday season offers so much opportunity for ecommerce retailers. Capitalize on the increase in traffic and sales to make the 2020 shopping season your best one yet. Use the tips above to make the most out of your holiday season and watch your revenue rise!
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published October 2015 and was updated in October 2020 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.